Rules for CORE Agents #9: Buying a Home is Easier Than Buying a Car

Too many real estate agents don’t believe in their value. They have become brainwashed by all the attacks on our industry from people who complain that we charge too much and don’t provide a valuable service.  So they cut their commission every time a seller complains, hang their heads when they see a FSBO sign go up in their neighborhood, and won’t pick up the phone to call their sphere because they feel like they’re only taking advantage of people.

If you’re going to be a successful real estate agent, you have to believe in yourself.  Even more importantly, you have to understand why the real estate industry provides such a great service to the American home buyer and home seller.  Here’s the easiest way to explain it: buying a home is easier than buying a car.

Let’s say you want to buy a car, some sort of mid-priced four door sedan.  You have to schlep from dealer to dealer to look at the inventory on that lot, since dealers will only sell you their own cars, not anyone else’s. You have to do all the research and comparison shopping for yourself, without any idea what cars are actually selling for.  And when it comes time to negotiate your deal, you’re on your own — everyone you meet works for the dealer, not you, and is going to push you to buy a car from THAT dealer, not any other.  You have no one on your side.

Now let’s say you want to buy a house. You get an agent, one who can generally show you any house for sale in the market area, and usually doesn’t care which one you buy. The agent can tell you what other comparable homes have sold for, since all that data is in the MLS.  Most importantly, the agent is on your side, representing your interests, and is going to try to negotiate the best deal that you can get.

Why is the real estate market so much easier to navigate than the automotive market?  Because the real estate industry is built upon cooperation between the listing and selling sides, which creates a transparent, open, and efficient market.  Everyone knows what other homes have sold for, what other homes are selling for, and can make rational decisions when deciding to make or accept offers.  But that system only works because industry incentivizes agents on both sides of the transaction.  Without the commission earned from dual-sided transactions, the real estate buying process would be more like buying a car – you’d be on your own, without anyone to represent you, and you’d have to visit broker after broker to see that company’s inventory.

It’s that cooperation that makes the real estate industry so valuable. So when people question your value, ask them about how much they enjoyed buying their last car.


This post is part of a series of what I call the “36-1/2 Rules for Client-Oriented Real Estate Agents,” a collection of short takes on the CORE concept that I’ve developed over the years of discussing and teaching the system.  We’ll count up to the 36th rule over the next few months, and then the 1/2 rule.  You can get the full list of rules by clicking on the “36-1/2 Rules for CORE Agents” category on the blog – scroll from the bottom if you want to read them in order.