Several months ago, my wife and I made the difficult decision that we wanted to sell our home.  We reached this decision despite the fact that the last time we moved, we swore we would not do it again until the kids were in college and it was time to downsize.  But, the advantages of moving seemed to outweigh the hassle involved so we began taking steps to put out house on the market.  We cleaned out all the rooms, tossed some excess junk, repainted some walls and did our best to put the house in sellable condition.
The logical next step in this process would be to call a real estate agent and list the house.  However; I am an aircraft broker by trade and decided that I could save the 6% commission and sell the house myself.  Compared to the complexities of an aircraft transaction, I thought the pitfalls involved in the sale of a home would be miniscule and I considered myself up to the task.  So, I logged on to and started the process of putting my home on the market.
It has now been several months and over that time I have learned a great deal about the value a real estate agent adds to the process of selling a home.…...the hard way.

  • Proper Evaluation – online tools like Zillow only tell ½ the story on sales comps.  There can be numerous extenuating circumstances which lead to a sale going for well above or well below current market.  A good Agent who’s up to speed in your market can tell you those qualifiers off the top of his head.

  • Qualifying buyers – I have gotten several calls from qualified agents, but I have found the inquiries that come in online to be from some pretty questionable sources.  It seems the “sharks” smell blood when homes are listed for sale without representation.  Either that, or there are an incredible number of Nigerian Princes who really need my help.

  • Professional Presentation – Pictures shot with an IPhone and pasted onto a Word document do not seem to generate the same amount of activity that a well laid out marketing plan does.  Who knew?

  • Industry Standards –Sure you can google industry standards, but a good Agent helps you to put all the terms and conditions of an offer in perspective and can guide you through the emotions involved when that offer involves selling your home.

  • Sales Guidance – When a house is on the market for any length of time, there is usually a reason that it hasn’t sold. It can always come down to price, but there could also be some simple things that could be addressed which would improve the curb appeal and generate activity.  It can be hard to see those things in your own home – it often takes outside perspective.

Honestly, there are numerous other services a good Agent offers that I can list, but I think everyone can see where I am going with this.  Many aircraft owners make the same mistake I did and decide to try and save a commission and sell the aircraft themselves.  The services a good aircraft broker offer are very similar to the services a good real estate agent offers.  Until I ran this little experiment, I just didn’t see it.
My wife and I have now decided to list our home and met with an Agent who comes highly recommended.  We were very impressed in our meeting by his professionalism, knowledge of the market and follow up.  I hope you can learn from my experience and avoid the waste of time and money that one can experience by trying to play broker the next time you have a house or an aircraft to sell. 
Despite what the commercial may say, you can stay at the Holiday Inn Express all you want, but it takes hundreds of transactions before someone can consider themselves an expert in aircraft sales and brokerage.  So do yourself a favor and find an expert who can help.
Toby Smith
JB&A Aviation, Inc. 
About Toby Smith
Toby Smith is Vice President of JBA Aviation and has been helping customers buy and sell corporate aircraft for over 16 years.  Toby operates JBA’s office in Tulsa, Oklahoma which is based at the Atlantic Aviation FBO at Tulsa International Airport.  He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance and Accounting. Prior to coming on board with JBA, Toby was a lender with a Fortune 500 Bank.  He now focuses on providing JBA’s customers with prompt, innovative service and attention to detail.  He is an active member of the National Aircraft Resale Association, holding various offices over the last several years including Treasurer and Chairman of various committees. At home, Toby spends his time with family, participating in a number of sports including triathlon and crossfit and helps with fundraising activities for various charities including Tulsa Area Young Life and John 3:16 mission. He is an active pilot and currently holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
About NARA –
NARA is a professional trade association comprised of selected aircraft sales and brokerage businesses that are NARA Certified, and aircraft product/services companies that adhere to the highest professional standards. Promoting the growth and public understanding of the aircraft resale industry, NARA’s members abide by an elite 14-point Code of Ethics that provides standards of business conduct regarding aircraft transactions.

Posted August 4, 2014
Written by Devri Pitts