Million Dollar Listing TV Show is a Sad Joke

Bravo TV’s
Million Dollar Listing Is A Slap In The Face To The Real Estate Profession.

“A brand new Aston Martin for a week’s worth of work. It doesn’t suck to be me!” – Chad Carroll, Million Dollar Listing Miami

Ego. Greed. Rude. Disrespectful. Materialistic.

Have you ever watched Million Dollar Listing? I don’t have cable but I’ve seen it a couple times. I guess it’s entertaining, but it drives me insane to see my profession displayed in this light. Unlike Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, which celebrates some of the hardest working men and women America, for doing the jobs most would never do, Million Dollar Listing paints the profession of real estate agent as a “lifestyle,” and celebrates the “stupidity” and “character flaws” of those in the profession.
On a recent episode of Million Dollar Listing Miami, one of the stars of the show, in the process of bitching about her client, revealed just how little she knows about getting her clients the best result. She said, “We all know the biggest issue, when a home doesn’t sell, is price!”

First off, NO, we don’t all know or think that.

In most cases, to blame the seller for unrealistic expectations, in the form of “price,” is only because the agent doesn’t know of any other way to sell a home. It is stupid and foolish to focus on price, because price is just a number, beyond that, it doesn’t have any meaning.

Most agents, including those on Million Dollar Listing—supposedly the best of the best—typically determine the price of a home by looking at the price of other comparable properties. Meaning, if there are four other “comparable” homes in your neighborhood, they add up the price for each, find the total, then divide by 4 to find the average. This is what’s known as a price-driven approach, and heed my warning: It’s a terrible way to sell real estate. Because price doesn’t determine price, value determines price.

And the sales price displayed in the MLS or on county records can’t tell you anything about the value of a home, in relation to price. If a home sold for $250K right next to your home, is it really a comparable? Maybe. But if it reeks of cat urine, I would argue it is not. Or what if the homeowner was a heavy cigarette smoker, and always smoked inside? Again, is that property a true comparable? No! – definitely not. The smell of cigarette smoke or cat urine, in my experience, knocks at least $20,000 right off the top of the purchase price.

In my book The Warren Buffett Approach To Sell Real Estate: How to protect yourself from Real Estate Greed & bank an extra $30,000 profit by taking a Value-Driven Approach—in Chapter 5, and detailed in my Real Estate DiagnosisTM I outline the advantages of taking a value-driven approach opposed to the inferior but more common price-driven approach.

The crux of it is this; if you understand how value works, and what creates value, you can manipulate it in a positive manner to dramatically alter the sales price of a property. This plays on the fact that the human mind is not a rational creature. It is irrational. It desires things based on predictable emotions. For example, exclusivity, whether or not something is rare, creates value. As George H. Ross, Donald Trump’s chief negotiator, puts it, “It’s easy to sell the penthouse, there’s only one of them.”

And this is just one trigger known to create value, or should I say, perceived value, in the mind of property buyers. There are others too. But if one doesn’t do a comprehensive diagnosis, to know which of those triggers is present in a property, or which can be created, if absent, then it will cost the seller a terrible amount of time and money.

In the medical community there is a saying, “Prescription before diagnosis, is malpractice.”

There is another thing that upsets me about Million Dollar Listing, and sadly, it doesn’t just happen on the show, it’s pandemic throughout the industry. Agents will look and focus on all the evidence they can find to convince the seller to list the home at the lowest price possible.   

This is something you see repeatedly on Million Dollar Listing, but it happens everywhere else, too. And if other agents choose to hate me because I expose this behavior, then so be it. 
It’s not my job to sell a home as ‘quickly as possible’, to make a few thousand bucks in a weekend.” When we have the right mix of a willing seller who allows us to help them maximize the value of their home and we have the right market conditions, we do often sell a home in a weekend, but our goal is to maximize the sale price for our clients, not see how quickly we can sell it. There is a huge difference between these two missions.       

And no, I don’t begrudge Chad Carroll for selling a $5 million dollar property in a week, making him enough to purchase a brand new Aston Martin. I begrudge him because likely he could have gotten his seller more, had he not been so focused on creating his own bottle of wine for the open-house, a total ego play, called “Chad-Teau.” Or been so focused on “Getting in, getting out, and getting paid,” as fast as possible, regardless of outcome. 
I begrudge him, because given the platform to elevate the profession of real estate agent—one I take serious and am passionate about—his business practices only further deteriorate it.
As long as my clients (and readers of my book) learn to understand the difference between a superior and inferior approach, so they may profit, that is all that truly matters.

I’m thankful to have clients like Ted Bierma, who recently sold his home in Eagle, Idaho, and had this to say, “Working with Mike Turner on the sale of my home in The Shores and other properties continues to be a great experience. He has a great knowledge of the Real Estate Market and how to price and market homes. He does everything it takes to get a home sold. He communicates well and is very responsive.  What I like best about Mike is when an offer comes in he is a very good negotiator to get the best final sale price. He is well organized and does great follow up with prospective buyers. He was able to sell our home quickly even though other high end homes weren’t selling.” I had success selling Ted’s properties because he was willing to try the recommendations I made and was very much my partner in helping him maximize the sale of his home and other properties. 
The secret is, the real profit is made in the preparation phase of your home sale, before it ever hits the market.
Properly presenting your home as an Asset that a buyer would be willing to pay top dollar for is not easy. I’ve had some sellers spend months getting their house up to our recommendations presented by my team, because I knew that is what would be necessary, to hit the sales price that the client had stated.

I don’t hide the fact that taking a Value-Driven Approach is more work. It is.

But the rewards are often greater, too. Just read this story from Sandi Rubio, an agent in my office, about her clients who just sold their home in Caldwell; “I met with the Shermans in the fall of 2014. They knew they wanted to sell their home but wanted to do everything they could to get the highest price for their property. They asked me to come over to discuss the best strategy. They owned a large, well-kept home in Caldwell on nearly an acre with an absolutely gorgeous, park-like yard. Their house was built in the 70s and dated. Their plans were to move to Spokane once the house sold and they were flexible in their timeline. Since we were moving into the winter months, we decided to take pictures of the yard immediately to have them ready for early spring to ensure that we got the yard at its best and to give them time to get the interior of the home ready to sell.  

Following the value driven approach recommendations, the sellers spent the winter following the steps I outlined for them. Since they followed all my recommendations we decided to push pricing up to a range I thought the home could sell for, especially since they had several months to sell the home. The home based on the comps came in at a solid $320K (price driven strategy), but we decided to list it at $350K. The Result: The house was on the market for one week, we had 8 showings and received multiple offers. The sellers accepted a full price offer and flew through the inspection with flying colors. The house closed in less than 30 days with no seller paid closing costs or any significant repairs needed. This transaction was a great experience for everyone involved and the sellers were absolutely elated. The Shermans spent $6,000 getting their house ready to sell. That $6,000 easily brought them an extra $30K or more at closing and sold their home within days, and I couldn’t be happier for them.” 

Remember, “A prescription without a diagnosis, is malpractice.” Any agent that shows up with a listing presentation, and begins to sell you on their “expertise,” could be committing real estate malpractice. It’s just a fact. Real expertise is demonstrated, not sold.

For a more in-depth discussion on this topic, go to: There you can request a FREE copy of my new book The Warren Buffett Approach To Sell Real Estate: How to protect yourself from Real Estate Greed & bank an extra $30K in profit by taking a Value-Driven Approach. Expect delivery in 1-3 business days via USPS Priority Mail.