thoughts on changing sellers agent mid-sale

acchanceApril 28, 2013

Hoping to get your opinions and useful feedback.

Our first mistake was finding a realtor 'by chance'...we cold called the local William Pitt/Sotheby's to ask for an appointment to view one of their listings and were assigned the desk duty agent. She was fine as our buyer's agent, and once we found the house we wanted to buy, most of the negotiating was done between the attorneys, so the agent wasn't heavily involved.

Our problems really began when we signed her as our seller's agent nearly one month ago. We decided to use her because she told us repeatedly that she was "very confident" our home would sell "within three days" as she had a "whole list of interested buyers" just waiting.

We signed with her for only one month and I explained that if we were satisfied with her/her agency's efforts on our behalf, we would be happy to extend our contract. In the last three weeks, we have had a good number of showings, but no offers, though our realtor claims that several parties are 'close' and have been back with parents/contractors, etc. She is encouraging us to drop our ask price by 55k (list is 1.050 m).

I am unhappy with 1) her communication style, which is overly hyped about 'potential offers' that don't materialize 2) the agency's unwillingness to service us - they refused to place our home in the paper more than once (which resulted in our open house not being advertised in the newspaper) saying they will only buy paper ads for clients who sign a contract for longer than 6 months. I spoke directly to the manager about his as I was so unhappy with their stance (after all, they had marketed their full suite of services to us and there was no mention of 'no newspaper ads if you only sign for one month). The manager was extremely rude to me saying, ma' just don't understand. etc etc. and 3) lack of info from our realtor - I have to ask for nearly everything that's relevant - a list of more up-to-date comps, a list of homes that are pending, closed, etc. within our price range.

So - can we and should we try to find a new sellers' agent once the contract expires next week, or do you think that's just creating too much ill will within our (small and intimate) realtor group in town? I am afraid of being blackballed. Are we being unreasonable or within our rights?

thoughts would be much appreciated.

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If you aren't happy then if it was me I would switch. I would look around and see who is a successful selling agent in your price range and in your area. I would talk to more than one. That said - I'm not sure that I really agree with your complaints.

Selling agent certainly should appropriately list your house and market it and should communicate well with you and be familiar with your market. They can't conjure up offers, however.

1 - Communication style. This would be an issue for me. If it didn't mesh then I wouldn't like it. I personally don't like a lot of hype.

2 - I actually agree about the ad thing. In the first place, in most areas advertisements in the paper are a total waste of time. Really the things that matter are MLS, realtor. com and maybe trulia. In my area, open houses are pretty much a waste of time although I understand that is not the case everywhere. In any event, I don't think that it is very likely at all that a buyer will find you in the paper who wouldn't find you on the online MLS. And, for a listing of a month (I'm astonished they agreed to it), I sort of understand the not wanting to pay money for a useless ad (I do think this type of thing should have been discussed before the listing was done).

3 - On the things you mention asking for my experience has been that agents don't routinely volunteer most of these things except in the pre-listing time period. However, if you request them you should promptly receive this information.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 9:56PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Million dollar buyers don't find their homes in the newspaper. You're way off base with that. And you're way off base with open houses. Those don't do squat at even modest price points much less in your range. And it takes a LOT longer to find a buyer at the high end, so a 30 day listing is barely getting started. It's not enough time to network anything with other realtors, which IS where you get the word of mouth out and find buyers.

If the agent tones down the hyperbole, then perhaps you can work together. IF you get your knickers out of the twist. And probably do the price drop to get you under that 1M mark. And develop some patience for the long haul

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 10:16PM
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Hollysprings, don't be too quick to lump all real estate markets together. I'm on the west coast and $1 mill is our "low" end. Open houses work quite well here and houses at this price point are going quickly with multiple offers. You can't make such broad sweeping statement when we have such different RE markets across the US.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 10:46PM
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If you are unhappy - switch! There was a reason you only signed on with her for a month; you obviously had a gut feeling that you might be unhappy and you were right.

Now, wiser, you know what to look for in a listing agent.

You should find out whether: if one of the people who first viewed the home while it was under your contract with her ultimately makes an offer and buys it, would it be her commission? If so, I would definitely switch as you are not taking anything away from her.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 11:16PM
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In my area, 1 mio dollar homes sell within two days with multiple offers, so you can't generalize on what's an appropriate time.
However, if you are unhappy with the agent, switch. I'd think for a commission of 30K or thereabouts, one should be able to expect some action on the agent's part.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 12:58AM
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I would switch if that unhappy with the Realtor.

Is 1million+ considered high, low or mid-range in your market, acchance?

Did they do a broker's open house for you? The amount of traffic in my area that results from a good broker's open, vs no open, is considerable.

Do open houses work in your area? Newspaper listings work in some markets (they work very well in mine). If they work in your market, I too would be upset if an open house was not advertised.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 9:09AM
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You aren't actually mid-sale. I would advise strongly against changing agent mid-sale. But, it doesn't sound like you've even had an offer.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 10:33AM
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Regardless if the agent is right or you're right, or she's wrong and you're right etc. you have articulated 3 reasons why you are not satisfied with the services of the agent and broker. How many reasons do you need? You know the answer without the consensus of members of an internet forum.

Fire the agent, find a new brokerage and move on.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 12:21PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I would change, and I would interview potential listing agents. When we sold my late mother in law's home after we remodeled it, we set up interviews.

We interviewed 5 possible agents pre-update/remodel. Two immediately were off the list when all they could do was point out the negatives, and suggest that we lower the price and sell "as is," and one even said she had a friend who would pay cash as an investor. What? WE will do the remodel, and WE will reap the profits. Was she kidding?

Others didn't seem to have a selling plan. The realtor that got the job brought his entire marketing plan. He pays for full page color ads in magazines in the target markets of his customers, and also believes in the power of the internet, using videos, etc to sell. He has sold more houses in his area than anyone and even has a freeway exit named after him.

He paid for staging consultants who helped guide us through the updating process, and our house sold for more than asking before the brokers even had their walk through. Inventory in that high-end So Calif neighborhood was very low, and his aggressive marketing made everything easy!

Get a different listing agent, and use the interview process.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 12:26PM
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I wholeheartedly agree with Suzi, interview the agents when they do an appraisal for your home. Ask them their marketing plan as well as what they plan on earmarking as a budget for marketing.

I want to hear " I will do this and that to introduce the home to the market, after week one I will then do this if we don't have movement" . A job without a plan is a plan for disaster.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 12:11AM
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Definitely drop the agent, if not now at the end of the month contract. She sounded like a blowhard at the beginning just to get your listing. Promising the moon and stars and then not delivering. You are not happy with her or the agency's performance so do not renew with them. But be more diligent in picking the next agent. Research, ask friends,etc. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 6:40AM
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I would be the first to tell you if you werent happy with your agent/services, etc then switch, but from your description, it does sound like her manager was right and you dont fully understand the process or that you will be happy with anyone.

How do you expect to have updated comps from your agent in a 3 week period? The comps from 3 weeks ago are the same as they are now.

You said she has had good activity with lots of showings. That is exactly what you want from an agent. Agents can't make people buy your house, they can only expose it to as many buyers as possible. You are worried about putting it in the paper when you have lots of activity? WHY? Buyers typically go back to a house at least 2x before making an offer. With a 4 week listing, that can be impossible.

It sounds to me like you have a fairly new agent which could be a good thing because they are hungry and are willing to do almost anything to keep the listing. (could be why her manager is so involved with you). I suspect an experienced agent would have passed on the listing.

And no, if you sign with another agent, she will not be paid unless she is the one that brings the buyer to the table. IF ANY of the other agents that showed your house brings the offer, the new agent that you hire will be the one that gets paid.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 9:02AM
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Linda said,

Agents can't make people buy your house

That's their only real job, a hundred leads without a sale is no sale. It's the agents job to close. Some sales people just are not closers, that are some great lead generators that just can't sell. So I strongly disagree with Linda here. That's why we give the best leads to the best closers and the dogs to others, just a fact in sales.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 1:14PM
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"However, if you are unhappy with the agent, switch. I'd think for a commission of 30K or thereabouts, one should be able to expect some action on the agent's part."

It has only been a month and it doesn't sound like you and this realty are a very good fit.

I think you should switch. Especially now that the house buying season is coming into full swing.

Before you do, have a list of what you expect from the next one (and ask them to sign it) so you will be clear about exactly what you can expect from them.

I wouldn't sign for any longer than 3 months. That should be enough time to see if they are any better than the last one.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 4:31PM
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Southern Canuck closing a sale has nothing to do with this thread when the ops agent is not the one bringing in the buyers. She is the listing agent and has done a good job at getting the house exposed and shown according to the op. THIS is the job of the LISTiNG agent, not closing the sale, she doesn't have the buyers.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 10:29PM
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Agents can't make people buy your house

That's their only real job, a hundred leads without a sale is no sale. It's the agents job to close. Some sales people just are not closers, that are some great lead generators that just can't sell. So I strongly disagree with Linda here. That's why we give the best leads to the best closers and the dogs to others, just a fact in sales.

Nobody can make someone buy your home. Some agents know how to market better than others, some have more connections, some know how to better accentuate the positive. But if I insist that I need to be in a certain school district, for example-- no granite countertops, no high end appliances, no open concept floor plan can get me to change my mind if the home doesn't fit in with my top priorities. And there's no salesman around that can sweet talk me using opinion over fact based statistics.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 11:28PM
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Ok Linda, we may be comparing apples to oranges. As I understand it where I am, the broker gives the "selling agent" a budget for a portion of the listed house, a small budget, the selling agent, the person in the field, markets the home with their own hard earned money as well. They can market all they wish but risk spending the yet to be earned commission on marketing.

The broker would be the lead generator as well as the selling agent. What I'm saying is with all those showings at some point someone has to sell it.

Mmmm Beeer,

Sorry I don't know what your point is. Is it if I'm looking for a car with good fuel economy don't show me a Hummer? Then I get you, and you are correct, yes certainly. But I don't know if the OP has this problem, perhaps it is. Sometimes wish I was a fly on the wall when an agent showed one of my properties as the seller isn't encouraged to meet the potential buyers here, in fact most insist you not be home during a showing. I wish I could secretly record a showing.

By the way acchance how about an update before we forget what your question was originally.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 7:55AM
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