firing a realtor

mainecoonkittyApril 1, 2011

Do we have any recourse if we feel our realtor isn't doing anything to market our house? We listed with her in November and the listing doesn't expire until May 31st. During this time, she posted the house on the website with God-awful pictures taken by a "professional" that cost us $395 upfront, and stuck a sign in the front yard with the enticement of "vaulted ceiings"! I doubt anyone was enticed to look at or buy a house because of "Vaulted ceilings"!

The house was completely gutted and remodeled - new kitchen with new stainless steel appliances, Corian countertops, new cherry cabinets, new tile floors; two completely new bathtrooms - stripped and redone to the studs and subflooring; every room repainted and with all new carpeting in neutral colors. The house is in a very desirable neighborhood, within walking distance of an elementary school and huge park, within a mile of shopping, childcare and all the suburban amenities. It has easy freeway access to major roads and is an easy commute to the downtown area of the state capital of Ohio. And this suburban area is considered one of the most desirable in this area, with a highly rated school system. This neighborhood allows first time buyers and empty nesters to buy in this very expensive area at reasonable prices. The house prices in this area have held their own because of the desirablity and demand for entry level housing in this usually very expensive suburb. The average house price here is about double what the house is priced at.

But here's the issue - the realtor has done virtually nothing to market the house, only one open house (and that was on a Sunday with a foot of snow!), no ads, no flyers on the for sale sign, no contact with buyer's agents, nothing. All she has done is stick a sign in front and post it on a website. If you don't drive down the street, you'd never know the house was for sale. The neighbors can't believe the house wasn't snatched up within a month.

We've tried to talk to her several times about it, but she's steadfastly refusing to do anything. She's a soccer mom kind of person - only seems to sell real estate as a hobby, not a job, so she is not very aggressive. The last time we complained, she grudgingly had the only open house and that was not advertised or promoted at all, on a very bad weather day.

I fear we're going to miss the prime house-hunting season here - Spring and early Summer. Do we have any recourse to break the listing contract and re-list with someone more aggressive?

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When you interviewed her, what did she say her marketing plan would be?

You should talk to her broker, perhaps he or she could assign your listing to a more aggressive agent. Technically, all listings are with the broker, not the individual agent.

We've tried to talk to her several times about it, but she's steadfastly refusing to do anything. She's a soccer mom kind of person - only seems to sell real estate as a hobby, not a job, so she is not very aggressive.

So why did your hire her in the first place?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 12:16PM
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I'm so sorry.

Tell her broker you want to terminate the listing.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 12:53PM
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I would just say the same thing to her that you have told us here. She isn't aggressive enough, she isn't marketing your home as should be, etc. Let her know you want someone who is really in RE as a career and not a hobby. Then cancel the contract. I would also let her RE firm owner know why you are canceling. By the way I have never signed a 6 month contract with any of the agents I have used. 3 months is enough time to know if they are doing their job correctly. You can always resign up with them if you like what they have done. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 2:02PM
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Before you try to cancel the contract, you should definitely sit down and read the thing. Then, make sure you have a list of any potential buyers who viewed the house while you were under contract with this agent. If possible, get something in writing from the agent that such a list is complete.

As for what to tell the broker, stick to the facts. Don't speculate on how much time she spends on her job or the sports her kids play. You've got legitimate gripes about the services she didn't provide, so there is no need to muddy the waters.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 2:31PM
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"So why did your hire her in the first place?"

It's been quite a long time since we sold a house - 25 yrs. We interviewed several that were recommended by various aquaintances and she seemed like a "go-getter". She also works as a buyer's agent and brought over a potential client even before we officially signed the listing contract. That impressed us, even though we now realize that she talked a good game about her marketing strategy ot get the listing, but never followed through. We were patient for several months, and she showed it a few times, but from the feedback, they all loved it and thought it was fairly priced for the area, but were lookers not ready to buy.

If we had been more savvy, I would have asked how many actual sales she's closed on in the last year. She had several other impressive listings to show us, but what we have realized that none of them sold and when the listings expired, they all went elsewhere.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 3:45PM
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When our daughter was listing her house on MLS the realtor took the photos and there was no charge to her. Is charging for listing photos the norm?


    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 4:49PM
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We tried to fire an agent once, and the broker wouldn't let us out of the contract (six months, also). However, the broker did agree to assign another agent to "share" the listing, and promised us that we wouldn't have to deal with the original agent any more.

We had a contract in less than 30 days after the new agent took over. I don't know how the commission was split, and don't really care. We were just happy to have a different agent and - probably because she knew she was "taking over" unhappy clients - she really worked hard. So definitely let the broker know how unhappy you are.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 6:09PM
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I know there are some good real estate agents out there, and there are some good ones on this board, but I have heard this story over and over again. I think some of them just try to get listings and then sit back and wait for them to sell themselves. They're known as "listing collectors," lol. And you don't even know what's going on behind the scenes, or NOT going on. For example, when we were house hunting, at first I called the listing agents directly because I figured it's their listing, they know the property best, they will work hardest to get it sold. I cannot tell you the bad service we got. I called one listing agent THREE TIMES to inquire about his property, both his office and cell numbers, and he never even returned my calls. If only the poor seller knew. I finally had to get a buyer's agent to show me the property. That's the one I ended up going into contract on. Now the guy had to split his commission with my agent. But what does he care? He gets something for doing nothing.

I would be fuming if I was you. I'd demand action or I'd get out of that contract somehow.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 12:21AM
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If you aren't happy talk to the broker and ask about being let out of your listing or, if they won't, assigning a different agent.

That said, around here basically putting the house on MLS is the primary sales activity (and a sign in the yard). Most of the large sites that have listings (, trulia, etc.) pull listings from MLS and the agent doesn't have to do anything to have that occur.

Also, open houses are useless. A realtor only open house can be helpful. Not so much to get buyers but to give you feedback about your house that may be helpful to you (and give you opinions from a variety of people).

Also ads in the newspaper, real estate mags tend to not do much. Recently agents have told me that things that used to be helpful - ads, flyers - just don't do much any more. People are mostly searching on the internet. If local they find the house on the local MLS. If not, then maybe

How is the wording in the MLS listing? Is it OK? If not, have you asked that it be changed. BTW, I've never heard of paying extra for photos and I know that on our last listing we had some photos retaken. We did ask for flyers although the agent said they typically nowadays don't do much, but he agreed to get flyers (although we sold before we ever got them).

As far as contact with buyer's agent if the buyer isn't interested in the house, there isn't much to say. I did in a few instances ask for feedback on specific comments made.

To me, if the selling agent lists the house on MLS with a well written listing, has good photos posted (and is willing to retake bad ones) and responds in a timely manner to all inquiries then I tend to think they have done what they need to do.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 7:25PM
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Kat's Meow wrote: "That said, around here basically putting the house on MLS is the primary sales activity (and a sign in the yard). Most of the large sites that have listings (, trulia, etc.) pull listings from MLS and the agent doesn't have to do anything to have that occur."

Not true... we pay money for this marketing to happen.

As far as the poster's question... if the agent is not doing wjat she agred to, that is enough to firs her. Call her BIC.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 6:19AM
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Broker in Charge?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 3:00PM
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In order to save money, we have gone with a limited service broker, so that we could get on the MLS. We essentially spent $295 and we are on the MLS, and thus we are on Trulia, Zillow, and many others. We will have to pay 3% to a buyer's agent, but not to the seller's agent. We were given a for sale sign (not FSBO). I have contacted every friend and every realtor we know about our listing. I advertise in Craigslist for free about 1-2 times per week. I put an info box on our for sale sign and I refill it with fliers every single day. I have had more hits on my house (on Zillow and Trulia) than any other house for sale in my neighborhood. I have had at least as many, if not more showings than anybody else in our price-point in our neighborhood. I would love to not have this responsibility and leave it up to someone else, but since I have a $795,000 home, it is worth it to me to save the $20,000+ in realty fees and honestly, I know no one would market my house as hard as I have. No one cares more about your assets/money more than you. Ultimately, a house sells itself. No amount of marketing or even price cuts (unless you are going bargain basement) are going to sell your home. This may be something you would like to consider, if you are able to get out of your contract. Good luck!!!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 10:03PM
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