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Trying to decide on Agent

Posted by caulk_king (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 9, 10 at 17:07

Hi -

We are going to put our house on the market. We have been in the area for several years & have had listings with 2 realtors in the past. I am not inclined to use either again - one is in very tight with a new home builder & I worry that those houses will be pushed over ours & the other is too good a friend to deal with. I know it's a tough market & I think we'd prefer to go with someone we don't know personally so that there isn't a chance of hurt feelings with brutal honesty. Well, not brutal, brutal - but you know what I mean. Sometimes it's just hard to have a business relationship with friends.

There is one person with a reputable local company that has 2 properties for sale in my immediate neighborhood. Both MUCH more expensive than ours will be listed for. One due to size of house & the other is a larger house + has more the land. We're talking $100K to $150K more. Does this make that person a good fit or a bad fit? I lean towards good because if someone is looking at the other 2 & just want something smaller & cheaper, then we're right down the road. Also, we are on 7+ acres with much better tree coverage than the other 2 houses - plenty of room to add on if you wanted to & plenty of money saved to do it.

Or, is it better to pick another local realtor that has lots of listings, has been around forever but has nothing in our neighborhood.

We've had one realtor do a work-up for us & I have a question: doesn't the terrain of the lot factor in? She really didn't think that our wooded lot was worth any more than a non-treed "house in a pasture" lot. Our house is secluded - many many large trees. We cannot see the road or neighbors - although they are relatively close by so you don't feel isolated - & that's what sold us on the property in the first place. It's well manicured, not overgrown. I would have thought there was some value in that.

Any advice will be appreciated. We plan on sitting down with a couple next week.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Trying to decide on Agent

Everything else being equal, a treed lot that provides privacy is worth more than a "pasture lot," sometimes considerably more.

Plain and simple, desirability drives prices. The more desirable the property, the more it fetches.

Pass that agent by.


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RE: Trying to decide on Agent

I would go with the agent that you trust and feel most comfortable with. Does the agent that has lots of listing have an assistant to help handle the paperwork? I wouldn't use an agent the is overextended.


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RE: Trying to decide on Agent

Thought so, but I got the feeling that she just wants a really quick sale. So do we, but within reason. We'll already be around $50K less than any house in the immediate area. There are 3 - the 2 mentioned above (both much larger, but built around the same time) and one much older house that's about the same size with a nice, slightly smaller treed lot . It's "way overpriced" according to this agent, she suggested we go in almost $63K less. Now - let me say that our house is in great shape, move in ready. So, she's not basing the low price on work that needs to be done, etc. Needless to say, I think she's out - but she comes highly recommended. Probably because she prices houses low & sell them quickly.


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RE: Trying to decide on Agent

Terriks - We have not had a "sit down" yet & will need to sort the particulars out. We'll go a lot on our gut feelings after meeting a few more. I just wondered if the guy with the 2 high priced listings is worth a call. Is it advisable to list with someone with 2 other houses so close? Any benefit or drawback?


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RE: Trying to decide on Agent

Whoever has listings in the area is good (everything else being equal) because they do know the area, unless the two houses are a fluke and the agent normally never sells there. I think you're overthinking this a bit though, and while I agree the woman who's in a hurry and won't recognize your trees for their value may not be the best person to use, I wouldn't worry quite as much about the others, who may be very good people. Every sale is different, and for different reasons, and trying to second guess every nuance of an agent's present status based on what they have for sale right now in one small area may not necessarily be the only way to go. And no, I'm not an agent, just someone who's been surprised in the past when having been proven wrong about my supposedly perfect assessment of others.


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RE: Trying to decide on Agent

Been a while since I was here.. years ago I made a question sheet -
Agent Interview Questions for sellers
- make sure you scroll down as there were more added. Edit it as you need.

My opinion - finding an agent is the pits. Most of us don't like using friends or family; some times you have to depending on what's (or who's) available.

What I used to do -
Go to realtor.com and make like you are a buyer. You put your area in, possibly surrounding areas; the price - when I did price, I left it loose - say my house was going to list for $200,000 - I put in $125,000 to $300,000. I then added bedrooms - mine was 3 with an office so I used 3+; also at least 1 1/2 baths.. you get the picture. Next look at the listings; who has the best? Do they have a virtual tour? Good photos? Do they use a good 1st picture? You wouldn't believe how many had lousy pictures as the 1st. Do they pay attention to detail like making sure there are no trash cans out or toilet seats up?

You are looking at photos - does the agent pay to advertise on realtor.com? If so, they go on my short list. If they do not, I don't bother. You want someone that is going to advertise; and if your friend/family is one of the only agents that does; then you 2 need to sit down & hash out exactly what you expect from them & what they expect from you.

As far as what you're saying; you can't worry about what other listings they have. The sellers agent, which is what you are looking for, is not usually the one to actually bring buyers in. A lot of people won't go to someone that's a dual agent.

You want the person that will get the job done.


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RE: Trying to decide on Agent

Besides the above advice, you should check out the Broker/Agent's own web site. You want one that is well done. Some require that a site viewer register with the site in order to see details on a listing. Avoid anyone who does that.

Also check out the MLS photos. More people may see them than those on Realtor.com. Some MLSs have a public section which provides as much or more detail than the commercial sites like Realtor.com. In such a case, it is much easier to search the local MLS than it is to use Realtor.com. That's where your buyers will be looking.


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RE: Trying to decide on Agent

Have you thought of asking your good friend/agent to give you a recommendation?


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RE: Trying to decide on Agent

Great suggestions! We are meeting with agent #3 this week. I've scoured websites, etc. & picked this group to interview based on that and personal references. We did not ask our friend for advice as we felt that would be uncomfortable for both of us.

Hoping to get this wrapped up & listed by July.


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RE: Trying to decide on Agent

We did not ask our friend for advice as we felt that would be uncomfortable for both of us.

If you asked your friend for a referral, he/she could collect a referral fee from the agent that you use. It could be a win/win for everyone involved. Just tell your friend that you value your friendship over any business deal, but that you value his/her advice.


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RE: re:Trying to decide on Agent

I forgot to add that your agent friend is going to find out that you moved. I don't know how you are going to avoid ever having the conversation about why you didn't use them as your listing agent. Why not get it out into the open now, perhaps benefit from their advice, and give them the opportunity to get a referral fee from another agent?


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RE: Trying to decide on Agent

Good advice Terriks --
Your friend could be a valuable resource for a) finding a good agent, b) helping you determine if that agent is doing a good job, c) 'managing' that agent if changes are appropriate, and d) holding your hand as you angst through the process.

And as Terriks pointed out -- It's not like she won't know you moved and didn't list with her. Call her up front, get the issue out on the table -- your friendship is a legitimate reason NOT to use her professionally -- and let her get a referral fee! That's a win-win.


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RE: Trying to decide on Agent

Caulk King,
As far as the value of a treed lot vs. a lot that is not... I have never seen an appraisal that has a line item for number of trees on a lot. There are things that directly add profitability to a home, and some that add marketability, but not necessarily add actual monetary value. Your treed lot is one of these factors. Buyers, especially in this market, are not going to pay a premium because of the trees. They may buy your property over the non treed lot, but they will not pay much more for it.
You say this one particular agent prices properties at a price point to ensure a sale... Isn't that what it is all about in a market like this? Sounds like to me that this agent knows her business. You see, every time she meets with a potential seller client and gives them the honest truth about what price it will take to get the home sold, she is taking a risk that the seller thinks she is just lowballing the price for a quick sale. She knows that she is taking a chance at being "outbidded" by another agent who will come in and give the seller a "better" price. It takes a much more confident, knowledgable, and honest agent to tell a seller the real price that it will take to get your property sold, than one that will "buy your listing up front", knowing darn well that price reductions will be in the future.
Choose an agent that can best answer "YES" to these three questions:

1. Can you communicate well with the agent?

2. Do you feel the agent is trustworthy? Will he/she do what is in YOUR best interest?

3. Is this person someone that shares the same values that you do? If they were not your agent, could they potentially be a fiend of yours.

The agent that has 3 "YES" answers, is the one that you should hire.


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RE: Trying to decide on Agent

Meeting with #3 today & will try to make a decision by the end of the week.

Thru much research online + some personal recommendations, we selected 3 to interview. All are good, respected realtors in the area. We will reflect on the 3 questions of ncrealestateguy above when deciding. As far as the lowball price with #1, it wasn't just that. The comps were not as good a match as the ones #2 had. Those seemed to justify the higher price he came up with.

We decided against going to our friend for advice because the issues we had threatened to ruin our friendship. We decided then that we would never put ourselves & any of our friends in that position again. I realize that there is a referral process that might have garnered them a fee, but we stuck to our plan. Yes, they will know we are listing it
and can make a decision on their own whether or not to show it.


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RE: Trying to decide on Agent

This is tougher than I expected. We like all 3 personally - would be happy to call any of them friends. #2 & #3 came in very prepared with plenty of comps & very close in list price. Not enough difference to quibble about. Both about $50K over the suggested listing price of #1 - but they have great comps to back it up - even 2 from this month.

Leaning toward experience, but then how do you get experience if people don't give you a shot? We have 2 excellent candidates. Want to decide by Friday.


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RE: Trying to decide on Agent - UPDATE

UPDATE! We went with agent #3 based on her experience, her preparation & her plan to sell. It didn't hurt that she lives close to us & knows the neighborhood very well.

We listed the house Monday 6/28 - it hit MLS Tuesday 6/29. We had 2 showings: 6/30 & 7/1. Got a very strong offer on July 2. After very little negotiation, we'll sign papers today, 7/3.

We are selling for $40K more than Agent #1's suggested list price.

There were 3 houses for sale on our street. The sales price is $25K less than one (it is overpriced - even we knew that - and has been on the market over a year) and $100K less than a MUCH bigger house that listed a few weeks before us. So agents 2 & 3 were right on the money with a good, fair list price to generate a quick sale without giving it away.

So - we'll see how it goes. Fingers crossed - but MAN-O-MAN we've got a lot to do. If all goes well, closing is set for August 6.


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