Changing agents questions

kats_meowNovember 11, 2010

We have had our house on the market for several months and the listing will soon expire. We are inclined to switch agents (no, we don't blame our agent for the house failing to sale...however, I haven't been happy with the lack of guidance and information received). Since the listing expires shortly after Thanksgiving we were thinking of leaving it off the market for December then putting it back on. Ideally it would be off long enough that the cumulative days on market would be reset when it goes back on but we don't know how long that would require.

Anyway, we are considering interviewing a couple of agents. Do we need to wait until the listing has expired before doing that?

I looked at all the houses that have sold close to this area this year, particularly looking to see if there were any agents who sold more houses than others. Most agents had only sold one house. There were two agents that seemed to consistently have more sales.

One agent is his own brokerage and isn't one of the large brokers like Remax or whatever. He has more sales than anyone else and seems to have a lot of listings. I don't really know anything more about him except the fact that I see his listings around. Don't know anyone who has used him.

The other agent I know slightly and would perhaps lean to due to personal knowledge but the situation is a little tricky. She doesn't have as many sales as the first guy but has more sales than any other agents in this area. This agent lives in the subdivision I'm in and specializes in it and a few nearby subdivisions. I don't know her well (while in the same subdivision she doesn't live near me so I don't run into her). We met her when we were looking to buy in the area as she was the selling agent for a house in the subdivision. We had no buyer agent at the time and we entered into an option to buy the property she was agent on. The sale fell through during the option period but we liked dealing with her and thought she was very professional. She also has a ton of knowledge about the specific area and is very familiar with all the houses.

There are two tricky points. She is buyer agent for someone who has seen my house twice and is reportedly very interested in. However, her buyer has her own house on the market and hasn't sold it. We may never hear another word from that buyer of course but it could happen. I know that if the buyer ever did make an offer she would have to act as intermediary. I'm not sure if this is a reason not to use her as our agent though since it is a longshot that anything will ever come from her buyer (it has been months since the buyer saw our house).

The other tricky point is the house next door. The house has been on the market for over 2 years. It was originally listed at way too high a price (in retrospect, I'm sure it wasn't so clear at the time). The house is very different from ours. These are custom homes on acreage so they all differ a lot. It has more acreage than we do and is a smaller house with fewer bedrooms. It's listing price has been reduced by a lot but is still above ours. We do have people who look at our house and look at that one but they are very, very different.

Anyway, we found out that the neighbors are going to take take their house off the market for December and are considering switching to this second agent. I don't think that is a reason not to use her either. The houses are sufficiently different that I can't imagine a buyer who would like both houses.

Any thoughts?

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You can interview whoever you like whenever you like, but be straight about things with them (in terms of when you can actually sign up) so they don't think you're just tire-kicking. I wouldn't worry too much about the second agent's business with the other buyer/seller who saw your house - again, be straight about it -because these days that kind of thing probably happens all the time, especially if an agent is familiar with the community (which you do want).

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 5:09AM
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I wouldn't rule out the 2nd agent because she had a potentially interested buyer. You could negotiate a lower comission if that case would come up before you sign if it makes you feel like you wouldn't get the full representation. We did this on a lot we sold this year, because we felt we wouldn't get the full representation. However, we ended up with a different buyer so it was never an issue.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 7:02AM
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I don't know if its a code, or a written rule, but in general, you won't see agents selling themselves to you until after expiration. I would bet they'll talk to you if you call them... but won't actively seek your listing until the day its up.

when i had the same situation, i had a flood of calls the day we expired. we did relist, and so far, we have sold, waiting on final closing.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 11:48AM
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My understanding of the Code of Ethics is that an agent cannot contact the owner of a listed property to try to get the listing, but can speak to the owner if the owner initiates the contact.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 3:53PM
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Sylvia's correct.
The days on the market reset as soon as the listing expires and then you relist with another agent. But don't kid yourself... agents and buyers, at least here, can look at a 10 year history of every property. So your little trick won't work, if you think the buyers will think it is a fresh listing.
It sounds like you are thinking too much about which agent to choose. HAve you thought about adjusting your position in the marketplace with more competitive pricing?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 4:34PM
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Ncr - I think you are being a little unfair. Our listing expires this month. It is entirely the appropriate time to be thinking about the agent. I don't blame the agent for the market being slow. However, the agent (who has many good qualities) has not given me the advice that I think is also part of the job.

You raise adjusting price as something to consider. Not only have I thought about it but I am listed at more than 10% less than the initial listing price, which, btw, was the one suggested by the agent.

I can also say that every suggestion of reducing price has come from me to the agent. At no point has she ever suggested that I lower the price. I'm the only one who has ever brought it up. That is part of my issue with switching agents. I don't feel I'm getting any guidance or suggestions in what is admittedly a slow market.

And relisting is not a trick. Yes, I know history is available. Although when I asked *my* agent if the asterisks by some of the days on the market meant the house had been listed before was told no it didn't mean that. That caused *me* to totally think that average days on market was much shorter than it really is.

But, the reason I would prefer to relist with a fresh date is so that new buyers coming into the market don't get an initial negative impression and think there is something wrong with the house because it hasn't sold. I totally understand that the full history is available for anyone who asks for it.

It is easy for an agent to just assume that anyone wanting to switch agents is a seller who refuses to lower their price and the agent is perfect. Well, that isn't this situation. I've said from day one that I don't want to maximize price, I just want to sell. I am fully prepared to be writing a check at closing. I did rely on the initial suggestion of the agent for pricing after I told her how I felt about not wanting to price too high. Maybe I shouldn't have taken that advice. But at no point have I ever refused to consider reducing the price. In fact, I've initiated the price reduction to what it is now.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 9:08PM
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Sorry to hear you are still on the market...
Nowhere in my post did I suggest that the poster not change agents. What I did suggest is that maybe the poster was thinking too much about the process of choosing the agent. Or better yet, she is asking the wrong questions. Now, admittedly, I was in a hurry when responding, and did not do a good job in explaining what I meant. (that is twice in a week on my part... I have to stop posting when I am in between appointments with little time)
The poster states that the first agent has a lot of listings and sales, but is not from a large, National office. Being associated with a large franchised office makes no difference. You will be hiring and working with an individual agent, who is a sub contractor; you will likely never even step foot in the office. In fact, I have found it to be that most, but not all agents, that decide to work with these large, recognizable firms do so because they feel like they need the name recognition to boost thier self confidence when it comes time to get business.
The poster states that the other agent has the possibility of bringing her one of her current sellers as a buyer some day, and is concerned about dual agency. This agent has other listings in the nieghborhood too. If you are truly concerned about the possibility of dual agency, then ask the agents if they will appoint someone from the office to act as a designated agent to look out for your best interests, if dual agency does come up. Also, if you do agree to dual agency, then just be careful not to divulge any confidential information when speaking with your agent. Even if you do, most agents will respect the fact that thier role is now to facilitate a win/win situation for both parties. Remember too, that if you wish for the agent to not bring you one of thier buyers, they have no monetary incentive to go the extra mile when it comes to marketing your home in alternative ways, besides putting it in the MLS.
The poster states that the house next door is smaller, not as many bedrooms, yet the posters house is listed at a lower price. This is the perfect scenario that you want. It makes your home look like that much more of a value. In fact, if you are really serious about being one of the few homes that do sell in this market, you need to be priced at a point where MOST of the other listings are making you look like one of the best values out there.
Don't worry about the fact that the agent has that one listed too... we don't sell houses, we can only market them... the buyers are going to be the ones that make the decision which home is right for them.
When interviewing agents the most important things to consider (IMO) are these three factors:

1. Can you communicate easily with him/her? 75% of clients report that they were dissatisfied with the lack of communication and guidance. You know what I mean... sometimes you find it easier to communicate with someone than with another. You seem to be on the same level...

2. Do you think he/she is trustworthy when listening to what matters most to you in the transaction? Are they going to put your best interests out in front?

3. Do you think that the person shares the same morals and values that you do?

Choose the agent that has "YES" answers to these questions.
You see, most of the other stuff, is fluff. Don't get ran overed with thier glossy, 15 page listing agreement, that says they do this and they do that to sell your home, although you do need to give it some wieght. You need to hire someone that you feel comfortable working with during an extremly emotional, sometimnes life changing transaction. If you do this, the sale of your home will naturally occur.

Katsmeow staes: "It is easy for an agent to just assume that anyone wanting to switch agents is a seller who refuses to lower their price and the agent is perfect."
I have never stated this at all. In fact, usually the reason that sellers want to change agents is due to one of the three qualities stated above, not being met. IMO, any agent that does not approach the seller with a price reduction or other active measures, after the home has been sitting stale for a while is not performing two of the three qualities stated above.
I can tell from the tone of your post that you are aggravated with the non sale of your home. That is very understandable. It is time for you to hire a new agent.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 8:49AM
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I just realized that I did not recognize you as being the original poster when I posted above. That is why I was referring to you AND the poster separately... man, I need a break...

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 9:23PM
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