listing expired, agent hasn't noticed, request to view

lokipupSeptember 4, 2011

Our MLS listing expired August 31. We haven't been thrilled with our agent, but we planned to ask for a 3 month contract just because we didn't want to take it off the market this close to the slow holiday season. But the fact that he hasn't noticed that it's expired has us rethinking. After all, it's already off the market. Here's the real question. Yesterday an agent put a letter on the door stating that they had given the sheet on our house to a buyer without noticing it expired. They said that they are not soliciting to list our house, just show it to an interested buyer. My 1st thought was to tell them to call our agent--the sign is still up and the key box is still there. But we don't want to have to sign another contract with our former (?) agent. What obligation do we have to our agent? We're not trying to screw him out of the commission, but we also don't want to get stuck. Without going into too much detail, the only contact we have had with realtor since house was listed was at beginning of month 5 and beginning of month 6. Both initiated by us. Would appreciate any advice.

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"We're not trying to screw him out of the commission, but we also don't want to get stuck."

I don't understand;
if you aren't trying to screw him out of the commission, you need to pay him;
if you think you're getting stuck if you pay him, then you are trying to screw him out of the commission, right?

& agents search MLS according to "listing status" among other things;
there's just no you can "accidentally" give a buyer an expired listing.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 3:10PM
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If the contract w/your agent is expired, then you are not obligated to give him commission. You only owe him commission if the buyer was someone who had already looked at the house during the life of the contract, or if you decide to renew the contract. Only having 2 conversations in month 5 and month 6 (both initiated by you) shows me he is not that interested in your business, therefore I would not feel guilty about screwing him out of his commission. But again, you are not screwing anyone because the contract is dead. You would be doing nothing wrong at all.

As far as the other agent "not noticing" your contract was expired - that is a bunch of baloney. All agents know whether or not a house is active. She may have had her eye on your house, just waiting for it to expire so she could spring into action. Of course she is trying to solicit your business and get you to sign on with her. And saying they have a potential buyer (whether one actually exists or not) is the oldest trick in the book when an agent is trying to get you to list with them. I would be very careful dealing with her.

Your best bet may be to find a new agent altogether and forget both of them. If there is indeed a new buyer out there who wants to see the house, they can still look at it even if you do sign with someone else.

Good luck

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 3:51PM
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Sylviatexas- this is a request to view, not an offer. Somebody is going to get a comission and I don't care who as long as my house sells. Getting stuck would be having to sign a contract with an agent that I don't want to use, just to show the house to someone who may not be seriously interested.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 1:31AM
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Cas and Jason- thanks for the great advise and information. I feel much better about getting another agent. As far as the one that wants to show it, cas, your idea makes a lot of sense. I thought it was strange. They can show the house, but no way will we list with them. I will be reading Jason's link and calling realtors Tuesday. We have had multiple calls from realtors. Are these go-getters or people who have too much time on their hands? Also, how do you tactfully ask a realtor to get his sign and key box? I wish one of you lived close enough to list it.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 2:00AM
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lokipup, you just call up the realtor and ask him to remove his sign and lock box ASAP since your listing has expired. If he asks about extending his contract, just tell him that you are going to be interviewing other agents. Obviously you want to be nice, but you don't have to worry about hurting his feelings. Didn't seem like he was worried about doing his job and trying to sell your house.

The realtors that are contacting you have seen your expired listing and are doing their job. From what I understand this is a very common business practice that even the busiest agents utilize. Look up some the agents that have contacted you and check out their marketing of current listings. You'll notice right away that some don't care much about photography and/or using multiple sources to market their listings. Ask neighbors and friends for recommendations. Narrow down the three best choices and interview them. Ask all questions that are important to you...even ask how often they maintain contact with clients.

One thing to consider is just how busy the agent is. I hired an agent who was so busy that he did not give my listing much attention. And when he did, he was in such a hurry for another client. He made mistakes that were inexcusable and I ended up cancelling the contract. I had another agent that always sent out her assistant. I didn't care for that either. SO, write down all of your concerns and questions to bring to the interview. Learn about their business and what you can expect from them before signing any contract.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 10:57AM
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lokipup I agree with the other posters that said the agent absolutely knew the listing was expired. Expired listings do not show up in a search for active listings. I wouldnt, however, dismiss that she may actually have someone to show it to although I doubt it. Offer him/her a one time showing for that client only. I suspect she will say her buyer disappeared or some other excuse. You will then have the time to interview other agents and make a decision that isnt based on urgency.

As far as asking your agent to remove the lockbox and sign, bleigh is right. Simply call your last agent and ask them to remove the sign and lockbox as the listing as expired.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 11:07AM
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I am going to give the agent that wants to show the house the benefit of the doubt. What could have happened is he could have printed out the listing sheet and given it to his client before the listing expired. They may not have got back to him for several days, at which time he realized that the listing expired. Then he left the note for the OP asking for a showing.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 2:25PM
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That conversation that the agent has a person interested in the house is a red flag. We went thru the same thing years ago. The listing had expired and in my case the agent said she had someone really really interested. As I had refused to let them put a lock box on, due to the remote location of the house, she could not get into the house unless we let her in. She was insisting she could go on the property. I called a neighbor to make sure no one went on the property, she never showed. I called her when I go back and asked her just exactly who wanted to look at it? After a dicussion, it turned out it was her mother who had a expired RE license. I just said no, got a new agent and within a month the house was sold. Someone had been looking in the area for 3 months was told there was no houses for sale, and mine had been sold as my agent refused to show it. To this day, I do not know what was going on. My new agent ending up selling 5 other houses in the same area with new listings.
We were on vacation and she called us 3 times on the cell phone crying the blues. Curious how these people all showed up when the listing had expired after 6 months, with no showings. Found out later she was afraid of dirt mountain roads, so our property was never shown to anyone, by this agent. Her broker could care less.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 2:53PM
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Thanks for the advise and support. Choosing and interviewing realtors really stresses me out. One of the brokers (I don't really know the difference between realtors and brokers) sent a resume that impressed me. He lives one subdivision from us. I checked tax records to be sure that was true because I'm getting cynical. So he should be familiar with the neighborhood. He's been in the business for 30 years, is on the board of a local bank, and very active in the community. Also on facebook. Do these things really matter or am I clueless? After all, look at my last choice (btw he was highly recommended by a friend). I had originally planned to use the realtor that we worked with to buy the house 9 years ago, but was pressured into using the other one. Now I'm embarrassed to call the 1st one since I'm sure she will know it's been listed with someone else. She was great, although now she focuses on property about 45 minutes away. Does that matter? Third option is using one of the 2 realtors we know from church, but I'm just not sure I want to go there. They are both good, but maybe church and business should be kept seperate. Please offer advise. My husband works all the time and I will have to interview & choose.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 5:37PM
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drive around within your neighborhood and very nearby neighborhoods and look to see which realtor has the most listings ...also which firm they are with. Also get the flyers and look at them and pull the online listings. Do they flyers have price and a good photo and good wording? Are the flyer boxes empty? What does the online listing look like? Call them they answer ...or return your call quickly? Just leave a mssg and say you have a question about a home. This way you are testing to see how fast they return a call that might be from a buyer or might be from a seller.

Don't list with folks from church simply because you know them from church...but DO use them if they have listings in your area and if they market the home well.

go the the supermarket and get those real estate magazines that are free. Find the realtor that has the nice big listings on one of the first 5 or 6 pages. They often have all their listings (not their office, but only John Smith's listings) on this page. When you interview them, see if your listing will be in this mag each time it is offered, or only as a new listing? Do they advertise on craigslist, in the newspaper? the more places, the harder they are working and the more exposure for your home.

*The broker you found that lives near you. what kind of listings does he have? Is he a full time realtor? Maybe find his listings online and drive by them to see the sign and flyers. Maybe you find an owner working in the yard and ask them if they are happy with their can do this for any sign you see.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 5:53PM
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Thanks. I'm feel like a spy casing the area looking for real estate signs and flyers. It's kind of fun. I like the flyers. My former agent said nosy neighbors were the only people who take them, so glad that is not true.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 3:22PM
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sorry, I misunderstood what you were driving at.

I can guarantee you that the agent who helped you buy the house will be delighted to hear from you regardless of the fact that the house has been listed with someone else;
that kind of thing happens all the time.

& I agree that listing with someone from church (or with a relative) is not usually a good idea.

"Curious how these people all showed up when the listing had expired after 6 months, with no showings."

Ain't that the truth!

I always think I'd be tempted to say, "It's been on MLS, so why haven't you sold it already?"

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 5:18PM
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A little late, but I'll post anyway, from the agent point of view.
I've been that agent who had a stack of listings to show, discussed with buyer, whittled down to a couple, and then when I called to make an appt, found out that it was already under contract. Dang. Now I know to double-check right before I will look stupid, just in case.
Also, if I have a buyer looking in a very specific area, I'll definitely pull up recent expireds just in case those folks are still interested in selling (but I contact the ex-agent as a courtesy) because there just isn't much on the market right now.
FYI - a broker is the boss of an agency and can be a previous agent who just does management, or may still be active as an agent. An agent who doesn't want to work for someone else will get their own brokers license so they can work alone, and may eventually expand to include a few other agents. The commission actually goes to the brokerage, and the broker shares part of that commission with the agent, and the brokerage is the responsible agency.
If appropriate, and only you will know, I'd always list with the local expert who "farms" your subdivision, not with the agent who takes listings all over the county and has only surface-level knowledge of your part of town. The agent I would use knows which school your house is zoned for and how long it takes to get to xxxxx from there. (airport, beach, hospital, whatever). Because, if I was a buyer, that's the agent that I'm going to use to buy a house in that area where I've decided to live.
Call me crazy, and I'll help anyone out, but I've sent buyers to agents whose expertise is in short sales, because I just don't have the patience for them. And I've sent buyers to agents who farm the area they want, because I just don't know some parts of town all that well. And I've refused listing when the seller insisted on an insane price (it's still on the market, a year later). And I consider myself a professional who won't be upset if you choose someone else to list your home or help you buy, because it's not personal, it's business.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 9:16PM
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Oh, and you can always ask if this person who wants to see your house is a qualified buyer. That'll put the agent on the spot to ensure it's not actually a "preview" or looky-loo.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 9:26PM
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Thank you for explaining difference. The man we interviewed today was a broker who does his own listings. Now I know what that means (ha ha). I could use some advise. House was on market for 6 months. Going by apt center calls, it showed about 1x/week on average.
Marketing plan was to lower price 10,000 if no offers after 30 days, but price never got dropped. The broker today thinks he can sell in 30 days for asking price if we will list for 13.5% less. Obviously was priced too high & we were planning on lowering quite a bit, but that seems extreme. His price was based on comps for the whole city because houses in our subdivision do not go on the market often. Said he would list for whatever we want, but if it doesn't sell before Nov it probably won't before spring. Is that much of a markdown normal?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 5:09PM
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If anyone is interested, the agent did show the house to a couple that she said said qualified. She asked me to sign something giving her permission to show & saying that if she sold it she'd get her 3%. Even if they did make an offer, which I doubt, I wouldn't want the same agent representing me as seller and the buyer

I hope someone has advise from my last post. Really appreciate honest answers from you guys. Don't want someone to tell me they can get a high price when they can't. On the other hand, last time I sold (9 years ago) an agent wanted to list for 95000, so I went with another agent who sold for 120,000 in 2 months.
C9piolot-Wish you were in my area, but I checked your zone and you're not.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 11:37PM
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We can't tell you if 13.5% is a steep drop in price. What matter is current market value, that is sometimes difficult to determine in this market. Too bad you didn't drop it earlier per your original plan, that would tell you better what the right price is.
I frequently see overall higher price drops, but not knowing your original price, your local area prices and the condition of your property makes a number difficult.
As said, interview several local agents, get their feedback.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 12:10AM
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It is hard for us here to say whether a 13.5% price drop is necessary. Do your own comps. I'm a numbers person, and when we were house hunting I would do my own comps and then compare it what the agent gave me. In many areas, I think the online resources are available to see what has sold recently and compare home features and calculate $/sq. foot. Also, talk/interview other agents and see what they say. When selling our house we interviewed 2 agents and they gave us list prices about $50,000 apart. We picked the agent suggesting the higher list price but then told him we actually wanted to list about $20,000 less than that (and we sold within $5000 of our list price - so right in between the two suggested list prices).

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 12:47PM
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List was 290. Broker wants to list for 250. Doing my own comps makes me think it is worth around 270. We are following advise and interviewing other agents. One on our list says he has sold 20 houses this year. Is that a lot? I was hoping you could tell something about price by number of viewings (26 over 6 months). House is in excellent condition. We put in hardwood, tile in kitchen added pantry cabinet and island. Also granite countertops. Roof is 3 years old and high efficiency heat and air is 2 years old. The broker says none of things add value because they are cosmetic or regular maintenance. Is this true?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 6:22AM
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it depends on whether the sold comps in your area have the granite, high eff hvac, hardwood, tile, newer roof.

even so, they don't add a ton of value in this market. they might make someone pick yours over another that has old roof and old HVAC. granite is always a WOW factor that can make someone choose a home. maybe you are worth $5k more with your upgrades...or maybe $8k more IF other homes have old stuff that needs updating for all your items.

why do you think your home is worth 270k versus broker thinking 250k? what do you see in the comps make you think the price should be 270k versus what the broker sees in comps?
what kind of feedback did you get from all those showings in 6 months?
is your home on a busy street or the most expensive in the subdivision...what is it that you think has hindered it from selling by now? does it have stucco in an area that favors brick?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 1:42PM
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Another house in our subdivision was on the market. It sold for 270. I have been watching it because I thought ours should be valued the same. They started out priced like ours, but their agent actually lowered their price after a month or 2. That house had same floorplan as ours, but ours has 250 sq ft more on main level (and 250 sq ft more in basement) and 1/2 bath more than theirs. They finished part of their basement with tile, drywall and dropped ceiling, but didn't do the upgrades that we did on the main level. If it matters, our basement is a walkout so 2 walls are drywall. This is probably too much detail, but I thought the extra square ft& upgrades would put us on par with the other house. This is actually the same comp that the broker used, but he said that they had finished their basement& it was nice so our house is worth 15,000 less. I didn't ask about the difference in sq ft or 1/2 bath because I didn't want to argue, and maybe I'm wrong. As far as why it didn't sell, I am sure that having a near identical house at a lower price didn't help. No feedback from showings but do know from apt center that 3 people saw it twice.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 7:08PM
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You should be getting feedback on each showing. I would insist on that as you interview new agents.

What area of the country are you in? We are house shopping and a finished basement would sell me the house, however, the extra bath would be a close second. Factoring in the updates, extra sq. ftg and bath, I would list at 270 and see what feedback you get.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 12:30AM
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Thanks for the feedback Jane. We are in Tennessee. I dropped the ball on interviewing realtors due to a case of food poisoning. Have done nothing but read GW forums in bed for a couple of days. It's funny because I was just reading great advice that you gave someone else.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 1:17AM
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Hope you feel better!


    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 3:21PM
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I agree with you about your $270k price. Basements that are finished do not add a ton of value...besides, your extra 250sq ft main plus extra 250 sq ft bsmt, plus extra 1/2 bath plus upgrades you have, makes up for that partially finished bsmt.

What are the others in your neighborhood selling for...all below 270k or any more at or above? This is important, as you would be tops in price and that is never good, even if you are tops in features and sq ft.

Too bad you didn't get your other realtor to drop the price after 1 month. Chances are, the folks that bought the comp house also walked through yours. Maybe yours was priced too high at that time. Also too bad your agent gave you no feedback after 6 months. Sounds like that other agent put it into MLS and left it alone, hoping another agent would sell it.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 8:10AM
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Jane-thanks. Managed to get bronchitis before recovering from food poisoning, but I'm great now.

Sweet Tea- nothing in our subdivision on the market now. Other than the house I was talking about, the most recent sales were 11/2 to 2 years ago. One smaller house & lot sold for $263 and the one across the road from us which was also smaller house and lot for $275 (can't believe they got that price, much smaller). Houses just don't go on the market often here. Our house is average. Right smack in the middle of sq ft and lot size for the subdivision. All brick, good condition.

I have a couple of realtor questions. We are interviewing 2 tomorrow & have decided to choose tomorrow night even if we flip a coin to do so. One realtor has a lot of promise. From the area, does agent open houses. The other was telling me that the key is to set the price right. I agree, but he said that he listed a house & had a contract in less than 2 weeks, with 3 other people calling him wanting to know if the contract was good because they didn't get their contracts in 1st. He was very proud, but all I could think was that he could have got more $. Maybe I watch too much HGTV, but they would have had a bidding war. Is his a good pricing strategy? Haven't heard either of their comps yet for our house. 2nd question: Does it matter if our house shows up when MLS is searched for our subdivision? When it was listed before, it didn't. I asked the agent to fix it but he said it didn't matter. The broker that we've already interviewed said that it didn't matter so there would be no need for him to fix it either.

Thanks for advice & opinions.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 6:09PM
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