Why an amateur thinks they do everything well

Smith Hanten

You may be in the market to sell or buy this year and you think … I graduated summa cum laude and I’ve got this – can’t be all that hard – think of the large sums of money I’ll be saving on real estate commissions. Listed below are the principal reasons why an amateur thinks they can do the job of a pro at no additional cost on Day 1.

Emotional involvement is dangerous (and will cost you dearly).

When you have a personal stake in any business matter, your perspective is diminished. For example, if a prospective buyer or renter trashes certain design choices or demeans the block/your neighbors or the borough, – a broker will brush it off because they are not emotionally involved, it’s nothing personal just business,  – whereas a seller or landlord will feel like they have to answer the snide comment. Some buyers think they are being clever if they “pretend” not to be interested. An emotionally sensitive seller may not be able to think clearly when an initial offer is presented if they are playing the cheap shot over and over in their head. The strange thing is the buyer/renter wanted to get inside their head to negotiate a better price, – but instead it backfires and the offer/deal becomes a casualty of the law of unintended consequences.

The opportunity cost of your time spent learning how to be a broker for ONE deal.

If you practice something every day for more than a decade there is a high probability that you are an expert. Brokers with more than a decade of experience can move a real estate deal at “the speed of trust” (see Stephen Covey’s book on the topic) because they have the benefit of anticipation (i.e. they know what’s going to happen next) and they rarely doubt their judgment. A rookie will always wonder why a deal succeeded or failed – was it the industry ? Was it the time of year ? Interest rates ? Was it their property ? Was their negotiating abilities ?


Paying your dues” as every apprentice knows is arduous and tedious. A seller/ landlord with a sale/vacancy are not hiring an experienced real estate broker for the 1,000 or more deals they have closed. They are really hiring them for the 15,000 or so deals that did not close.  We all learn from our mistakes and every expert owns their mistakes along the way. Amateurs ignore or try to explain away their mistakes and if you are the client representing yourself who will chastise you ? … I hear crickets …

Beginner’s Luck.

This is what the “rookie” seller or landlord has going for them on Day 1 of their shiny NEW listing… Lady Luck smiles down on all of us for a period of time and as many golfers have said “the harder you work, the luckier you get” … we prefer Estee Lauder’s phrase … “my success is built on persistence, not luck.” A skilled professional negotiator can always sense when a beginner’s luck runs out such as when an appraisal comes in low.

Whatever you decide to do with your property is the correct decision. We are not here to pontificate or judge – just to educate and provoke thought about our favorite topic “real estate in Brooklyn”.

Smith Hanten believes that the most successful sale or rental deals require a vacancy, two motivated parties and an emotionally uninvolved 3rd party with a profit motive. If you have those 4 ingredients you will have a real estate transaction that stands the test of hindsight (i.e. future comps).

Smith Hanten Properties LLC has been representing property owners and landlords in BoCoCa since Ronald Reagan was in the White House. We love what we do & we love Brownstones and Brownstone Brooklyn. We do NOT “actively” list properties for sale or rent outside the 11201, 11217, 11231, 11215 and 11238 zip codes.  Thank you for reading.