As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we put Kirk’s house on the market. We chose to use a flatlist service, where you pay a flat fee to get your house listed on the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), you get a “real” looking real estate sign, and a key lock box that real estate agents can use to get in and show the house. I, and several people I know, have used this kind of flat list approach in the past and have had excellent results. Kirk also sold a previous house of his without the help of an agent.

I am really good at software and graphics, and have made a beautiful flyer in PDF format, and also really nice online ads via The ad is everywhere we need/want it to be online. If we want to get it into any paper advertising, we could easily look up their advertising policies. But for now, we believe that the online tools are used by 99% of modern buyers, so we’re happy with the advertising outlets we are leveraging right now.

I used a digital fish-eye lens to photograph the house, so there are professional looking photos of every room. We are familiar with the Fair Housing Act laws as they apply to real estate advertising, The house is in impeccable shape– scrubbed clean, staged with nice furniture, and free of clutter. We did significant research on recent sales and keep a daily eye on new listings, so we feel confident the house is priced correctly. If we feel we need legal advice along the way, of course, we’d hire a real estate attorney, the only person who can legally give us legal advice. We have the schedule flexibility to show the house whenever needed.

So, why would we need a real estate agent to help us sell the house? I can’t think of any reasons, or anything they can offer that we don’t already have. And yet, it seems that many real estate agents still think we need them! 🙂 We are advertising the house on multiple for-sale-by-owner websites, and apparently hungry real estate agents prowl those sites, looking for potential clients. And they call– every day!

They are coy about their reason for calling at first, and get around to the bottom line slowly. And then, when Kirk tries to politely decline their sales pitch and offered services, they get combative. They engage him in an argument, trying to insist they can do something we can’t do. Sometimes they switch to insults, or probing and inappropriate questions, like wanting to know how much we owe on the house, or speculating that we must be facing foreclosure. Sometimes the conversations end unpleasantly. This, of course, is not the best sales tactic, so I’m not sure why anyone would employ it. And it’s driving Kirk crazy (it would me, too, except they have his phone number, not mine!).

I’ve  modified our online ads to gently, but firmly, say “real estate agents, we’re not looking for a seller’s agent, thanks. Please don’t call unless you are scheduling an appointment for a potential buyer to view the house.” But, these hungry real estate agents don’t read very well, or they are just mighty desperate, because they are still calling!

And what are they thinking, anyway? Does this really work, cold-calling FSBO owners and saying “hey, are you looking for a real estate agent?” Doesn’t everyone already know about two dozen real estate agents and have at least two in their family? If I were looking for one, I wouldn’t have to toss a stone very far to hit one. If I felt I needed one, trust me, I know whom to call. They’re in the phone book, and on the web, they’re everywhere. So are they expecting us to respond with some sigh of relief, and a reply of “oh my gosh! It’s so lucky you called, because we NEED a real estate agent, but had no idea how to find one!” Of course if we decided to  hire one, we’d hire someone we knew, someone we knew something about, and someone to whom we’d like our money to go. We don’t need to hire some stranger who cold-calls on the phone and tries to start an argument!