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Be The Third Real Estate Agent First

It was overheard in our sales meeting this week, that it’s best to be “the first girlfriend, the second wife and the third real estate agent.” The theory being supposedly that at those certain points in time, you get the best of the other person involved. First girlfriends are doted over, second wives get a guy who learned from his mistakes and third real estate agents get sellers who have finally come to see the light of the reality of the market and are willing to listen to their agent’s professional advice.

My thinking is be the third real estate agent first, or don’t be the agent at all. Why waste valuable months of time on the market (not to mention marketing dollars) with a home seller that simply thinks they want to “see what they can get” or “dip their toes in the market”. Wrong place, wrong time, wrong market.

And sellers, save yourself some time and money and hire your third real estate agent first. A little industry (not-so-much) secret: Agents will “buy” your listing by promising you a pie-in-the-sky listing price in the hopes of convincing you that your house will sell for more money if you list with them. It won’t. You will eventually reduce your price and most likely fire that agent and go with the agent who suggested a more realistic price three months ago. Oh, and in that time the market dipped again. The new price might be a little lower. Lost time, lost money.

You all will have to work out your own girlfriend and spouse issues on your own. But for real estate, don’t waste the time and money on going through two agents before you get to the one you need to hire first.

Comment balloon 42 commentsMike Lefebvre • December 06 2008 06:24PM


Hi Mike I have been the 3rd agent in so many times I have lost count - LOL The problem with our industry is what you mentioned here...agents that buy listings! There are so many that don't know how to obtain business without misleading a seller and then beating them over the head for price reductions.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 10 years ago

This is great, and I had never heard it said quite that way. Your video quality is amazing!

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 10 years ago

Mike - First I loved you for your resemblance to the Heat Meiser. Now I love you cause you're a Straight Talking Real Estate Dude with fabulous video skills. I'm so glad you posted this. I've gotten a listing before where the owners told me they hired me (among other reasons) because my signs were the only ones moving. Everybody else's were just sitting there. Agents, it's NOT great advertisement. I don't care what anybody else says. Thanks, Mike!

Stacie Wells

Posted by Stacie Wells over 10 years ago
Mike - VERY nicely done. Clever, original, conversational - you did everything right here, complete with soundtrack! I bow to your video skills. Or, is that "skillz"?
Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 10 years ago
Mike, I totally agree. In this market, it takes some sellers time to realize that their pricing if a bit off, to be kind. I had such a client last year at this time. They refused showings the week before Christmas, the listing expired at the end of December. Three weeks later they listed below what I had asked them to do and, one of the agents who asked to show their property, right after Christmas, was refused at that time, Sold the home! In this case, they hurt themselves. The agent told me his people had loved the house from the minute they saw it online. Oh well....
Posted by Frances C. Rokicki, Broker-Mentor,CRS (Fran Rokicki Realty, LLC) over 10 years ago

Mike, fantabulous video!  What video editing software did you use?  LOVE IT!

I also agree that it is better to get in there first with the RIGHT price and move that house.

Posted by Kerry Lucasse, Your Nest Atlanta Real Estate Consultant (eXp Realty - Nest Atlanta Team) over 10 years ago

I am impressed...You have "got it goin' on". Wow...great video, love your slogans, it all:)  Love it so much, I'm off to subscribe.  How 'bout that?

I just turned down an overpriced listing in my own neighborhood...Average closed price per square foot is $115...they listed at $139...WHAT?  Oh, and they wanted me to cut my commission on top of it, with the understanding that IF I sold it in less than 30 days, they would pay the full commission..ROTFL   They were shocked when I told them no thank you :) Have to laugh at the sorry sucker that took it, just to have his sign in the yard.

OMG...they are relocating to Boston..that just hit me! Well, if their house ever sold, they'd move to Boston, LOL

Posted by Elizabeth Cooper-Golden, Huntsville AL MLS (Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group)) over 10 years ago
Mike - Wow, how did you do this video? - it's absolutely amazing. I want to be the first agent too, much easier and generally get the listing every time.
Posted by Petra Norris, Realtor, Lakeland FL Homes for Sale (Lakeland Real Estate Group, Inc.) over 10 years ago
Mike - I agree. So many agents do try to "buy" listings and I have to admit in the beginnign I did as well. However, our goal is to build a business and that is best done with good business practices. Smarter not harder is the motto. Thanks.
Posted by Wendy Ferguson, CSS, CFS (Arkansas Property Brokers) over 10 years ago
Mike - congrats on a great post! Your video is extremely well done! Agree with your statements. P.S. If you are ever in Omaha, you can come play poker with me!!! LOL
Posted by JoEllen Keating, Prudential Ambassador, Omaha Nebraska Real Estate (Prudential Ambasssador Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Evening Mike,  That is a gorgeous video !  My sound isn't working but I still watched it.

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 10 years ago

Great information, presented very creatively.  Definitely got your point across.

Posted by Mykel Martin, Realty Masters & Associates ((909) 476-9600 ~ over 10 years ago
This is great -- I met an agent who marketed herself as the "second time around" agent! Same sort of concept -- now that you wasted your time with agent #1, come to me!
Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 10 years ago

Great video Mike.  Some really good advice too.  I'd heard of being the 3rd agent to do a CMA before and that by then the seller is just ready to list it doesn't matter what you say... but never to get the stale listing 3rd... that doesn't make a bit of sense to me.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 10 years ago
You bet...and sellers, listen to the first one who tells you the truth...supports the price they suggest with actual solds not more than 3 months old...and not the listed, wanteds, shouldas and couldas....
Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 10 years ago

Great video mike,  how many times have you heard that?

Posted by Sonny Kwan, 206-819-8228 (Quantum Group Commercial - Residential - Lease Seattle, WA ) over 10 years ago

Hey Mike, love it!  AWESOME way to put it, you have really pumped me up for a listing presentation tomorrow, one who has already been given a too high price.  Great job!

Posted by Denise Shockey, Cocoa Beach, Brevard County Florida Real Estate (RE/MAX Aerospace Realty) over 10 years ago

Great video - couldn't agree more and every seller should see it first.  Always good info - saw your steak out a bit ago.  Enjoy Sothebys.

Posted by Anonymous over 10 years ago

Mike, loved your presentation!  I agree wholeheartedly and welcome all realtors to be the third agent, first!  Let's sell houses.

Posted by Darla Jensen (Edina Realty) over 10 years ago
Mike - You Really Drove the Point Home and Hit the Bullseye! The second or third agent to give the Sellers a Listing Presentation has the leverage - Odds are in their best light. Now, Can you please produce a video on Discount Brokerage Firms?
Posted by Sandy Lafferty Broker Associate CB Princeton Jct, NJ over 10 years ago

Dude! I've heard this before and it makes sense until you are a guy being told this by a woman. Take it from a woman. :)

Posted by Dena Stevens Coriz, Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004 (Rocky Mountain Realty ) over 10 years ago

Mike, great video and great advice.

Posted by Heather Goodwin, GoodWin Team Realty (Licensed by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission) over 10 years ago

Now I have not heard that line, first girlfriend, second wife, and the third real estate agent. Interesting. good post, great video, terrific advise - Carla

Posted by Carla Harbert, RE/MAX Omega, Brunswick Ohio (Full Time REALTOR in Ohio) over 10 years ago

Mike.. what a way to compare these things... LOL.. I just want to be the one to get the listing and get it SOLD

Posted by Roland Woodworth, Q Realty - Power In Real Estate (Q Realty) over 10 years ago

I've heard agent who want to be first, and agents who want to be last. I'm of the "last" belief. That way, I can ask what each of the other agents offered, and explain what I do differently, or that I offer the same services. If I go first, the sellers might refuse to list with me at that time, because they don't want to cancel their appointments with other agents.

Posted by Lisa Hill, Daytona Beach Real Estate (Florida Property Experts) over 10 years ago

Mike what an awesome video, you tell it like it really is! The video is great quality and what a fun time you are having !   It was a real life comparison that is most likely true ! 

Posted by Jane Heiss-Armitage, Selling Homes in the Great Lakes Bay Region (Ayre/Rhinehart Realtors (Midland County, Bay County,Saginaw County, Mi.)) over 10 years ago

Great Idea with video and i couldn't agree more with the 3rd agent theory...looking forward to reading more and congrats on the feature.

Posted by Tim Ludemann over 10 years ago
oh my are a hoot...but you are right, I've even told that to some of my sellers....why go through 3 agents...and then listen.......start now.. :)
Posted by Konnie Mac McCarthy, Broker/Owner - VA & MD "Time To Get A Move On!" (MacNificent Properties, LLC) over 10 years ago
Hi Mike, That is an interesting thought. :) I do like this comment the most, "My thinking is be the third real estate agent first, or don’t be the agent at all." I think being a successful agent means managing your clients expectations. Tell them how it really is and don't waste your time taking overpriced listings.
Posted by Mark MacKenzie over 10 years ago
I think I'm going to adopt that mantra---great job with this post. And, I've often been the second and third agent with success.
Posted by Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton (Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC) over 10 years ago

Mike - I've been first, second, third. I hate cleaning up other agents messes. Loved the video!

Posted by Connie Harvey, Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate (Pilkerton Realtors) over 10 years ago

I've also heard this for years and it certainly applies. Of course the main REASON for the 3rd agent success rate is that the seller has finally begun to be realistic!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago
Mike, hilarious! Love the video and all the little second hand "thoughts" that you added in! Very funny and you make a great point!
Posted by Sheila Moran,, RE/MAX Access, 210-32 (RE/MAX Access (Garden Ridge, San Antonio, New Braunfels)) over 10 years ago

I love the analogy, being the first real estate and the ONLY real estate a seller has, you just need to price it right or dont take the listing

Posted by James Wexler ( over 10 years ago

Ha, that is very clever, I never heard that before.  Your video is great, too.

Posted by Lauren Krady Lancaster, PA Realtor (Keller Williams Realty) over 10 years ago

mike... while I've heard that sentiment before, I've never head it put quite this way before.  nicely done, and really nice video quality too.  I even liked the "senior moment" in the middle... made it feel more "real".

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Coldwell Banker Residential) over 10 years ago

The psychology on this is fascinating.  So I am ending a 3 month listing (i did not like the seller) and the seller was refusing to budge their price (of course) and we were nearing the end of the listing. So I said what I have always wanted to say that you will hire the other agent, you will end up dropping the price and the other agent will be the hero.  Don't really know why i did it other to make me feel better and see if this became a reality.  The seller said that they would rather not move than drop the price.  New agent comes week later the price drops.....and an offer comes in the next day.  The seller even emails me to throw it in my face that the other agent sold the home in one week.  I just replied and said that it all ended as we planned.

Posted by TIM MONCRIEF, Over 2,000 homes sold….. (Tim Monciref) over 10 years ago

Mike - I was recently told this by another Sotheby's agent, so I guess this advice is definitely making the rounds throughout Sotheby's!  I love your video.  Very creative use of of this marketing medium. Well done, memorable, and above all, innovative.  Congratulations - I would definitely list my home with you first go around.

Posted by Joyce Marsh, Regional Manager Regal Christie's Int'l Realty (Regal | Christie's International Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Very creative !!!  (and a good laugh)

Posted by Pippa Mac, The Woodlands TX Real Estate (Chevaux Group Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring) over 10 years ago

Good advice; it is better not to take the listing at an inflated price that will not sell.  Every neighborhood can be different and comparables should reflect those differences.   

Posted by Sheila Reeves over 10 years ago

Wow! Thanks for all the great feedback, gang. I feel bad for not giving credit to Trina Macchi, the agent who I borrowed the phrase from. Glad you found the video entertaining. As a Berklee College of Music grad and an ex-former rock star wannabe, I understand about trying to put the "show" AND the "business" in show business. I use iMovie and my Flip camera for all my videos. If you want to make videos, go buy a Mac and a flip, and then fly me out to where you live, put me up at your place, buy the pizza and the beer and I'll show you what to do.

Thanks again for all the comments. Ya'll do wonders for my fragile ego!

Posted by Mike Lefebvre (Hallmark Sotheby's International Realty) over 10 years ago

Mike Lefebvre could not agree more


Posted by Michael Mahoney, Boston Realtor (eXp Realty) over 4 years ago