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An Open Letter to Realtors

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Dear realtors,

Thank you for doing what you do. You have knowledge that helps people like us when buying and selling homes. You know the area and what things are worth. However, after being on the hunt for a house for a few months now, I have a few tips that might be helpful for you to know.

– Don’t fudge the number of bedrooms. If a house has 3 USABLE bedrooms, say that in the listing. Don’t say that a house is 5 bedrooms when it’s really a 3 bedroom house with a tiny little den and a back house that could be lived in. We have 3 kids. We can’t put the 14-year-old in a back house and a small den is a small den. That big fireplace that takes up 5 feet of corner says it isn’t a bedroom.

Sorry, Charlie. It's not a bedroom.

Sorry, Charlie. Not a bedroom.

This fireplace is fine, just not if you want to put a bed in there.

This fireplace is fine, just not if you want to put a bed in there.

– Be more specific. If a lot is 20,000 square feet but the house is on a slope and it’s not useable as an actual yard, then say how big the yard is in the description somewhere.

– Someone needs to tell me what a chef’s kitchen is. Or a chef’s DREAM kitchen. Because I have yet to see what I would consider a kitchen worthy of Bobby Flay or Julia Child.

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 10.50.46 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 10.45.07 AM

(These are listed as chef’s kitchens…)

– Tell us about wildlife. If there are coyotes or bears or mountain lions, and we ask, tell us the truth.

– Be honest about numbers. How many years have they lived here? How many square feet is the house, really? How long ago was it renovated?

-If there’s a “studio” in the back that could possibly become a guest house if you completely renovated it, insulated it, replaced the flooring and added a bathroom and a kitchenette, don’t say that it simply needs a bathroom.

– Try to stay away from vague words that don’t really say anything. How can a house be “gracious”? What exactly makes a house a “retreat” or an “estate”? How can a house be both big AND cozy?

– Untouched = needs work

– Completely remodeled/updated = flip

– Can a house be famous if I’ve never heard of it? I can’t tell you how many listings have noted that something’s famous that is absolutely not famous. At all.

– Starting a listing with “Pride of Ownership” is odd. It can be added to any listing, but means nothing.

– I think sometimes a good warning should open the listing. “Look past the green hi-lo carpeting and the gold lame wallpaper and see the potential in this home.”

Interestingly enough, most realtors are very helpful with staging your home for selling. I know that we were told to clear out the “extra” furniture and things that would seem “clutter” in our house when we sold it. Most homes we visit were surely told the same thing. Then every now and then there’s the rare occasion when you see a home with furniture like this:

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 10.40.25 AM

I really have no words. Is it the bottom of an old calliope? Circus wagon?

Ultimately, I know you want to sell a home, but when a family looking for a 4 bedroom house trek miles and drag three unwilling kids to come see a house that is really NOT a 4 bedroom house, it’s frustrating and disappointing and makes me question looking at homes listed by this realty company in the future.


Still looking for that 4 bedroom house


One response »

  1. I have worked with/for Realtors since 2001 – Not only do they need to tell the truth, but it should be required that they update their photo once every 5 years. Some (mostly women) have had the same photo since I began in the biz.

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