Being Authentic

Being authentic is a phrase that was in favor about a year or so ago. I think some people still use it. The idea is that you and I are supposed to be “real”. We’re supposed to be “authentic” with one another. None of that fake stuff.

Sounds good, huh? I mean, what’s not to like?

Not authenticThe idea, of course, is that I, as your Realtor, will be open an honest about what my role in the whole home sales process is and let you, the home seller, know what the real deal is.  You know, stuff like, “Hey, it would be really nice if you could just get rid of or store ¾ of the stuff in this house.” Instead, I might go, “You know, decluttering a little bit will make your house look bigger and probably sell faster.”

More to the point, it’s like telling people I can’t work with them right now because I have a lot of other things on my plate. Or, I’m #1. Or, I strive to exceed all your expectations. All the marketing BS people have seen for decades that lead them to believe that all Realtors are created equal.

They really aren’t.  If people bought and sold houses more often they would probably get a good feel for who is really better. But, they don’t so they go on instinct which means that the guy or gal that comes across the smoothest and tells the home seller exactly what they want to hear gets the job. That’s not really being “authentic” but it’s what people expect and, generally what people get.

That’s why home sellers aren’t reeking of authenticity, either. It’s the little things they leave out of the conversation that might help their Realtor do a better job. It might be some flaw or outright physical defect with the house that, if anyone knew, might cause a problem.

True Story

Here’s an example: I was representing a home seller a few years back and, as part of my service, I was going over what he might expect in the way of net proceeds after paying off his mortgage and various other fees including my fee. It looked pretty good for him. He was going to be able to pick up a nice check at the end.

So far so good, right?

Well, it turns out that he had stopped paying his Home Owner Association fees about a year back. That’s not so good. They would have to be paid off. The late fees would have to be paid off, the attorney fees for placing a lien against the house would have to be paid off. So what I thought would be smooth sailing turned into turbulent seas and a lot of running around at the end to make sure everything turned out okay.

As far as things going wrong, that story is actually pretty mild.

Can We Talk?

On the Realtor side, I suppose being authentic is showing up and being prepared and genuinely (authentically?) concerned about the goals of the home seller. Having that honest conversation about pricing expectations. About the physical condition of the house. About what that house your neighbor sold last year really sold for.

What is “authentic”. Heck, who knows?

I’ll tell you what is really authentic, though. This chart below:

College Park Pricing Trends For Single Family Homes

About Ken Montville

Ken Montville is a Realtor® and Associate Broker with RE/MAX United Real Estate in the beautiful Maryland Suburbs of Washington, DC. He has been selling nice homes since 1999. Way back in the 20th Century.

When Ken Is not doing the real estate thing he can be found all over social media in places too numerous to mention and he listens to jazz, reads a little (mostly non-fiction), hangs out with the Rotary Club of College Park, MD and can be found blogging at