Jason Cohen Pittsburgh founder Jason Cohen has worked with a wide variety of clients over the course of his decade-long career in Pittsburgh, and has often had to reset a client’s expectations for a sale. Here, Jason addresses a few of the most prominent misassumptions he’s encountered as a real estate agent.


Selling a house isn’t like hawking lemonade on the neighborhood corner. The process isn’t a simple offer and exchange; it’s a drawn-out process that requires careful handling and weeks – if not months – of considered negotiations. Unfortunately, not all buyers and sellers realize what they sign up for when they enter the housing market, or that the endeavour will take more than a chipper listing on Zillow and a friendly conversation at an open house.


Collectively, the members of Jason Cohen’s informal real estate advising group, Jason Cohen Pittsburgh, have worked with a lot of clients – and needed to reset a lot of false assumptions in the process. They know that myths and faulty beliefs are a widespread problem for real estate agents, and representatives always need to be careful to assess and correct a client’s unrealistic expectations before diving into a sale. If you work in the real estate industry, you should ensure that your buyer or seller isn’t clinging to one of these damaging myths.


Setting a house at a higher initial price is better.

Some clients believe that listing their house at a higher price will give them greater room to negotiate later on – and while they should lowball their initial ask, demanding too much could potentially drag out or even tank a sale. Realistically, even promising potential buyers will bypass listings that seem too far out of their target price range, and leave good homes stagnating on the market. Sellers should establish a reasonable initial ask that both appeals to potential buyers and gives the seller space to reasonably lower the price during negotiations.


Sellers can make more of a profit without an agent.

In the age of the Internet, who needs a trained professional? Some sellers scoff at the idea of enlisting the aid of a real estate agent, thinking that they can market and close on their houses themselves. However, while an independent sale is technically possible, it requires a great deal of work and time on the part of the seller – and often, independent owners don’t have the marketing skills or industry experience to successfully attract buyers and negotiate a profitable deal. Real estate professionals know how to make a profitable deal; moreover, their sales commission is factored into the overall price of the home.


Sellers should renovate their home before putting it on the market.

Your client may think that their home will net more with pricey new countertops and redone bathrooms, but major remodels could potentially turn away otherwise interested buyers. Not only is there no guarantee that the client will get their investment back, but tastes are particular and trends fleeting; the updates your client favors may not be to a buyer’s liking. Clients should stick with safe and relatively cheap fixes such as laying new carpeting or replacing outdated appliances.


Zillow’s Zestimate is always accurate.

Zillow’s price estimation tool should always be used as a general guide, rather than a means to define price. While the company is constantly striving to improve their algorithm, Zestimate can misquote by thousands if the property data it sources is incorrect. Real estate agents should always conduct their own assessments before establishing a starting price.


For related content and posts, please visit Jason Cohen’s blog at JasonCohenPittsburgh.org.