trying to sell- fsbo or agent? All help appreciated- a bit long.

ilmbgJanuary 18, 2009

I have posted before- but this is a bit different now.

I appreciate good advice, especially professional.

Linda117, sue36, and others have helped in the past- now things are getting to the point that I need to know what to do next.

The story:

As I posted several months ago- My house has been for sale with 2 agents- each for 6 months. The first agent never even put a 'for sale' sign out. Sacked her.

The second agent- I asked her to contact me weekly with her plans to market this house- her reply was 'what else can I do- I put it in MLS and local paper'.

A few of agents responded, and gave me someonline places to list.

Next week the contract ends. I am at odds of what to do.

1. Spring is coming- usually when sales pick up.

2. My current agent has 7% commision- says the 2% diff

is bargaining power.

3. Am I better off with a buyers or sellers agent- or

doesn't it matter?

4. Should I go with 5% commission?

5. Should I consider doing FSBO? Will I have enough

online sites useful to me? Can I use MLS without

being a RE? Isn't there an MLS that I can pay $300

to list?

6. How would I advertise in Home Magazines?

7. What about me selling the home myself if it is

listed with a RE? How do I handle that?

8. With a payment, am I able to have my house listed on RE


This agent doesn't seem to be putting any effort into the sale- or other agents for that matter. When the house is shown, agents don't even bother to leave a card. That is very rude to me.

I have been at the house only one time when it is shown- I did discreetly listen from the garage- I use baby monitors in the barn and in 2 places in the house to listen for trouble in the barn with the horses. Now don't get all mad at me- I wanted to hear what the agents were saying, as my house has several attributes that I wondered if they were even be mentioned. Guess what? Nope not a word about them.

1. New 24" of insulation put in attic 18 months ago.

2. There is a inverter for the pellet stove in case of

power outage.

3. Solid 6 inch insulated concrete walls of house.

4. House is 3 sdes earthbound- my electric bill is about 1/4 of others in the area with same size or smaller houses. I have been able to supply documents/electric

bills for them- on the kitchen table, along with all

many other documents, which my RE knows is on the table,

but the potential buyer was never even prompted to look


5. I have 2 clothes washers in the laundry room- one for

household, and another for larger throw rugs and horse

blankets. It was not mentioned. (is not in paperwork

RE office).

6. I have a complete whole house water filtration system-

it was not mentioned- again is not in office paperwork.

The agent seems to stand there like a dummy- yes, I know that you agents want to let a person look in peace, but shouldn't she be pointing out the positives- the things that no other house in my price range has?

I am baffled...

Next week the contract expires. How should I proceed?

My lawyer thinks I am nuts to use a RE agent. He points out that for $1000-1500, he can do the paperwork if I find a buyer.

I appreciate a good agent. I just sold a house last year in another state, and also sold my deceased mother's home in another state recently. I had wonderful experiences with both agents- they were communicative, showed me how they were working, explained what they were doing to advertise the house. One sold in 1 month, the other took 5 months. Neither were in the same state, but each were 5% commision. I felt they earned every dime- and they brought good prices.

Some friends of mine- a married couple are looking for house/acreage- they are looking for a bigger place, but did some 'looking' at houses listed in my same catagory- just to tell me what I was up against- they were 'detectives'. I did not ask them to do this- in fact they did it without my knowledge, and then came to me to tell me that my house was by far neater/cleaner/better built, better quality, at either a lower price or the same price. I also heard on the baby monitor the other day what the buyer was saying. I heard her say' this is the best house in XXX (the name of the city).

Why hasn't the agent brought even an offer if my home is so nice? As stated above, it is at competative pricing. I don't know if any other houses have sold.

What do you experinced professionals suggest?

I don't have to move, but I would like to. I would think an RE would bring an offer to the table???

Obviously, I am exasperated. I don't mind an agent getting a good commission, but I DO expect them to work for the money.

Thank you all for listening.

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Ilmbg, i'm in the same boat as you. I have a summer home on the market... STILL. Its been on for two years, I am 100k down from where I started. I've been thru at least 4 different realtors. Some were better than others. I'm a seasoned agent and understand pricing very well. This time, I asked for the "blow it out" price and priced 10k below that. We received 1 low ball offer, countered it and then nothing. They disappeared. I know I'm the best deal on the market, but NOTHING is selling in that area. Summer homes are a luxury that apparently people arent buying right now. No different advertising is going to get it sold, you just have to wait for the right buyer. At least, thats what I keep telling myself. I know as an agent, there is only so much those agents can do. The rest is the market. If your agent is getting people into your home, thats all you can ask for. Agents thru MLS do not know all the little features of your home. Make sure your agent has a feature sheet that lists all the things that can't be put in the MLS, so other agents and their clients have that when looking at your home.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 6:21PM
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I can't give you any advice, except to say that none of the 6 attributes you mention would sway my decision to buy a house.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 7:08PM
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The problem is not the agents,but the market..there is simply a lack of buyers..Not sure where you need to price it to find a buyer,but i am afraid to say it would be significantly lower then where it is currently priced..

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 8:48PM
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Hi, a couple of things occurred to me - one is that I've never (& will never) sign a 6 mo. contract - 3 is plenty. Two is that of course you want a seller's agent, and three is sort of what Graywings said - those things that you feel are big selling points aren't - not that they didn't cost you money, or that for you they're not important items, but people are looking at the structure, the layout, how many bathrooms there are, and the locale, and pellet stove inverters are trivial on first look-sees. The bills you've left out are going to be important to people who are interested enough for a second look, and who may consider offers, but not first timers at all. And attic insulation is something people may think of as 'given', rather than special, especially as they'd only care if a) they were seriously interested, and b) they thought to ask at all about insulation in general. These are some of the very reasons it's just a bad idea to hear what's going on at showings, and all it does is make you unhappy and your agent nervous. Don't do it - even a bad pro. is better than a very biased owner.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 11:11PM
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I agree with other posters that the items you have listed as features probably won't make much difference. The one thing that stands out for me is the "three sides earthbound". Does that mean there are only windows on one side of the house? That certainly would be a deal breaker for me and means you are going to have to wait for just the right people to come along.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 11:29PM
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Where is it located? Is it possible for you to put some picture of it here and maybe we can give you some suggestions on what you can do decorating-wise?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 8:24AM
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I suggest you find a discount broker that will list the home in the MLS for approx $300-$500. This is all they do, and you have to do lots of leg work. With this, you also must agree to pay the commission to the agent (if any) that brings a buyer. This can be 2.5% or 3%. When I went with a discount broker, I was able to choose the percentage and could have gone lower too. But realize an agent won't show if the commission gets too low.

From here, you act much like the listin agent. YOU take the photos and get them to the discount agent to post in MLS, you create the flyers and you place your sign in the yard(contact a sign company to get a nice custom sign for under $75). You also write the listing details and submit it to the discount broker.

Also, YOU field the calls from the agents and you schedule showings.

I suggest you get a lockbox for the agents so you don't have to hover/arrive for agent showings. This is tricky and you might not want to do the lockbox. You can get one online for approx $25. My home was vacant, so a lockbox wasn't a big deal.

I listed as above during this tough market and I sold. Even better, my discount broker had in the agreement that if I sold to someone NOT represented by an agent, that I don't owe any commission. I ended up selling to someone without an agent., though I did get many showings through agents and even an offer through one.

Also, with the discount broker, you decide the list price with no help. I paid a few hundred dollars and got an actual appraisal(I found the appraiser). I then priced accordingly.

If you are in FL, I can recommend this discount broker, who covers the state and is most excellent. But for other states, to find a discount broker, search some of these words in www: discount broker MLS list fee

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 9:03AM
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Thanks all for responding.
I guess I didn't really make myself clear.
What you are calling '6 attributes' are not attributes in my eyes at all- I was only pointing out that the agent didn't say ANYTHING! No comments AT ALL when showing the house- don't any of you that are agents say- "oh- they have a whole-house filtration system", just to let someone know that it is even there? Or- 'oh- this sink is a custom made sink by Tom Schultz'- just nice comments...
I imagine, in my mind, what I would be doing as an agent- not talking so much as to irritate a buyer, but pointing out things that are not easily seen.
I also forgot to mention that there are no jobs in this town- either you work on the oil rigs or you are retired.
As far as the decorating, I am well versed, and probably have a nicer looking interior that most- as has been commented many times, by realtors and lookers. My home is high quality furniture that is new, there is no junk, blah, blah, blah. I don't have a camera to use easily (for me), I have a digital that is a bit too complex for me- it is hit and miss and a lot of frustration to try to get them online. I am computer challenged.
I do know that jobs here is a problem

As far as the realtor- after a showing, don't any of you who are agents report back to the seller after a showing?
Mine has not reported back to me in 6 months!! That is a big problem to me.

The realtor that sold my other home reprted back to me every week- told me what he was doing to advertise, reported back how a person who looked at the house felt. So much more than this bimbo.
My house isn't even on Zillow- I pulled up houses for sale in my area, and there were several by realtors here.

Sweet tea- I had not heard of a 'discount broker' before- It seems that that may be what she is, without saying so.
With 7% commission, I would think she would actually WORK!

Obviously not!!

I found out that there aren't many houses selling here at all- with this being more a retirement area that is higher in price to live- food, utilities, car license plates- multiple taxes, ie Irrigation taxes, license plate taxes being about $600-$1,000 for a new vehicle is a deterrent.
My truck is 11 years old, and I just got my tag application ysterday- it is $153.00. My VW Bug is $613.00
THAT type of thing doesn't help!

I believe I will look at a different agent, and have a REAL talk about my expectations- if that person can't meet them...see ya!

Thank for your advice, all.

I just expect someone to do their best- and that does include advertising wherever possible!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 3:23PM
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Ilmbg: As far as the realtor- after a showing, don't any of you who are agents report back to the seller after a showing?
Mine has not reported back to me in 6 months!! That is a big problem to me.

That is a big problem if that is something you discussed with your agent that you expect. Some agents simply don't do feedback. I've heard agents say, "if they like they house, they'll make an offer, why do I need their feedback?"

Personally, I do give my sellers feedback, once a week for showings and if they don't have a showing in 2 or three weeks, I will give them a call and discuss our options.

I should also mention that if I give a seller feedback weekly for months, and the feedback always seems to be the same and the seller is in denial or refuses to make those changes, there is no longer a reason for me to continue with hunting agents down for feedback. We already know what the problem is, and if they are not willing to fix the problem or reduce the price to address the problem, there isnt much that can be accomplished with calling to get more feedback.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 4:06PM
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I may be able to add some insight.

I have been watching the market in your area for two years. We are looking to buy property there when we sell.

I watch all the "for sale by owner" sites, the MLS and the local papers as well as a couple of on line classifieds(craigs list etc.) We have yet to walk through any properties but are getting to know the market quite well.

I would try to put it on all the free FSBO sites as well as craigs list etc. at least for a few months until the spring selling season starts. That will give you an idea what people are looking for and give you some feedback.

I can address you property listing from my point of view.

The pictures were not great. They made what we could see look chopped up and small. Your furniture and it's quality have nothing to do with how people see the house. It is the bones of the house an it's layout and quality of fixtures that people are interested in.

The pictures were of non green seasons. We want to see how it looks in full growth and beauty.

You have about 20 acres but is says nothing about irrigation. Most people buying in that area with horses want irrigation water and an idea of how much feed you will get off the land each season.

I don't know about others but I watch all the home selling sites and other self help sites for people talking about the area they live. I won't get into particulars but you have posted about a few problems with your house and neighbors that ruled your property off the list for us. We will not even look at it even though it is in our price range and property size needs. Yes, what you say on the internet does come back to haunt you. Lots of people reading this site are looking for their next home.

All that said, I have never been on your property, this is all my impressions from seeing it listed and the info I can get on line.

You need to get some really great pictures and make sure that you or any agent uses them. That will do a lot to getting people in the door.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 8:48AM
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One of my agents didn't give me feedback; the agent said they tried to call but never got a return call. I don't doubt a secretary was left to do this and if that's the case forget feedback. The agent said that most agents won't give feedback and some feel that they don't want to say anything in case the are interested in the house. It wasn't uncommon in my area to not get feedback.

I've seen her listing and I'm not impressed. The agent doesn't appear to be doing any advertising. I haven't had time to look at other listings from her area to see if there were other agents I would interview but it should be done IMO. I'm also not impressed with her photos, they are dark. For what the house is listed at, the agent should get a pro in; I've done my own research for my area, cost was about $100. As a seller I offered to pay for this because it was something I felt needed to be done especially in this market. If the pictures are lousy buyers won't want to look further.

The things she's listing about her house are things she wants known and I don't think it would hurt to list them. That's like things we did to our house that no one knew about until I made my own flier then I was able to add every piece of info which in the end I think made a difference.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 9:32AM
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If I were to use an agent, I'd offer a bonus on top of their commission if they sold it within a certain amount of time.

Have you tried Craigslist? Post ads in other cities, etc, with nice, clear pics. You can refer them to the listing agents site.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 11:26AM
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Where is a link to her listing?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 11:54AM
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I don't think it is acceptable for us to post someone elses listing.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 12:06PM
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I don't think it is acceptable for us to post someone elses listing.

You're right and it's why I didn't include it with my post.

The OP had emailed me last week, I'd asked for her MLS number so that I could look it up before giving her my opinion.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 12:49PM
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I should add that the reason I don't think it is acceptable is because it is up to the OP to decide what information is out there, not because I think there is something she would not want us to know or see. Just basic courtesy.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 12:56PM
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