Real Estate Expectations vs. Reality

Oh, to be a starry-eyed newcomer to the real estate game. Where you think you’ve found the perfect house, only to learn about some skeletons in its closet (sometimes literally). Where you put in an offer, convinced that this house is the one, only to have your offer rejected. Where you were sure your house would sell in two weeks and now you’re past the two-month mark.

No one likes going into a situation unprepared, so we’ve compiled some essential real estate tips for those times when expectations don’t line up with reality.

Misleading Description

“Charming cabin in the woods” sounds great, until you show up to the property and it looks like the most recent “Saw” film was shot here. 

Just like a salesperson, homeowners trying to sell will do what they can to amp up their property. Descriptions are made to captivate buyers so it’s up to the buyers to see through the charades. A few examples:

  • “Quaint” — might be too small
  • Old Victorian home with lots of history” — might need lots of repairs, require more upkeep
  • “Off the grid” or “secluded” — probably lacking access to anything from nearby restaurants and stores to decent internet service
  • “Lots of potential” — it’s a fixer upper
  • “Close to the action” — might be near a busy road, noisy

Misleading Photos

If you’ve ever eaten a microwave dinner, you know a thing or two about misleading photos. Photos won’t show the pet hair that’s embedded into the carpet or the leak in the ceiling that appears after a torrential thunderstorm.

While it’s true that staging photos are often trying to highlight the good and push the bad to the back of the closet, there are also times where you, the buyer, have to look with a critical eye. For example, photos of a private driveway in fall with the leaves changing are beautiful, but these photos don’t show the nightmare of plowing in winter. 

Another thing to keep in mind: some photos are fake. Graphic design and digital renderings have become life-like. If you’re just going by photos alone you might find that the house you’re looking at doesn’t even exist yet.


It’s a huge jump to go from renting to being ready to buy. In that excitement, it’s easy to forget that buying a house isn’t like buying a car — the latter can happen in a matter of hours and the former can take months. The same is true with selling a house — it won’t happen as quickly as putting your bike up for sale on Craigslist.

In both instances, patience and strategy are key. First-time buyers might benefit from working with a real estate agent (sellers could too). Sellers need to have proper marketing and a good platform to list on. Buyers need to keep in mind that their offer might not get accepted, especially in a competitive market. Both parties need to recognize that real estate very rarely works on a perfect timeline.


FSBO sellers usually don’t realize the amount of deadlines and contract obligations they’ll need to deal with. You might think saving money from selling FSBO is worth it, but a lot of people don’t realize how involved the closing process is.

The same goes for buyers. The last thing you want is to show up to a closing without a lawyer or real estate agent present. Houses are massive investments and not having someone to walk you through the paperwork and process could hurt you in the end.


First-time buyers often have the expectation that the listing price is what they’re going to pay. There are a lot of unexpected closing fees that end up surprising buyers. Expect to pay anywhere between 2 and 5% of the listing price for closing — and plan on paying in full.

Killer Deals

A “killer deal” house is often not what it seems. True, there are times when you can absolutely snag a deal, but it’s extremely rare to come across a low-priced home that needs no additional work. 

Here are a few things to do before jumping on that killer deal:

  • Walk through the house. Take pictures, ask questions, even bring a tennis ball to lay on the ground — if it consistently rolls in one direction, this could indicate an uneven foundation.
    Some property investors are all about the deals and purchase things site-unseen. This is extremely risky for first-time buyers or for people wanting to live in the home they purchase right away.
  • Get a home inspection. This is also something that property investors sometimes pass on but skipping an inspection is not a good real estate tip for beginners.
    Additionally, make sure you include contingencies regarding this inspection in your offer.
  • Do the math. Calculate all the estimated repair costs and weigh out if this house is still a “killer deal.”

If all this info has led to beads of sweat dripping down your face, don’t worry (and don’t feel bad). Real estate is a complex, highly nuanced industry and even the experts still have things to learn. 

The way you can make this easier is by listing with an all-inclusive platform like RealtyHive. We have a network of agents from you to choose from (and with Cashifyd, you can even get cashback at closing) and countless properties available, all over the world. For sellers, our time-limited events and marketing tactics are designed to shorten your time on the market. Buy or list with RealtyHive today!

dad with dog

Not Your Dad’s Real Estate Advice

Dads have some of the worst jokes & best advice. In honor of Father’s Day, here are some of the best dad-isms to keep in mind for your real estate business.

Dad says: “Don’t take no wooden nickels” 

What he means: Don’t believe things that are too good to be true

Being a real estate agent calls for a healthy amount of skepticism. Your offers are only good if they’re put in writing, your buyer is only as valuable as their proof of funds or pre-approval letter, and the seller will almost always overvalue their property so you better come prepared with comps. It’s not that you have to distrust everyone, you just need to remember that you’re the expert and not everyone understands the process.

Dad says: “Work smarter, not harder”

What he means: You’ve got the tools to make your life easier, use them!

From tracking your mileage to showcasing your listings, there is a lot of technology out there for agents to use. These tools don’t have to be the most expensive things on the market to work — in fact some of the best ones are free! From having a social media page set up for your real estate business to allowing your listings to be syndicated to other sites through your MLS to partnering with pay-for-success marketing programs like Marketing Matters, there’s a lot of low-to-no cost options out there that are more cost and time effective than pouring money into lead gen systems or knocking on doors. 

Dad says: “Nobody said life was fair”

What he means: Don’t take it personally when things don’t go your way

Sometimes friends and family will choose someone else for their real estate transaction. It won’t feel good, but try not to take it personally. There can be many reasons they would choose someone else from an impending (yet hush-hush) divorce to a reluctance to mix business and personal lives to something completely different, but most of the time, this choice has less to do with you than it does them.  

Dad says: “Go get ‘em, Tiger!” 

What he means: Try your best, even if you’re not sure it’ll work

Whether you’re just starting out in the business or you’ve been an agent for years, everyone gets nervous before a listing presentation sometimes. Maybe you’re going up against a well-known agent for the listing or the potential client is a VIP hot-shot, but Dad would tell you to brush off those nerves, practice your presentation, and “Go get ‘em!” Remember, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!” 

Dad says: “Money doesn’t grow on trees!”

What he means: Keep track of everything when it comes to your money!

From your tax deductible business expenses to your marketing efforts, what gets measured gets managed, and what gets managed doesn’t have money wasted on it. Don’t continuously pay out for services that don’t provide a good return, systems that don’t work, or extras that you simply don’t need. 

Dad says: “Safety first!”

What he means: Be Safe!

When you think of the most dangerous jobs, “Real Estate Agent” doesn’t tend to make the list, but that doesn’t mean there’s no risk. This job requires meeting people you barely know in places that are often vacant, secluded, dark, or all of the above. You may arrive to a showing and find that squatters have invaded a property. Or maybe you’re showing an occupied property and  tenants are not happy their home is being sold. Or maybe there is drug paraphernalia, chemicals, biological waste, or unsafe physical conditions — your day-to-day can involve a lot of unknowns and “It’s better to be safe than sorry!” 

Have you gotten any advice from your father that has helped you in real estate? Let us know in the comments below!

Things Your Real Estate Agent Can’t Tell You

5 things agents can’t tell you (and how to find out yourself)

Using a real estate agent is a great way to avoid many of the headaches (and potential heartaches!) associated with buying or selling a home. As part of their services they can help you appropriately price your home, negotiate on your behalf, and their access to an MLS –an exclusive network of property listings– can help you sell your home or find the right one before the general public ever sees it. But, as licensed professionals, there are some things that your agent can’t tell you.

Not won’t tell you, but legally or ethically, I’m-sorry-but-I-really-cannot-tell-you.

Now that doesn’t mean you’re on your own and just have to hope for the best, though. For that information, you’re going to have to do some of the digging yourself. Here are the 5 surprising things your real estate agent can’t tell you.

“This area is great for young families!”

This one seems so innocent and well-intentioned, but is actually illegal! Maybe you passed a park on the way to the home or noticed the nearby elementary school, but whether you’re looking to live in an area where your kids can roam with the neighbors or you’re trying to avoid children altogether, your agent isn’t allowed to tell you who lives in the area.

Reasoning: Under the 1968 Fair Housing Act, family structure is a protected class meaning a comment like this could dissuade older couples or a single party from the property, making it illegal.

How to find your answers: If driving through the area isn’t an option, Google maps is one of the best tools for doing neighborhood recon. Simply type in the address of the property you’re looking at and check out the area you’re interested in. Are there parks and schools nearby or is it in a more industrial area? Is the area filled with side streets and cul de sacs or is it on one of the main roads? Depending on what you’re looking for you may want to switch your search based on what you see.

“You don’t want to live in that area. That’s where the [nationality, gender, age group] live!”

In addition to not telling you where to live based on the demographics, your agent also cannot tell you not to live somewhere because of the people in the neighborhood.

Reasoning: As mentioned above, the Fair Housing Act prevents any discriminatory statements based on protected classes.

How to find your answers: You can find out more about the general demographics of an area by checking out the US Census Bureau’s website. This tool, with most recent studies being from 2016 can tell you the age, sex, and race of the population down to a zip code level.

“Are you sure you’re interested in that area? It’s pretty high crime.”

While you might think that an agent saying this is just looking out for you, this is another no-no statement. Crime statistics are public information, but because crime rates often lead to conclusions about the racial makeup of an area, your agent is best protected by letting you find your own conclusions.

Reasoning: Race is a protected class under the Fair Housing Act and whether it’s the intention or not, discussing the crime rate of a particular area could lead to assumptions about the racial makeup of that area.

How to find your answers: If finding out about crime in an area is of particular interest to you there are plenty of free sources to look. The National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) offers a location-based lookup that links the data from public state, territorial, and tribal sex offender websites. To find incident-level crime lookup, you may have to check a couple of website as not every jurisdiction reports to every available site. Here are some good ones to start with: MyNeighborhoodUpdate, CrimeReports, SpotCrime, and NeighborhoodWatchDog. You can also check the website of the local police station as they may provide a link to the crime mapping site they use.

Buying home is an emotional time. It’s a big investment with a lot on the line, but having an agent you trust can make all the difference. Ready to take the leap and connect with a top agent? Check out Cashifyd, a program offered by RealtyHive that connects you with top local agents who offer cash back incentives when you buy or sell your home.