Agent

How reality TV is causing headaches for real estate agents

With essential parts of the process edited out, consumers armed with big misconceptions

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

How fun are the reality shows these days? What a great escape from your day to watch the trials and tribulations of others. The real estate reality shows, in particular, are an entertaining format showing buying and selling and deals being made on the streets of cities such as New York and San Francisco.

But, as any agent who has ever actually bought or sold a home knows, they edit out just a little bit of the critical information and leave it on the cutting room floor.

I have to admit that I do watch some of these real estate shows myself. But I look at them more as a soap opera entertainment and a glance into a mostly made up real estate world.

Our clients, customers and even our parents and kids are watching it with a whole different takeaway.

Here are five of the largest misconceptions of clients who come armed with real estate reality show fever:

1. I have to sign something?

You never actually see anyone signing the multitude of contract and disclosure documents on any of these shows. It is obviously the most tedious and boring part of the process for the consumer, and of course, it makes for terrible television.

Creating steady real estate income in a cyclical business
Leverage your energy and maximize your results with lead-gen sprints READ MORE

But, some clients get anxious — or downright upset — when you start presenting them with contracts and documents to sign because they didn’t think that was part of the deal.

They agree to the terms of buying their new home on the phone and expect that they magically own it the next day.

2. I want that house so go get it

When representing buyers, we all know it takes a long time to find our clients the right home. In the hot car all afternoon on many Sundays or rushing out at a moment’s notice when our buyers see the perfect home that just came on the market.

This is part of what makes real estate fun and exciting — the hunt. Some clients want to know why we don’t have their dream home in our back pocket and why we can’t get them into that home tomorrow afternoon.

On the reality shows it’s so easy, “I love that home and am going to buy it.” Moving trucks are on their way.

3. We meet the other agent at Starbucks

How many times have you negotiated a home purchase with an agent on the other side of the table at an exquisite restaurant — cocktails in hand? Or have you ever strolled out of a restaurant onto the crowded streets with clients on the phone trying to make that deal happen?

Maybe a few times, but it’s not the norm. Clients watch this drama on almost every episode of these shows and begin to expect that type of negotiation and drama.

Although a lot of agents would love that to be the case — me included — it’s just not the general reality.

4. You mean I can’t just move in?

Another large piece missing from the television drama is the days — and sometimes weeks — of reviewing disclosures, title reports, permit approvals, inspections, repair requests, appraisal, lender requests and lender underwriting, etc.

Buyers begin to expect that they sign some stuff and call their designer — and that’s it. Our clients have to be educated from the first day on what exactly it takes, physically and emotionally, to buy or sell a home.

5. I want that glorious open house, too

Sellers regularly comment on the incredible parties they see as open houses on TV. They want red carpets, the press, the original architect of the home, full catering with open bar and the Laker Girls.

They see this as the reason homes on TV sold — and for huge prices. What might be a shock to most sellers and buyers is that in most cases the fantastic party open houses they see on real estate reality shows are fully staged for filming.

They are timed perfectly with multiple takes and camera angles, and typically, the home already sold weeks or months prior to the filming.

We get confronted with this more and more these days, especially because the millennials are becoming homebuyers. And my favorite thing to tell them from the start is, “One of the biggest investments you will ever make in life is never supposed to be easy.”

Jay Lieberman is a broker associate at Keller Williams World Class located in Westlake Village, California. You can reach him at TeamJayMichelle.com or on Twitter @LiebermanJay, or on Facebook at JayMichelleRealEstate.

Email Jay Lieberman.