If you think you have no real estate experience or knowledge, think again. We’ve all had to look for apartments, houses, or even dorms to rent or buy at some point in our lives. Hence, there’s been a time when we wore an agent’s, investor’s, and even a contractor’s hat.
Here are some scenarios I’ve witnessed that demonstrate how we all have a little bit of real estate in us. These scenarios have two groups of people: real estate professionals and the “commoners.”
1. SEARCHING: Clearly, people resemble agents and investors the most when they’re looking for homes. Their focus is the same and they don’t realize how much they behave like real estate professionals. For example, when a family is on a property search, they’re taking into consideration the commute time to school for the kids. Similarly, an investor is thinking about how far away their property is from downtown, where most of their tenants work.
Homeowners also consider how their home will accommodate their guests, just like how agents think about how a home will serve their clients. For example, some people will not accept a home that does not have more than one full bathroom because they want their guests to be comfortable. Or even better, some people will not accept a home that does not have an in-law suite because they themselves want to be comfortable . . . and avoid a divorce.
Related: Investing in the Right Neighborhood
2. LANDLORDING: What about the many people that rent out their basements for extra cash? I feel like running up and down their driveway and telling them “you know, you’re actually a real estate investor!” What they might refer to as “extra money to help with expenses,” investors refer to as “positive cash-flow.” They’re all charging enough rent to cover expenses and make a profit, right? At least, I hope they are.
This is similar to people hosting on Airbnb and other vacation rental websites. They refer to themselves as hosts but to some level, they’re thinking like investors and landlords – having to calculate costs, accommodate guests, fill vacancies, etc.
3. BUYING: I think we’ve all seen this – either on TV or have experienced it first-hand. A client makes a comment (more like a complaint) about a property and the agent responds with either the most irrelevant answer or states the complete obvious. For example, the client says “this bedroom is way too small.” The agents responds with “yes, but did you see how big the kitchen is?” Or what about when someone says, “the bathroom really needs to be updated.” The agent gives a fascinating solution, “yes, but you can renovate it.” How refreshing.
Sorry agents, please take no offense! It happens. But ordinary people do the same thing! Take the newlywed couple that has been searching for a home and the husband dare says “honey, the kitchen is small.” The wife gives an equally “helpful” answer and tops it off with a dig: “I know babe, but there’s lots of natural light . . . besides, you don’t cook.”
4. SELLING: The agent inside of us really kicks when we’re trying to sell the house. We put more effort and passion in writing the house description than we do in our resumes.
I think a lot of sellers start to experience cognitive dissonance when they read their listing descriptions. “Anyone would want to buy this house after reading this, why are we selling again?” Of course, when it doesn’t sell, you want to get down on your hands and knees and say “please buy our house, I’ve grown out of this dump!”
5. DIY PROJECTS: renovating the house. A lot of people spruce up their homes for their own sake, but they’re also thinking about how much value this will add to the house in a few years. They also love to use that logic when the project goes over budget.
6. HGTV: I highly doubt that everyone who watches HGTV works in real estate or is trying to buy or sell a home. I can vouch for that. In college, my roommate and I watched HGTV together. Luckily, after she graduated, my new roommate also watched HGTV so were able to share that addiction passion. Come on, it’s so much fun to watch! Every viewer gets that satisfaction seeing the property after being renovated and decorated. It’s even more satisfying than seeing what people look like after being on The Biggest Loser.
7. PROPERTY PORN: everyone’s doing it! We now live in a world where you can see the ins and outs of a home without having to go to an open house (not saying that you shouldn’t go). Didn’t you hear the wife’s response when her husband asked what took her so long in the bathroom? “I was on Zillow.”
8. OPENING A BUSINESS: Let’s face it – every single person who opens or has a business is looking for a brick and mortar. Stores, restaurants, offices, gas stations – you name it, someone had to “keep calm and think real estate.”
Agents might have a reputation for trying to make a quick sell, but they’re actually trying to help people find something that suits or enhances their lifestyle. Throughout this list, we’ve seen how ordinary people regularly try meet the same objective. That’s probably the best part of about real estate – the ethos aspect – we work towards making our family, friends, and ourselves happy.
Besides, agents and realtors have swag. Everyone goes through the phase where they consider getting into real estate. It’s like how everyone considers going organic at some point.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Friends that highlights how much people respect real estate professionals. Phoebe’s brother, Frank, is explaining how he has high expectations for his bright daughter, “…I got big hopes for her, she’s gonna be a doctor…or a realtor.”