Blizzard, Home Seller in Saint Paul Park, MN

Can I fire my agent after 3 weeks?

Asked by Blizzard, Saint Paul Park, MN Sun Mar 28, 2010

My house went on the market for $274,500. My agent set the price. I aked if she was sure that was the right price and she said yes. Now after 21 days and not a single showing she wants a price reduction. She stands by her price but said if I did not have any showings in the third weekend than I need to reduce the price.I know for a fact that the market has good action. I have friends that just listed and have had numerous showings in the first 5 days. She even sends me comps that are listed 10k to 15k lower then my listed price. I have had 2 agents do a preview of my house and both said it was too high and put my house at 250k or below. How can she stand by the price and ask for a reduction in the same sentence. Now I am looking at a 25k price reduction to even get anybody to look at my house and now I look desperate to sell. Can I fire her?

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Answers

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What the agents who have responded to your question haven't mentioned is that the listing agreement is with the brokerage. If you feel you were lead down the garden path by an agent who essentially "bought" your listing by suggesting an unrealistic listing price just to get you as a client, talk to the managing broker. Explain that you've lost confidence in your agent, and ask for a new one to be assigned to your listing subject to your approval. There may be some info in the blog attached to the link below that could help in getting in a better situation this time. Good luck.

http://www.trulia.com/blog/rockinblu/2008/12/i_ve_got_my_fin…
3 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 29, 2010
Perhaps your home has better upgrades so she thinks you should be able to get that but first she needs to get people in the door. Not sure why noone has come. Without all the facts, it is difficult to say and there does seem to be some confusion. Go and view the homes on the market and see what they look like compared to yours.

We had a short sale that we prices just where it should have been. Well another agent in the same neighborhood put a ridiculously low selling price on the home down the street so we were not getting the traffic we wanted. When we lowered the price to compete, we got the price we wanted (the higher price) and it sold at that price. Crazy market right now.

So without knowing what is in your Realtors mind... too hard to say!!!
Web Reference: http://www.di4homes.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 31, 2010
My suggestion is to set up a meeting with your agent to go over everything that is in the contract and if all looks OK, then figure out why she/he priced it the way it was done. By changing agents now, you will be asked to reduce your asking price to the level your present agent is asking you to do.

You must have trusted this person when you "Hired" he/she to sell your home, so why not listen to what this person has to say.

Good luck
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 31, 2010
Blizzard,

Agents don't normally set the price I don't know why yours did. We usually do an analysis of the market and show you what has sold in your neighborhood, what is pending and what is available and how long they have been on the market. Then we help you compare features and benefits of each home against yours and ask you based on the information you have been given what you think your home should be sold for. She should have left you that analysis go back and read it to see where that number came from. I suggest you do the reduction and get it sold if that is what you want. It will not show that you are desperate just that you are motivated. Unfortunately when you chase the market down you do loose those first important days of new listing activity.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 29, 2010
What's your objective here?

If you fire your agent, are you going to hire another? If not, what are you going to do, forget about selling and go on with your life?

Or, would you hire another agent? What criteria would you use? That they like $274,500 as a price? What if they suggest $250,000? Why would it be better to have the new agent list it at $250,000 than the old agent?

These aren't rhetorical questions, they're questions that you need to have the answer for, in order to make a smart decision and get to where you want to go.

Maybe your agent believes in the home's value, but if buyers aren't buying, then it doesn't really matter - you need to price it where the buyers will snap it up.

Once you figure out what you want to do, then you can figure out a strategy for getting there.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 28, 2010
Blizzard,

I don’t think you can fire her. Read your contract. It is a contract, you know. That means that two sides agreed to it and two sides are needed to change or terminate it until it expires.

If you could fire your agent…why? Is it because you agreed to a list price that now appears to be too high? Do you think that firing your agent will increase the showings of your house and lead to a sale at the original price? I don’t think so.

I don’t know why your agent picked the original price. I don’t know why you agreed to it. (Actually, I do know why you agreed to it. You liked the idea of getting more for your house.) In any event, no showings and feedback that the house is over-priced usually mean that the price is too high.

You need a price reduction. Your agent and you may have liked the original price and your agent may still “stand by” that price – whatever that means – but the market will not pay it. Your agent realizes that fact and is suggesting a price reduction.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 28, 2010
Your agent should have educated you on the market and given you the information necessary for you to know what a good price is. There are so many things that go into a successful listing but setting the price correctly is #1 followed closely by condition and amenities as compared the homes you are competing with.

It sounds like your home was priced high. Agents will sometimes tell you what you want to hear in order to get your listing. This seems to be what may have happened. It's important to have an agent that will be brutally honest with their clients. I know I lose listings from time to time because they want to go with an agent who gives them a better listing price.

It is important for you to understand the market. You may even want to tour a couple homes that just went under contract or that are priced close to yours. See how they compare to yours and that may give you a glimpse of where you need to be.

Best of luck to you,

_______________________________________
Don Groff
REALTOR® | Mortgage Broker
Keller Williams Realty | 360 Lending Group
o 512.669.5599 m 512.633.4157
listings@dongroff.com | http://www.AustinListed.com
Web Reference: http://www.AustinListed.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 15, 2012
When an agents sets a price he or she should have made a Comparative Market Analysis to see what sold and what is for sale in that exact neighborhood. It is not too late to ask for a CMA and see if your property is overpriced. A large number of showings doesn't mean that a lot of people are interested in placing an offer. When you list a property you want to make sure you have the right price because in the end both parties want the same thing:SOLD. You should be able to have a conversation with her and ask for some explanations. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 10, 2012
You hired the listing agent, did you interview her and maybe a few more agents. How did you find her ?
Web Reference: http://mypbchomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 31, 2010
Yes sir,

It all depends on your listing agreement. A good listing agent would put your home on the market at 10 - 15 percent less than what the MLS suggest with 2 - 5 % reductions every two weeks. Ideally, if a home does not sell in a month then the price is too high. Read my blog @ http://www.sgsellsvegasblog.com or email me at shawn@sgsellsvegas.com
Web Reference: http://www.sgsellsvegas.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 31, 2010
It depends on your listing agreement confer with the executed contract.

MANY BUYERS agent might state that attempt get better deals for their clients get the seller lower price prior have a sales contract presented part of art of negotiations.

Unconfirmed unless you have all particulars reviewed comps and etc. contact your agents broker discuss all your concerns.

You can have perfect home, perfect location, perfect price have no showings.

Are there pictures in MLS how do they look, what about description, to many unknowns state an opinion

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
972-699-9111
Web Reference: http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 31, 2010
The quick answer is yes BUT....you might want to read on before you do so. More than just price is involved here.

I hope your agent showed you comparables in your area that led to the pricing of your home initially. I'm in NC but in this market, pricing your home correctly is imperative no matter where you live. Not knowing what your home offers, look at these other comparables you mentioned and ask yourself 'How does my home TRULY compare?'. What do their homes have that yours might not? Square footage, landscaping, garages, fireplaces, hardwood floors, views and location usually top the list. Is your place free of clutter and up to date or are there personal items everywhere and wallpaper from long ago? Is your home the same age, newer or older than the comps? Price is key but is not the ONLY factor.

Options: If you don't see the diference in your home and the others, you can have your agent explain to you by giving you printed photos and details showing the comps and how she came to her price, you can go to the broker in charge and explain your perception of the situation or if you still are not satisfied, you can terminate your agency contract. Make sure you read the paperwork completely and understand it. Some companies have caveats declaring they have earned their commission even if you sell through another firm.

Good Luck! Valerie Thorne, Realtor, Broker Asheville,NC email:Valerie@EcoHouserealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 31, 2010
It's hard for me to answer the question since I am in Texas and may have different rules. You may ask your local Board of REALTORS for more guidance in this issue. I don't understand why a REALTOR would price the property out of the market.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 31, 2010
fire your agent....You can always fire an agent if you feel they are not performing as they told you they would. I would contact their broker In Charge and explain the situation to that person. let them know you do not wish to continue with that agent and want a release fo your agreement.

They should do it for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 31, 2010
You can always fire your agent. From what you have said your agent has done you a disservice taking your listing and not being honest with you about the list price. Unfortunately this is done way too often and it makes all Realtors and Agents look bad because if we are not going to be truthful and honest with our clients in the first place what is the value of using our services. We work for you and y our best interests, not the other way around.

In the Austin Market I have to walk away from about 20% of my listing appointments because I will not take an overpriced listing. Last year my Team sold about 111 home in the Austin area and our average days on the market was just under 37 days. Our sold properties sold at 98% of the original listed price on average as well. I never set the listing price but I give my clients all the data they need to do so themselves.

Often times I will even take them to visit similar properties that will be their competition. This helps give them a better idea as the value of their house. Your house is your pride and joy. Most people have lots of great memories but you need to remember that when your house goes on the market it is a commodity.

Many Agents will take a listing just to get one and they know that the sellers will eventually reduce the price over time and hopefully it will sell. Agents who do this are doing you such an injustice because at that point you have already lost your opportunity to maximize the sales price of your home. You only get once chance to make a fantastic first impression and pricing correctly is the #1 thing you can do. People want a good value in this market. It's a buyers market and there is a lot of inventory. You want to be priced in the top 10% of your competition and in the best condition.

Here is an example of a listing I had to walk away from. About a year ago I went on a listing appointment in Lakeway, Texas just outside of Austin. The home was beautiful and after my listing presentation we discussed the ranges the home should be priced in. My clients wanted to list their home at $1.2 mission but from the information I was showing them their home needed to be priced around $950,000. Because of this I told them I could not take their listing. They ended up listing with another Agent at $1.2m. After many price reductions the home eventually reached $950,000 about 250 days later. That is a long time on the market and unfortunately the market had shifted further and even at $950,000 the home was not selling.

Because the home was not priced correctly at the beginning the sellers lost the best opportunity to keep as much of their equity as possible. In the end the home sold after 302 days on the market for $890,000. I am confident that if they priced the home at my suggestion they would have been able to sell much faster and at a price much closer to the $950,000 I had told them.

Granted this is a more expensive home than what I normally deal with but the story holds true at all price points. Price your home correctly, stage and prepare it to show in its best possible light and it will sell for top dollar in the shortest amount of time. Price too high and it will sit and you will be chasing the market all the way down.

Now if the market is rising it can be safe to price a little above market because the market will eventually catch up. You can price like this in a sellers market and have good success and also maximize your equity retention. But pricing like that in a sellers market will end up costing you thousands of your hard earned dollars.

Wish you the best of luck and although you are not in my area please feel free to contact me with any questions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 31, 2010
You've got other good answers about whether you're able to "fire" her.

What I'm confused about is her strategy. On the one hand, you say she suggested the higher price and "she stands by her price." OK. No showings in 3 weeks, and she's probably wrong. It's probably priced too high. Still, you say "she stands by her price."

You've seen comps showing lower prices, and two previewing agents said it was priced too high. Agreed, it probably is. So, again, why is she "standing by her price"?

On the other hand, it doesn't sound as if she's standing by her price. You say she'd said that if you had no showings then "I need to reduce the price." She's sending you comps showing a lower price. You say she's asking "for a reduction."

I think there's some miscommunication here. Either she's telling you: "$274,500 is a good price and I think you ought to keep it there" or she's telling you "$274,500 is priced too high, and I think you ought to reduce it." She can't be telling you both things.

So, talk to her. Ask her: "Based on the input you've received thus far and the lack of showings, where should my home be priced so I can reasonably expect to receive offers and have a good chance of selling the property within 60 days?" Use that exact, precise language. If she suggests a number, fine. If not, say: "I'm looking for a specific number. Please give me a specific number."

Then, when she does (if she does), you respond: "If I am understanding you correctly, you are saying that if my home is priced at $____________ that I have a good chance of selling my home within 60 days?" If the answer is "yes," then at least you have a real number. And, from your question, it's apparent you have a good idea of what that number ought to be.

Then you can make a decision about whether you want to continue with that agent or whether you'd feel more comfortable with another agent.

One other note: In your situation, at $25,000 price reduction won't make you look desperate to sell. Many agents who look at the price reduction will react along the lines of: "Those sellers apparently were a bit greedy to begin with. But now they've seen the light, and priced their home competitive. Now when I have a client looking for a reasonably priced home, I can include this one on the list." (I know it wasn't you being greedy to begin with; I'm just telling you how many agents will react. Still, they'll be pleased that your home is now competitively priced. It'll give them another one that they can present to their buyers.)

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 31, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
MVP'08
Contact
Blizzard! In our office, our duty is to the client (home owner). We keep your best interests at heart. If you're seriously not creating good chemistry between you and your agent, perhaps your listing can be referred to another agent in the office.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 31, 2010
It depends on your Listing agreement, if you believe the price is too high then you can give her a chance to adjust it rather than giving it to another agent with a reduced price. You chose the agent and you should give her a chance. However if you do not feel the synergy with her then ask her to release you from the listing.
Web Reference: http://mypbchomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 31, 2010
Can you fire your agent? It depends on your listing contract, read it again, carefully. Communication is the best way to resolve issues when they come up, have a talk with your agent and go over the comps together. Did you review the comps with your agent when you listed at $274,500? Buyers' first priority is getting a fair price for a home, they will give more attention to a correctly priced home than to whether or not you look desperate. Determine the correct listing price and move forward.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 31, 2010
Blizzard - Yes you can fire your agent if you'd like. Then what?

You said, "She even sends me comps that are listed 10k to 15k lower then my listed price. "
Based on those comps, are you competitively priced?
Remember that "Listed properties" aren't "SOLD"
What about properties that have sold within the past 3 months in your area?
How does your home compare to those properties?

I see 43 properties that are listed in Washington County, MN through HomePath. They offer 3.5% concession toward appliances and/or cliosing costs which can include discount points paid at closing to BUYDOWN a Buyer's interest rate and payment. What incentives are you offering to make your home stand out among the competition? If you offered a 2% start rate for qualified Buyers do you suppose that might peak some interest?

Think outside the box.
Good luck with the sale of your home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 31, 2010
There can be a number of reasons why you are not getting showing activity on your home
Do you have a for sale sign outside?
Are you offering an attractive buyers agent commission or a discounted commission?
Does your home have curb appeal?
Do you have a lockbox on your home for easy showings or is it by appointment only?
Does your listing have multiple photos?
All of these are must haves to ensure multiple showings.By changing agents so early in the game you are going to appear to the real estate community as a difficult seller. I'd suggest that you sit down with your agent review a marketing plan, ask where your home is being promoted, advertised, is it syndicated on all the major real estate websites, & schedule an open house as soon as possible before lowering your price
If you do all of this & get feedback from buyers not agents indicating the price is too high, then consider a price adjustment. It is no big deal to adjust a price after a month it will just show your market that you are motivated to sell. Lastly, don't discuss or ever question your agents ability with other agents it will just make both of you look bad & give them something to gossip about..Trust your agent & give her a chance
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 31, 2010
Depends on what your listing contract says. Whatever it says, sit down and have a heart to heart conversation with your Realtor. Communication is key to any relationship.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 31, 2010
"When you point our finger at someone you have three pointing back at you." Talk to your agent. Your home is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Would you rather your agent didn't go after top dollar for your home? Exercise some patience and I bet your DOM is not higher than your neighborhood DOM; again talk to your agent. Did your friends places Sell?? If you feel it's listed to high then drop the price.
Web Reference: http://www.housefitz.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 29, 2010
B
The biggest issue between Realtors and clients is "unmet expectations".

Things for you to think about:
1. Why did you hire this Realtor? Best marketing plan? Best understanding of your situation so you believed they would do the best job for you? Or the highest price?
2. What did they tell you to expect?
The key to getting a property sold is SHOWINGS. You need to have Realtors show your home to buyers because we know that 90% of the time if there are no showings, there will be no offers. OTOH, if you have showings and no offers, the same rule applies..lots of showings and no offers indicates a pricing problem.
What do we mean by Showings and Offers? 10-12 showings or one offer in the first two weeks, or reduce the price by 5%.
3. What did your Realtor tell you would happen if the marketing they were going to do did not achieve the desired results?
When we write a listing contract, I need to understand the seller's timeline. For most sellers who are selling during spring market, that means that they need to be in escrow by the end of April, allowing two months to close, that means at the end of June or beginning of July they can move to their new home, once the kids are out of school.

So if a listing is on the market , it is not only pricing, marketing, showings, and offers, but TIME. My job, as the listing agent, is to also meet my seller's schedule, so when we talk about the sale, we agree on what it will take to sell a home BY THE TIME the seller needs it sold.

Firing your Realtor:
1. If you agreed on a timetable by which you need the home sold....
2. If you made it clear to them that you have no alternative, they need to get it sold by that date or else...
3. I would give your Realtor two weeks to sell home. If they have been asking for a price reduction, and you don't allow it, then you are part of the problem. But some Realtors do not know how to ask for a price reduction.
Note: I would ask your Realtor to give you a list of homes that have sold since your home hit the market. The question to ask them is this: If these other homes are selling, why isn't mine?

Then you tell them "I hired you to sell my home by (date) so I can move. You have had the listing for X weeks and it's not sold. I will give you ten days to either get me an offer or I'll have to find someone who can."

Yes, the listing is technically the brokers. Personally I would go back to the other two Realtor with whom you spoke (you can contact them, they cannot contact you), and ask them for an updated analysis of your situation and a proposal on how they can sell your home in the timeframe you need.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 29, 2010
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
MVP'08
Contact
You should have a meeting with your agent, and let her know how you feel. Give her a chance to remedy the situation. Pricing a home is not perfect, nor exact. If you want to sell your home do the price reduction she now recommends.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 29, 2010
And, it should be said that we are not attorneys. If you have contractual questions, an attorney would be the best person to offer advice on such a topic.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 29, 2010
The real estate contracts are constructed in such a way that they can be canceled by written consent of the parties. So, if you do feel strongly that your agent has not been promoting your property the way they needed to in order to generate showings, then you may have a legitimate gripe.

The agent may think your house is worth more than what the market indicates in your area. But, pricing is the seller's decision, not the agent's. This is a classic illustration of why agents should not mislead sellers in to thinking their house is worth more than it is just to get the seller to sign the contract with them. If there are no buyers out there willing to pay the higher price (sometimes there are), then it's a recipe for disaster.

That said, this is a volatile market right now, constantly changing. Agents are not magicians and it sounds like it should have been shared with you up front that this price was a long shot.

My suggestion, see if you can work it out with the current agent. Thing is, even if you list with another agent at a lower price, all agents will be able to see this other listing anyway. We'll know you had it listed recently at a higher price and have now become more realistic. You still have negotiating power once an offer comes to you. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 29, 2010
You certainly can request a elease from your contract and do it in writing. It will be better if done before any showings actaully take place. You need a current broker sprice oppinion and nee dto base your asking price on that, If comps are 10 to 15k lower than you already know you are overpriced and know what you will need to do. A price drop of that size may actually attract buyers agent to look at your listing and send the information to their buyers. good luck with your sale, i hope you are able to get things to work out
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 29, 2010
Pricing is not an exact science. Any appraiser will tell you that fair market value can easily encompass a 10-15% range. That coupled with a slower market in many areas of the Twin Cities makes it tough to price.

It's a moving target.

If you are being told the price is too high and you have no showings then the market has spoken. You haven't lost $25,000 as the house was priced too high. The question is whether your agent has been doing the marketing she promised. Otherwise, you have a contract and firing someone requires cause.

Why not just do the price reduction and see how the property does at the new price. Now if she has not fulfilled her marketing promises, well that might be another matter. Otherwise give her a chance at the new price.

You do have a binding contract. Unless there is an escape clause or she agrees to voluntarily let you go.

Steele
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 28, 2010
That is a negotiation between you and your agent. Mainly, look at your contract (listing contract) and talk to her. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 28, 2010
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