Mary I should ask MaryThis week I had two readers email me to say that they read and appreciate my blogs, and then added that they wondered how much they should offer on a particular home for sale.

They didn’t say “I’m looking for a Realtor, wondering if you have any openings” or anything like that. They simply wanted me to provide an opinion on what a home in Santa Clara County should sell for…. So they could write it up with another real estate professional.


It’s not the first time this has happened, so I’m realizing that perhaps it would be helpful for me to address that.  People don’t understand how Realtors make a living, or what’s risky for them, or just not appropriate.

What I do includes the following:

  • I’m a Realtor, and I earn a living by helping nice folks to buy and sell homes.
  • I have a business based on referrals, repeat clients, and meeting new people from my websites, newsletter, and social media interactions.
  • I do populate my sites / blogs with articles about market conditions and trends in the areas where I sell homes. These articles and my monthly newsletter are part of my business marketing. You can read them for free.  And I love hearing from my readers.
  • When working with buyers (or sellers), I will spend a lot of time crunching numbers for them, doing research,  and then advising on what the probable buyer’s value will be. We strategize together. It is too important to shoot from the hip.
  • I love meeting new people and am open to taking on new clients at any given time.
  • I am very happy to answer general questions, especially when people are relocating, aren’t working with another Realtor, and trying to get their bearings. Sometimes people who are thinking of buying or selling in a year or two want to talk with me by phone or in person to go over the basics. I’m delighted to do that, and will offer anyone a free, no-obligation 1 hour consultation.

What I do not do (not an exhaustive list):

  • I do not tell people I don’t know, and am not working with, how much they should bid on a house or provide offer input.
  • I do not know every house on the market automatically. I have to research them and their local market conditions 99% of the time.
  • I do not meddle in other agents’ relationships with their buyers or sellers. If someone is about to offer on a house with Randy the Realtor, I am not supposed to be butting in with my opinion of value, their contract terms, or anything else. That’s against our National Association of Realtors’ code of ethics.
  • I do not want to get into the bad practice of advising people on specific real estate matters when they aren’t my clients. For me, that is risky, as it is “implied agency“. With implied agency, I get all of the risk and none of the pay.

If you are looking to find a Realtor who will take the time to crunch the numbers for you, whether you are buying or selling, I hope you will consider me on your short list of possible candidates. I do not work with everyone, but most of the time, if someone finds me from this site or any of my others, we’re already off to a good start.  Want more info on me? Check out the “about” section here. And have a look at my clients’ reviews of me on Zillow.





  • Mary Pope-Handy

    Silicon Valley Realtor, selling homes in Los Gatos, Saratoga, San Jose, Silicon Valley, and nearby since 1993. Prolific blogger with a network of sites.

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