Serving Austin Texas & Surrounding Areas


A cautious tale about what can happen when home sellers attempt to shortcut the Preparation process. 

We write often, highlighting our clients. Sharing their stories and triumphs — the successes enjoyed by way of hard work and a firm buy-in to our proven process. There is the flip side though. There has to be, right? Otherwise there would be no contrast. No yin to the yang. No difference in approach. 

Fortunately, we don’t have to share them often but ... the stories from ‘the other side’ of the coin are equally instructive. 

Let me explain. We guided Blake and Rob through the sale of their beautiful mid-century modern home on Silvermine Drive, in Southwest Austin. You can check out the story here. We listed the house on Thursday and by Sunday night had a multitude of offers on the property, eventually pushing the sale price more than $20,000 higher than we’d anticipated. It was a true representation of what can happen when the owners execute a game plan to perfection.

But that’s not what this story is about. 

About a week before that sale was to close, we got a call out of the blue from a lady. For the sake of this story, let’s call her Carol. Carol was a neighbor. She’d owned her home, a couple streets over, for twenty five years. Carol had plans to move out of state and “start over.” 

Naturally, the sale of her home in Austin would be a precursor to that transition.

She’d been tracking the flurry of activity at Silvermine and wanted to know what type of honey we were using to attract all the bees.

Without divulging the material facts of a sale that had yet to officially reach settlement, we did our best to paint the scene for her. We talked about the lengths that Blake and Rob had gone to, to prepare the home. How we’d focused on a strategic pre-listing marketing plan, which led to buyers literally lining up outside of the house at 10am on Saturday morning, for the first day of showings.

We walked her through the important steps of our approach and how it almost always leads to a superior outcome for our most committed clients.

We walked her through the steps of our approach and how it almost always leads to a superior outcome for our committed clients.

The longer we chatted, the more I could sense Carol’s growing intrigue and excitement. She went on to explain that she held a real estate broker’s license but hadn’t been active in the industry for close to a decade. Come to find out, while our paths had never crossed, we’d worked with many of the same cast of characters, over time.

“If you’ve worked with/for so-and-so,” she told me, “that tells me all I need to know.”

Fast forward a couple weeks, after making good on my promise to send the articles and information, we had a couple of lengthy email exchanges in which she affirmed her desire to sell but only under certain conditions.

#1 — She “needed” a net sale price of $400,000, after commissions & fees

#2 — The house would only be sold as a “pocket listing”

Pocket listing — a term used to denote a property whereby a broker holds a signed and/or limited representation agreement but the property is not entered into the multiple listing service, nor widely publicized.

By this time, Blake and Rob’s house on Silvermine had officially closed, setting a new record for sale price in the neighborhood.

By this time, Blake and Rob’s house on Silvermine had officially closed, setting a new record for sale price in the neighborhood.

The net sale price that Carol said she “needed” to achieve, was going to be north of that record by another $10,000. Further, as a “pocket listing,” we would not have the opportunity to walk her and the house through the proper diagnostic process.

Important preparations — the type of preparations that lead to maximum profit — would not be made. The property would not have exposure to the broadest possible audience (via regular market channels) and would need to be shown by strict appointment only.

This, in my opinion, was a mistake. A fundamental mistake. 

We told Carol as much. “We're not confident that a pocket listing is the best route for you to take. Trust me, we’ve seen what goes on from the inside. From the broker’s standpoint, maybe it makes sense — bulk up the listing count to make yourself look better — but really, does that serve you, as the client? We’ve always thought that the level of customer service falls drastically short with pocket listings.”

Ideological differences, I suppose. 

You see, the average agent, salivates at that possibility. “You mean I can have a $430,000 listing and I don’t really have to take the time and money to market it?” It’s like playing with house money, right? (No pun intended)

We see things differently. 

The terms of a limited representation listing were ill-suited for us to achieve the outcome that Carol was hoping for. And yet, we were struggling to gain Carol’s enrollment. We had the same goals but completely different perspectives on the best way to run the race.

We had the same goals but completely different perspectives on the best way to run the race.

We declined the offer to take the pocket listing. We shelved the discussion. 

We never heard from Carol again.

Oh …. her house eventually made it to the market. It has been for a while now. Listed early summer, at the height of the market. And yet, it lingers. Still. Vacant. Carol has already moved on. We can only imagine how challenging it must be, trying to “start over,” thousands of miles away, with such a huge anchor still hanging around your neck.

We could poke any number of holes in the listing — inflated original list price, poor presentation, improper positioning . . . but the point has been made. Sadly, after multiple price reductions, the house now sits at a price some $70–80,000 less than what Carol told me she was hoping for, back in February.

Here is a side by side comparison between the two homes. Carol’s house (detailed above), as it currently appears on MLS and the house on Silvermine Drive that we sold for a record price earlier this year. Need I ask which house you’d rather pay a premium for?

It boils down to this . . .

Most homeowners hope for a pleasant and profitable home sale experience, but too often, many are not willing to do the required legwork to ensure that “hope” becomes a reality. Hope is not a strategy that anyone can depend on. 

The bottom line is that the choices you make about your home sale, how you choose to price your home, how you choose to prepare your home and who you choose to market your home are yours. We suggest that, if maximum profit is a priority of yours … then you do as much research as you can. It’s the willingness to do so, that sets our clients and their results, apart from the results of the average homeowner.

At the end of the day, we simply want what is best for our clients. And we believe that most people appreciate the truth. The truth is, when it comes to you, your family and your financial future, we refuse to cut corners.

We wish everyone agreed. Then again, there are two sides to every coin. It’s just that we don’t believe the outcome of your home sale should be a 50/50 proposition.


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Helping Sellers On The Move
"Ryan listed my property on the MLS on a Wednesday morning. By noon the next day, my dilemma was deciding which over-asking price offer I was going to accept. That was a fun problem. I know I’ll never have to stress about real estate in Austin, Texas because Ryan France is on the mound!"
Lauren Neil-Jeffrey
"Ryan was the perfect Realtor for us. His advice on staging our vacant house was the most important reason it sold quickly. The sale of our home was a pretty complicated process. Ryan’s patience, honesty and straight-forward attitude were key in seeing this complex processes through."
Ankur Jain
"Once my house sold (above asking), I got a call from Ryan asking if I had a favorite charity for which he could make a donation to commemorate the sale. I was slightly taken aback ... then I realized that I shouldn’t be surprised at all. Not only is Ryan a good Realtor, he’s an even better human being."
Dale Blandin
"Ryan displayed complete professionalism and was always prepared. His skill at marketing was superb! The house was under contract within a week of listing! He knew where to focus efforts for the best results and he is very detail-oriented. I highly recommend him."
Luke Childress
"Ryan and his team were very helpful in making my condo stand out and sell quickly. He was proactive & effective in his communications. I always knew what to expect and where we were in the process. Ryan is the consummate
professional. You will be in good hands."
Laura Tomlinson
"Ryan had our house under contract in less than 48 hours, with 6 offers. Many of the Realtors commented on how the house was “staged and priced perfectly” thanks to Ryan’s advice. Ryan was extremely easy to communicate with and made the process of selling of our house as easy as possible."
Shelly Weathers
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