Advice from a Minimalist Real Estate Agent

minimalist real estate agent  By Poppy Merrell

What Your Realtors Should Have Told You

As a self-professed minimalist and hardcore #simpleliving fan, I was looking forward to hearing what Joshua Becker had to say about the home-buying experience. Decluttering and simplifying my lifestyle has been enormously beneficial for me and I was hoping to find a kernel of wisdom that I could pass on to my clients. Instead, I was disappointed to find out that Josh’s multiple realtors over the years have not been living up to our Code of Ethics.  Joshua makes a good point—buy the home you need, not the most expensive home you can afford. Yes, technically real estate agents are classified as “salespeople” but every member of the National Association of Realtors pledges to hold themselves to a higher standard, one where the client’s interests come first. With such an important transaction, you want someone with local knowledge, of course, but more than that you want someone with integrity to represent you.

Josh’s story starts out great: he mentions his realtors have been helpful by providing insights into local neighborhoods, market trends and housing prices. He even says “each time, they have taken a genuine self-interest in my family’s well-being.” Well… Not exactly. If your realtor is pushing you to purchase a home that doesn’t make sense for your lifestyle or encouraging you to live beyond your means, they aren’t looking out for your best interests. Not only would I not want someone that irresponsible to be my realtor, I wouldn’t want them to be my friend. As realtors, we want our clients to purchase homes that help them thrive, not live bogged down in debt. We want to make clients for life, not just make a quick buck.

minimalist home decor

The Importance of Finding the Right Realtor

It’s disappointing that Joshua who has moved five times since college would frame this as “advice you’ll never hear from a realtor.” This is simply not true, although it may have been Joshua’s experience. Realtors have a fiduciary duty to our clients. Not only is encouraging someone to spend more than they should for our own personal gain a really sketchy thing to do, it’s also against the rules we have agreed to follow. Does it happen? Of course. Should it? Absolutely not. This is why it’s so vitally important to work with a realtor who is actually looking out for your best interests, someone who understands your goals in the home-buying process and can make sure that you are realistic during your search.

My Minimalist Home Search Tips

I’m sorry you felt like you were taken advantage of, Joshua. If you’re in the market for a new house in the future, I’d love to help you look for something that actually makes sense for your lifestyle. In the meantime, though, here are my 3 minimalist tips for the home search process after watching hundreds of people go through it! 1) Look at how you actually live. If you’re mostly Netflix and chilling in your bed, a formal dining room or big basement is going to sit there unused. Don’t waste your dollars per square foot on rooms you won’t ever live in. 2) Prioritize kitchens with windows over cabinet space! Natural light and a great view every morning will make you feel richer than a pantry full of canned goods ever will.  3) Unless you are buying a property as an investment or planning on expanding your family, more bedrooms are typically not worth it. At best, your relatives will stay at your house longer.