What advice do I give my friends??

I had a friend contact me on Facebook about the possibility of finding a new agent to sell their house.  Seems they haven’t had a lot of showings, and obviously no offers yet.  I’ve crossed out the name of the town that the house is in (and corrected some of my spelling), but I though this would make a good blog post.   I always say that I need to be as good to those I don’t know as I am to friends and family……so here is what I said for anybody with the internet to see:

“Sorry to take so long to get back to you. I don’t know if it is just me, but this isn’t an easy one to answer so I wanted to have time to write you a book.

When you listed your house, it should have had a beginning and an ending time for the listing period. After the contract expires, either of you are free to move on. If that time hasn’t come yet, the agent may let you out of the contract.

I do have a few questions. Is there a board of realtors in XXXXXXXXXX (meaning a local “chapter” for the MLS.) In Lexington, we have the Lexington-Bluegrass Association of Realtors. That is the site that all the local agents use. If there is one specifically for XXXXXXX, you definitely want an agent that is a member of it. If it isn’t on whatever association’s website that XXXXXXX agents use, you may as well have listed it with an agent from another planet. In your case, I would imagine that (major nearby city’s) association probably covers XXXXXXX too. Also, the odds of your agent actually being the one who finds a buyer are very slim. It happens, but odds are another agent is going to see it online and bring their client to your house. That is why online presentation is the most important thing right now.

Question 2. Is your current agent presenting it well online? Go to whatever site the agents use and take a looksie at it. If the pictures and marketing remarks wouldn’t make you want to see it, odds are everybody else feels the same way. While you are there, double check that everything is accurate.

Question 3. Is it priced realistically? Now this is where you will unfriend me, but if you have had XX showings in less than 6 months, it may be priced high. I don’t know the XXXXXXX market, but to have XX people look and not make an offer could mean that the price is too high or………Question #4!

Question 4) Is the feedback you are getting from the showings that there is some fatal negative that buyer’s just can’t look past? If you keep hearing the same thing over and over again, you might have a big negative. Most big negatives can only be conquered with a price reduction. I have a teeny-tiny backyard. I know when I go to sell, that is what buyer’s will be telling me. Most people wanting a decent sized 4 bedroom house in a great school district have kids and want a bigger yard. I’ll have to price it at the low end of the comps unless we have another crazy seller’s market.

So, if you do part ways with this agent, here is what I would look for next. Ideally, an agent that works with at least as many buyers as they do sellers. Most agents just want to list. Listing houses just means you see the one house. An agent that works with a lot of buyers has probably been in a lot of the house that you will be competing against. That agent will be better able to tell you what your house offers to buyers that are out there right NOW! I’d look for somebody that deals in your price range a lot. It always kills me when I see a cheaper house listed by one agent in Lex that deals almost exclusively in high end houses. What does this agent really know about a $100k house when 98% of their work is over $500k? And how much time are they going to put into that listing that will pay $3k verses the ones that will pay $15k. It takes a really etical person to work as hard for both sellers!

I’d also look for somebody that has a plan. Don’t go for the agent that spits out their average days on market unless they can specifically tell you what they did to acheive it. Lots of agents can get lucky. You want somebody that will do a market analysis and will show you how they came up with what they think your house is worth. Even if you don’t like the number. Some agents will list a house for whatever price it takes to get the listing. Then they start hitting you up for price reductions. I kind of think it is better to deal with reality now, since you’ll have to at some point down the road.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions…..I may turn this into a blog post. (No names of people, places, things though.)”

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