C’mon Realtors…You Can Do Better

For the last few weeks, I’ve been on the hunt for a house in a quiet place with a little bit of land. I’ve been working with a true real estate professional, Tracie Gaskins, who is not only a queen among real estate agents, but an angel let down from heaven. When you read my forthcoming book (to be published in 2021 – maybe), you’ll learn more about this wonderful woman and how she has kept me alive through the worst hard times.

Sadly, Tracie the Realtor is not the norm amongst Realtors.

Within the current structure of the MLS system, there is a great need for factual, accurate information, and that’s where too many Realtors show a shocking lack of professionalism, and a pococurante attitude toward factual data on their listings.

Several times, I’ve found egregious mistakes on listings. Earlier this week, I wasted Tracie’s time as we went to see a house that was listed as having more than 1,400 square feet. When we arrived at the house (out in the hinterlands of Suffolk), I remarked, “This is about the size of a Sears Puritan.” (Yes, most of my spatial references are centered around Sears Homes.)

Measuring the small two-story house, I found that it was barely 1,100 square feet. Now, I might have been able to make 1,400+ work, but not 1,100. For my current needs, that’s just too small. The house had two small wings on the first floor. Apparently the listing agent had taken the home’s footprint and doubled it, rather than do some basic math.

About two months ago, I visited an open house that was listed at 2,200 square feet. After a quick walk-through, a friend and I measured the exterior and did some quick math. The house was 1,678 square feet. I spoke to the Realtor at the open house and told her, “This isn’t 2,200 sfla. It’s 1,678. We just measured it.”

Her reply, “No, it’s 2,200 square feet. We have an appraisal and the appraiser measured it out.”

I said, “Look at the rooms. They’re quite small. This is not a big house. It feels like about 1,700 sfla.”

She restated, “An appraiser said it’s 2,200 and that’s the right number.”

I wanted to say, “Honey, I don’t care if Euclid himself did the appraisal. Unless there’s an inter-dimensional portal to another space, it’s 1,678 square feet.”

Realtors are eager to be considered “professional,” but until they learn some basic math and spend a little more time double-checking simple facts, they’re not going to be taken seriously.

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Images are courtesy of www.zillow.com.

Contact Tracie through her site.



Actually, this lot is 28 by 100 feet. It took me less than 60 seconds to find that information on the assessor's website. If a Realtor lacks the competence and care to fill out a listing form, how can they be trusted with the biggest investment of one's life? There's a big difference between 28 acres and 2,800 square feet.


This house is on a small lot.

As is shown below, the lot's depth is 108.5 feet, not acres.



Again, 47 seconds online showed that this lot on Cumberland is 108.5 long. The house is not situated on 108.5 acres.



Little house. Big Lot.



I take house hunting very seriously...


Just in case you were wondering what a Sears Puritan looks like...This one is in Mounds City, Illinois (the southern most part, near Cairo).

Just in case you were wondering what a Sears Puritan looks like...This one is in Mounds City, Illinois (the southern most part, near Cairo).


Images are courtesy of www.zillow.com.

Need a house? Contact Tracie through her site.



  1. Rachel J Shoemaker

    The square footage that the appraiser gives will be what the property taxes will be based on.

    A few years ago somehow the assessor office got my square footage wrong.

    I was suddenly taxed for 2600 square feet and you’ve been in my house, you KNOW it’s not 2600 sq ft!

    Overnight I suddenly had 900 more sq ft! I contacted the assessor and said hey, my house is only 1752 and even with the garage at 610 you are still way off. Long story short.

    It took a few years to get mine back down to 1752 and I was never reimbursed for over paying property taxes those years and they didn’t adjust them either! I still pay more property taxes than the other houses of this square footage in my neighborhood, same house plan.

  2. Dale Wolicki

    Just remember what comedian Bob Newhart said: People become real estate agents because they don’t have the high standards and moral principles required to sell used cars.

  3. Debbie Lubbert

    Rachel – contact a lawyer about that.

    Rose – maybe you should become a real estate agent!

    Those other agents sound like they are new at this. We have one who has been an agent for 30 years or so.

    Good luck with the hunt!

  4. Jack

    Everything you said drives me nuts!

    When I see a listing description written in all caps I’m already weary of competence.

    It’s the little things, you know? Thankfully we have a wonderful agent to help guide us.

    We have a number of rental properties and by now could probably become agents ourselves, but having someone you trust working for you is so comforting.

  5. Carol Bumbacco

    Well, I think, the problem lies in the fact that becoming a real estate salesperson does not require any substantial education. And the other issue being, young people cannot solve simple math in their heads. They must have a cell phone and/or a calculator just to add 2 + 2 and seem to have absolutely no “common sense.”

    The appraiser said …. blah, blah, blah” taken as the gospel truth…just sad.