Home Selling in Abington>Question Details

Deborah Jones, Home Seller in Abington, PA

I am selling my home with the help of a discount broker. While I routinely receive requests from agents to

Asked by Deborah Jones, Abington, PA Tue Jul 1, 2008

show my house, and subsequently get great feedback, I have yet to receive an offer. Personally, I believe that agents steer their buyers away from listings such as mine for various reasons, but obviously I can't be sure. Is there any truth to this?

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Hi Deborah,

You have already received some good answers to your questions; however, having listed and sold a home close to you AND having brought many buyers through homes like yours, I thought I would offer my opinion.

First and foremost, I believe your home is over-priced. Seven of the nine most recently sold homes near you have sold for below $250,000. The two that sold for more were larger or completely remodeled; but even with those big differences, they only sold for between $250,000 and $260,000. The mere fact that the majority of the “comps” have sold for below $250,000 tells me that you need to be priced AT LEAST just under $250,000 in order to attract the buyers who will ultimately buy your home. Buyers normally search for homes in price increments of $50,000, which means the buyers seeing your home are shopping in the $250,000 to $300,000 range. Not only does that put you up against some serious competition, it also means that you’re missing your target market !

Furthermore, you said that the agents who have shown your home have given only positive feedback; and I think I know why. Agents like to deal with other agents. It is far easier to tell an agent that their listing is over-priced, needs work, smells, whatever…than to tell the homeowner. No agent wants to over-step boundaries or be considered rude, so my guess is that the feedback you are receiving is being filtered by politeness. If you have not received one piece of constructive criticism, then I think this could very well be the case. One way to overcome this would be to have someone other than you call the showing agents for feedback.

Finally, although your offered commission is in line with other listings, the majority of the “comps” offered more. I personally don’t let a commission prevent a sale, but unfortunately there are agents out there who will show the higher commission homes first. In this market, buyer’s agents are working very hard to get buyers off the fence and are showing triple the amount of homes to the average buyer. Although a reduced commission was justifiable during the boom, our current market makes a healthy commission a marketing essential.

Oh, and one more thing…I would change your listing’s photos. I haven’t been in your house, but the pictures are awkward and certainly don’t highlight any of your selling points. With the amount of competition you are facing, your pictures should draw the buyers in!

I wish you luck with the sale of your home.

Susan Meyers
Web Reference: http://www.susanmeyers.net
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
It would be nice to think that agents are not steering clients away from your listing, but here is a reality check. You didn't say how much you are offering to the agent who brings the buyer. Some buyers agents will show any home to their clients, but their buyers agency agreement may specify the minimum commission they will accept. If you are not meeting their minimum, then the buyers may be electing not to make an offer because they would have to pay part of the commission.

The reason that commissions have been traditionally paid by the buyer is that (at least in most markets) there tends to be enough money available from the proceeds of the sale to cover commissions. Buyers are often strapped for cash and don't have enough reserves to pay for commission on top of their down payment and other up front costs.

When I show a buyer a home that does not meet my minimum requirement for commission on a transaction then I suggest that the buyer write an offer that asks the seller to pay the commission that our agency agreement calls for.

If you home is priced based on comps that include mostly listings from full service brokerages, then the price already includes the commission. If your home does not include the commission, then it should be priced lower than the other homes.

It is fine for an agent to discount his commission, but it is not fine for him to tell me what I must accept. If he is not willing to pay my commission, then the buyer has to consider this in their offer, just as they would include the cost of repairs that the seller is not willing to make. IT IS ALL ABOUT THE BOTTOM LINE.

If this seems unfair or unethical to you then consider this situation: How many agents do you think would be showing your home if you offered 0% commission to the buyer's agent? It is just a matter of degrees. Sorry, but I am planning to be in the business for a long time, so if you expect me to work for less than I would make flipping burgers, then you have to understand if my clients choose not to pay out of their pockets to make up the difference.

If you are offering a decent commission (note that I didn't specify how much) then all of the good answers you got earlier are right on. Patience, condition, the right price, and the help of a good agent, will get you the result you want.

Good Luck on the sale of your home!

Eileen Musser, EcoBroker, ePro, Realtor
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
Let's be candid. You selected a discount broker for a reason, so save money, right?
Along with that also comes a level of service and expertise. A limited amount of it I might point out.
So now you are asking people that
a) don't know your situation
b) don't know your property
c) don't know your market

So you are asking us to tell you what is wrong, why your home is not selling, and to be frank with you, we cannot tell you. We can offer guesses, but that is all.

You might be interested to know that I conduct a quarterly MLS survey of the performance of MLS entry only brokers, discount brokers, and full service brokers.
This is what I find consistently:
1. Homes listed by MLS entry only and discount brokers fail to sell 33% more often.
2. Homes listed and sold by MLS entry only and discount brokers sell for 2.6% LESS than full service brokers.
3. Homes listed and sold take longer to sell.

So your assumption that Realtors steer clients away from homes listed by MLS entry only or discount brokers is true, but not because they are listed by these brokers. They are typically listings that do not project enough value to be worth showing. The easiest way to add value is to lower the price, although there are probably 20 other things you could do, but in most cases I would say lowering your price is your only option...which explains that you basically are getting what you paid for.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
I would say that they are possibly avoiding your home for 2 reasons. 1) The buyers agent will have to do the same work with less commission. 2) Usually the sellers are present at the showings which does not allow the buyer to feel they can really look at the home - they feel rushed. Let me know if that helps. Another 50 reasons would be price.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 9, 2008
Sorry, I missed the earlier post about the commission you are offering. It sounds as if you are doing the right things.

It is impossible to guess what has kept the buyers from making offers. Just remember it only takes one! Somebody will walk in and the chemistry will be just right. Don't be surprised if you get two offers at once. Time after time I see a home sitting for weeks without an offer. Then when one person decides they can;t live without it you suddenly have interest from someone else.

If I were you, I would take a tour of as many of the competing homes as you can get in to. (your agent may be able to help you) Look around to see how yours compares. When you see that some of those have sold, make a mental note of what you think might have made a buyer select those homes over yours. A horse race is won by a nose, and so far somebody else is nosing you out.

I do hope you have success very soon. It's frustrating to feel that you are doing all the right things and still not getting the results you want.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008

Rest assured that regardless of what brokerage you employ, the Buyer ultimately decides what properties they would like to see. With access to the internet and sites like Realtor.com, it would be very difficult to "steer" their clients. However, since most Realtors are full-time professionals, they may be inclined to show homes that better meet their clients' needs, especially since we preview several homes a day either through a broker's tour or with other clients.

As for offers, be patient. This market is challenging, but if your home is priced right and shows well, sooner than later you will hopefully receive an offer.

If you are dissatisfied with the services being rendered to you, you should perhaps reevaluate your choice of brokerage and begin researching a firm that will provide you the professional representation that you seek. Good luck!
Web Reference: http://GMACproperties.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
Deborah, I am sure it probably doesn't have anything to do with that. You are getting showings, so the agents are trying. It is usually the price.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 25, 2008
Dear Deborah Jo:

I have been in real estate for 20 years and can honestly say that I don't know a single agent who would hesitate to show a home listed with a discount broker. I assume that your home is in the multiple listing service and that you are offering to pay a commission to a buyer's agent.

We are in a market right now where things are selling - but buyers are taking their time and looking at everything that is on the market. Believe me, most agents would not discourage their buyers from buying your (or any other) home.

You did not mention how long your home has been on the market. My 5 most recent lisitngs have taken anywhere from 1 to 112 days to procure a buyer. Don't get discouraged. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 25, 2008
Deborah, if the agents are showing the property, there is something more here than any kind of unwillingness to deal with a discount broker. I'd look into the price.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 23, 2008
Geez you guys give wordy answers. Hey Deborah, what you're doing isn't working.

Change your thinking. It's a fiercely competitive market. Hire somebody to help you. There are House Stagers to make your house look better. PR people to get the word out. Or Realtors who can help do it all.

It;s sad but "it takes a village" to get a house sold these days! Best of luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 22, 2008
Is your discount broker properly representing your home on line? This is what it is all about. not just their personal company web site but everywhere. Can you google your address, and find a full color flyer with at least 6 pictures of your property? can you do the same with yahoo? It your property on Trulia, Zillow, Active Rain, and many others? IF your answer is no, than your discount broker will be not really saving you money, but extending your days on the market, which of course includes price reductions.

Is it human nature for a Realtor to show the 3% listings before those that are less? Sure. As a Realtor though, we can not - NOT show any home to our buyer because of a lower commisison. But those that are offering more, do tend to get shown more often.
Your realtor should be giving you a written feedback report on a regular basis. You should be able to react to the feedback to improve your listing, as opposed to simply reducing the price. Should you need a good realtor in the area, please feel free to call. Don Bradbury http://www.bradburyteam.com 215-536-6777 x 329
Web Reference: http://www.bradburyteam.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 9, 2008
My home looks great, Chris. We are really big on all those home shows on TLC so we've got the staging done in every room. We do have a dog, but because we're also clean freaks, you wouldn't know it walking in the door. We have asked the agents to be really blunt and it's kind of embarrassing trying to pry information out of them, but we're not sensitive. We need to know if there's something that we can do better. Most agents have said the house doesn't need anything - the only thing we were told was to make sure an agent shows our home last in their list of showings. Because the house shows so wonderfully, they think it may get lost in the shuffle of other homes. I think maybe the photos we use could use a little tweaking here and there (we're not professional photographers) but we're always told the house shows better than it looks in the photos. The area around our home is always freshly mowed, neat and clean. That's why I'm at a loss. We even had an agent tell us 2 weeks ago that their buyer loved the house and was just a little hampered by the fact that she had to sell hers first before they would be able to buy ours. I encouraged her to put in a formal offer with a contingency clause - anything not to lose the sale. But since then even she's been strangely quiet. I'm at a loss at this point.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
I have to ask! How does your home look, really? Have you staged the home properly? If you have animals, can someone walking in smell urine or other odors? The home may be nice but agents are not going to be blunt unless you ask, are you getting the assistance you really need to sell your home, remember you only get 1 chance for the first impression!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
As I stated in my response further down, I am offering an average commission for our area, 2.5 to 3%. I'm pretty sure the commission isn't the issue, or we wouldn't be getting any interest at all. I actually had an agent grill me on why I'm using the brokerage that I am using as opposed to using a traditional agent, that's what made me start to wonder if many agents are just fundamentally against the idea of a discount broker. It's clearly stated in my MLS listing and realtor.com listing that I am more than willing to pay a buyer's agent his just due, so I'm pretty sure that's not the issue. But I will make more of a concerted effort to find out why my home was not chosen after we repeatedly get rave reviews. Thanks everyone for your responses, more than helpful!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
The feedback that I'm getting is coming directly from the agents who showed the home to their buyers. I have had several tell me that the home is priced right, showed well. Haven't gotten any negative feedback whatsoever, despite practically begging for this information. What I haven't done is ask for feedback regarding what made the buyers eventually buy other homes rather than mine, that's something I'll begin to do. The commission that I am paying is average for this area - 2.5 - 3%.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
How are you getting the feedback? is it from your listing agent or is it direct from the horses mouth? I believe feedback is golden in this market. if you are getting the showings your are priced right or near right. What is it that makes the buyers want any other home rather than your home?
Is there some incentive that your competition has that you don't? are you willing to pay an acceptable commission to the buyers agent?
are there any exterior factors that would deter buyers(location, parking, neighbors, etc)?
The buyers make the final decision on which home they choose, if the agent is bringing them to see your home there is a good chance they asked to see it.
I have sold quite a few homes in the abington area and I know first hand that there are many different "abingtons" around you.
Full service agents usually pay for themselves in the end by exposing you to more buyers and potentially better offers, or an offer for you, resulting in a better net proceed for you.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
Although there may be a few out there that do that, I'd say that the reason your home isn't selling probably is that the price isn't quite right, especially if you are having showings. Have your agent do a CMA for you (if this is a service that they provide). Look at the homes in your area with applicaple comps that have sold recently. That should give you some idea of what your home should be listed at. I'm not sure what the market is like in your area, but if you're in a depreciating market, you'll need to adjust your price monthly for the decline in home values. If your agent doesn't offer that type of service to you, call an appraiser in your area and ask some questions about the market you're in. You might want to ask (or have your agent ask) what each agent thought of the condition and pricing of the home after each showing. Ask more specific questions and you'll probably get more useful information. Hang in there and stay on top of the pricing in the market. Pricing is everything. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
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