should we keep our realtor?

marybelle_2009November 21, 2009

I posted here about 10 months ago when we briefly tried FSBO with our 2-story 25 year-old home in central WI. We decided to let a trained professional take over in April and our 9-month contract with him is up soon. We've had 3 showings since Sept. and no one has come near to making an offer. We've lowered our price to $219,000 and have followed thru on his and other realtors' recommendations - have installed a new kitchen floor, removed wall paper in the foyer and dining room, replaced the floor in the sun room, replaced windows. The place is neat and clean and the feedback from lookers is always very positive as to the condition and how well the home shows. Negative comments (and there aren't many of these) have to do with things we can't really change - like the flow of the rooms isn't what they want or the kitchen is too small. Only 1 of the people who looked said the price was too high, and that person didn't like anything about the house anyway.

There was a flurry of showings in late spring and early summer and several people said we were on their short-list, but they had to sell their houses first.

I think one of our best selling points is the lovely large fenced in back yard which backs up to a 40 acre wooded area and our landscaping, and am nervous that once the snow flies there goes that asset until spring.

Our realtor has many years of experience and my husband knows him through an organization which is why we went with him. We also met with someone from his office months before we signed with him and I was impressed with her - she helped a friend sell her house and worked with our guy. She was a go-getter and he seems more laid back. I notice that he's more on the ball with answering e-mails now that the deadline to renew approaches.

So, how much can we attribute our house not selling to the economy? Is this pretty typical now, or should we be expecting more from him? If there aren't any buyers, what can he do that he isn't doing? And, if we decide to switch realtors, is it out of the question to go with someone else who works in his office?

Any thoughts are appreciated.

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It doesnt sound as if you're unhappy with your realtor but more with the activity. Most buyers typically don't say "the house is priced too high" and most sellers want to hear those words before they reduce. Buyers are telling you in other ways and words that the price is too high.

"The flow of the house isnt right, the kitchen is too small". Typically if buyers are seeing other homes in the same price range that have better floor plans and bigger kitchens, it equates to your price being too high for what else is out there that you are competing with. At this point, 9 months on the market, you are getting stale. It sounds like you need a fresh start. (that doesnt necessarily mean with a new realtor), but I would let it expire, have him/her take new pictures, get a brand new price, (one that will put your home into a new pool of buyers)and go from there.

If you are "unhappy" with your realtor, then choose another one but I wouldnt choose one from the same office. That makes things uncomfortable for everyone involved.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 12:33PM
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Thanks for the information - you've given me some things to ponder! I actually did suggest to the realtor after our last showing that we lower the price but he did not seem to think it was necessary yet. I would be more than happy to reduce the price if it meant a quicker sale -I think we should push this with him.

One of the reasons I'm not so excited about this guy is that I did also suggest that we need a better photo on the website - it was taken in April before anything was blooming and the yard is much more attractive in the summer. He didn't seem to think this was important either and my hubby felt that serious lookers would click on the additional photos and see the summer pics as well.
Thanks again for your feedback.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 2:39PM
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I wouldn't sign with a agent any longer than three months at a clip. They get too comfortable, in some cases lazy when they know they have your listing for 9 months. Always go with the shortest amount of time it gives you an out if you find they aren't performing well.
I think the proper pics can make or break the number of viewings a home has. If you've done any reading here on this board you know how seriously we all take good pic. Sounds like your agent dropped the ball on that one.
Have you done your homework and gone yourself to check out other homes in the area that are similar to yours in size and age to see what they have or don't have and in what price ranges have they been selling? This can tell you alot about how your house is priced the pitfall is you have to be brutally honest with yourselves on what you see and how you compare. If the trend seems to be that your home doesn't measure up then a price cut is needed.
House hunting in winter in Wisconsin can be a chore depending on the weather. Given you've waited 9 months you may want to consider removing it from the listings till early spring. It's a major hassle trying to keep a house show ready during the holidays.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 3:45PM
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If your Realtor will not change pictures with the season, that sends a red-flag to me. First you signed for NINE months with the same person? Why? Even in a crappy market I would not sign for longer than three months; what if the Realtor will not change pictures? Have open houses? Re-run the comps every three months to make certain I am not chasing the market down? Recommend a price change?

Hmmmm why is it you want to remain with this Realtor again?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 7:26PM
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Why on earth would you sign a 9 month contract with any realtor?! Three months is long enough to see whether or not they are competent in what they do. It sounds like you are not happy with what he is doing(or not doing in this case). Time to drop him and get some one new. Not from his office either. A fresh view/opinion from some one new is needed. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 7:33AM
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Nine months is a long time, but what if the average DOM is significantly longer than 90 days, which it is in most places? I can see why an agent would balk at the idea of investing his/her person funds in an advertising campaign with only a three month contract.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 8:56AM
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You never told us what the average days on the arket is in your area.
I was all for not blaming the Realtor until you said that he advised AGAINST a price reduction. That is a red flag to me.
Assuming the property is being exposed properly...

1. If you are getting no showings and no offers, the property is way overpriced.
2. If you are getting some showings and no offers, your home is overpriced just a bit.
3. If your property is priced right, you will get many showings, and at least one offer.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 9:07AM
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Thanks to everyone who responded. You have given me some things to think about and some decisions to make. I'll keep you posted.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 10:55AM
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As a buyer, and having had a 3rd offer on a 3rd home accepted, I can give you a bit of info from my perspective, may not mean much since I'm on the other side and I'm just giving you some info on my situation.

The home we just put in an offer on last Friday (final acceptance yesterday) has been on the market for over 10 months, was listed mid January. I saw it around the end of March, beginning of April. I dismissed it due to a few reasons, one was the price, but also due to what needed to be updated in it, and another issue was my furniture that I wanted to keep, I didn't think it would place well/correctly in the master bedroom-few other reasons, but nothing major.

Since that time, I put in and had contracts on 2 other homes, both of them failed inspection and I had to walk.

Also, since seeing this home I even drove my Mom by the outside during the summer, just to point it out to her, her response was "Yuck, I don't like it at all!"

After my last round of looking at homes and not finding anything, I suggested going back to this home. The realtor didn't want to take me back but reluctantly, we went. Nothing has been done in the house since I saw it, it's the same exact way, with maybe the exception of a framed piece of art being off the wall.

From what I was told, there hasn't been a single offer on this home in the entire time it's been up for sale. The price has been lowered 4 times, and still nothing. The house is clean, but does need to be updated. What my Mother thought was "Yuck" about the house was the outside, the curb appeal - there is none. This house has ZERO charm, but as my Mom saw, it has a lot of potential.

I was told the listing agent is the one who sold them the house originally. The location of the house is excellent as far as being easy to get to and near everything - not sure about the schools as it's not important to me, I'm beyond that time of my life.

I think with a little landscaping, this house would have had more activity, but I think that alone may have been the point where someone didn't look any further at it. It's been painted, but other than that, I'm not sure what the sellers could have done to make it more presentable and not have to put in a bit of money. The kitchen needs updating, new flooring, but that's going to cost. Maybe in the long run, they should have spend some money doing it as it may have cost them at the end.

It may not be anything the realtor is doing/not doing. It can easily be the economy. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink, as they say. But I can tell you, I've searched daily on the MLS listings to keep up with the latest new listings and the latest price changes. It's rare that I see a home newly listed sell quickly since there's so many homes on the market, but when I see a price drop, I'm seeing things move. Homes that were on the market for a long time are finally moving.

Wish I could see your listing - would love to give you my 2 cents with me being on the other side. Why not post some of the pics from your listing, maybe you could get some feedback from doing that from those on this board.

Below is the home that we are buying, as you can see, no curb appeal at all! It sorta looks like a trailer, though it's not.

One thing, we were a cable show where they go in and spruce up homes that aren't selling - then they bring back buyers who previsouly saw the home before and just some minor and minimal costing updates made the world of difference for many. I was in awe of some of the things they did - makes me wish I had cable!!!!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 5:41PM
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Update on our realtor dilemma: Hi everyone, as it turns out, we mistaken thought our contract expired in Jan. and it in fact expired this week, so rather than rush around finding a new realtor, we extended our contract for 3 more months and made it clear we expect a reduction in price, updated photos, and better communication. We have moved out of the house and are living in a different community so arranging for a new agent would have been more than we could handle right now.We did have more showings in Nov. than we'd had in months and our guy seems convinced that things are looking up for local sellers
I spoke to a friend last night whose sister sold her home in less than a month (in a different part of the state) - and did so by lowering her price almost immediately and by having great photos. One poster asked if I could put some pictures here for people to critique. Is it considered OK with this thread to put the MLS number and name of the realty company? If not, I'll post some of the photos here separately.Thanks again for your input - in these challenging times for sellers it's good to have a group to go to!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 4:30PM
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marybelle_2009 : we extended our contract for 3 more months

All I can say is "good luck with that".

marybelle_2009 : Is it considered OK with this thread to put the MLS number and name of the realty company?

Yes, it is fine to link to your listing on the mls and the Realtor's site. Be prepared for VERY honest criticism although I must say from that three month extension I think it is doubtful you will take any of the advice posted here anyway.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 12:28PM
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Debelli, I think house has a lot of potential for curb appeal. Have fun fixing it up. We want to see pictures.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 3:43PM
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If your home has been listed with an agent for nine months and has not sold and does not have any defects, it is overpriced by definition. Sometimes, hiring a new agent will bring fresh energy to the process and get new traffic. I would hire a new agent.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 5:31AM
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