Home Selling in San Jose>Question Details

Sonia, Renter in San Jose, CA

Our realtor has not been responsive to our needs and our listing agreement is expiring soon. Should we change realtors?

Asked by Sonia, San Jose, CA Wed Oct 17, 2012

Our house has been on the market for 2 1/2 months. We have lowered the price twice. We have done many things at great expense to make our house marketable. New paint (interior/exterior), remodeled kitchen/baths, hardwood floors refinished, new landscaping. Our realtor has not been responsive from the beginning, taking a week to upload pictures of the house to MLS listings once the house was already listed. Being extremely slow in changing things on the flyer that we requested, not keeping the flyer box full, missing open houses, etc. The pictures that were put up were of low quality and do not represent our house well at all. We have been very quick to respond to anything that has been asked of us. Our house can be shown anytime, as it is empty (no lost showing opportunites). We would hate to change realtors if our current realtor was doing all he/she can, but we get the feeling that is not the case. Is it just the market right now, or do other realtors offer more services?

Help the community by answering this question:


Absolutely if you're Realtor is not being responsive and you're unhappy with their service why would you possibly stay with them and in effect reward them for poor service.

What you should be looking for in a Realtor is one that is responsive, and has a strong Internet presence. You should be able to Google them and find them easily and when you look on sites such as Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, etc you should immediately find them and their listings should be prominently displayed. (Here's a clue it costs money and the majority of agents working think real estate is a low overhead business) They should be using a professional photographer to take pictures as this is the single most important piece of any successful marketing campaign.

Don't be afraid to ask agents your interviewing to tell you how many closing they've had in the last 12 months (if it's less than 15, keep looking and it really should be in the range of 30 or more) then ask how many were their listings as opposed to buyers and finally ask them to show you written evidence of this. (Any decent agent can quickly print out a sheet from their MLS showing this to you)

It sounds like you got a Dud and it's time to move on.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 21, 2012
Every real estate professional on Trulia will CRINGE when they read your question. Never, can we imagine ourselves on the other end of this story. All of us would, without exception, make you dance with joy of the level of service and responsiveness to your every direction. The truth, however, is quite different.
First, before anyone responds, would it not be beneficial to know exactly what you are selling? For instance, sprinkled about the Tampa Bay area are a few octagonal home and even a few log cabins. I'm sure they are each and every one 'tricked out' to the max, but there will still be few buyers and for these homes to remain on the market for extended periods of time is very predictable UNLESS the seller is willing to 'take it squarely on the chin' and sacrifice their equity on the alter of expediency..
Some homes are priced at the +3 Million segment. These homes are also unlikely to sell in 90 days.
Your real estate professional shared with you data regarding area sales at various price points and sales of comparable homes in a variety of areas similar and competing with your home. Until these numbers are shared, making judgement is a reckless behavior. Based on the data provided, one can not judge if your home is a 90 day sale or a 48 month sale.
Often I have worked with home sellers who knew they knew more about marketing their home than I did. Following their comprehensive instruction resulted in a aged listing and a disillusioned seller, much like yourself. Fortunately, the seller(s) would ask, "What's wrong this this marketing strategy?"

At that time we reviewed the exact same data shared at the time the listing agreement was signed. "Remember," I ask, "when I shared with you that of the 6,000 inquirers for home for sale in the Tampa Bay ares that more than 2,000 originated from California?"

"Well, yes, I do recall, but my home is in Florida. What has that to do with this conversation?"

Sharing the conduit for this disproportional interest brought to the seller an understanding that marketing a quality home is more than:
1. Entry into the MLS,
2. a sign in the yard.
3. open houses,
4. flyers and
5. a pray or two.

Marketing IS knowing the market:
A. Who is buying
B. What are they buying,
C. at what price,
D. Where are they located,
E. How can they be reached
D. How to get these buyers to take action and
F. How to leverage your homes assets to establish the context in which your home will be discussed.

If your existing agent is unable to express comprehensive knowledge regarding these issues, perhaps a change is merited. If, however, you have been micro managing the marketing of your home, there may be a completely different and perhaps better solution than placing blame on your agent.
Have a chat with your agent. Remember when you first met, your agent shared, "There are two outcomes to this meeting, you choose NOT to do business with me or you do choose to do business with me, which ever you choose we will shake hands and be friends." Give everyone the opportunity to remain friends.

Best of success,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group

First Look: http://youtu.be/PumYpkgybXE
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 21, 2012
Definitely If you are not happy with the way that your realtor is conducting the sale of your house, make a change. Start interviewing a few real estate agents and find out exactly what they will do to sell your property. Now that you have experienced, you can ask better questions and hire a realtor with new marketing skills.

Best of Luck,

Maria Cipollone

1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 21, 2012
If your Realtor is not being responsive and you feel he/she is not doing all they can. Than you certainly should switch agents. It is like anything else you hire someone to do if you don't think they are putting there full effort into it you need to let them go. Two and a half month is not too long for a home to be on go unsold in this market however you need to feel like you can trust your agent to do everything in there power to sell your home. I think it would be best to have a direct talk with the agent if you haven't already, see if he changes in the next couple weeks and if not switch agents.

Zack King
Keller Williams Estates Calabasas
(818) 825-7388
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 30, 2013
It sounds like an easy decision. Go with your gut feeling. You are going to pay money for these services, so why would you pay for service that you're not happy with. If you don't feel good about the situation, which by your story it definitely seems like you're not happy, then make the change. Find the right Realtor and they will work hard for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 29, 2013
Given what you're saying, it's a no-brainer. There plenty of Realtors that will provide stronger service skills. In this market, unless you're priced way too high, your home should have sold. It's a seller's market in most areas of California.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 13, 2013
Hi Cally, I am looking for a follow up from you as to how it went. Did you select another Realtor or stay with your original Realtor? Did your home ever sell and are you happy with the price? Inventory in the Bay Area is extremely low right now with most homes receiving multiple offers. If you didn't sell back in 2012, now is a great time. Contact me for a current CMA.
Kind regards ~ Andrea Wince ~ RE eBroker Inc. ~ Lic. 01439761
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 13, 2013
I would like to thank everyone for their replies so far; it has all been very helpful to us. I especially appreciate those who have given us tips on looking for another realtor in the future. I wish we had known some of these tips earlier; it would have saved us a lot of grief.

I would also like to respond to a few questions some have asked regarding our particular situation - a little more information, if you will, but still keeping this anonymous, for our realtor's sake. Our house is not very unique in any way that might turn buyers off (oddly shaped or a log cabin..., as Annette had mentioned). It is in a very well maintained, beautiful neighborhood, quiet tree lined street, close to good schools, etc. and our house is one of the most attractive on our street. Our realtor also initially told us our house should sell in less than 2 weeks.

The other bit of information regarding lowering our price.... Initially, our realtor sat down with us, showed us the CMA, etc, and praised our house for our recent remodeling and told us what he thought it would sell for. Then, a month later, once we had done some landscaping and other improvements, and moved out, had it professionally cleaned and put it on the market, he then asked us to lower the original estimate he gave us by $50,000 - $80,000. So, we were a little dissappointed because some of the improvements we had done were based on the original selling estimate he provided to us. He said another house had come on the market on the next street (which he admitted was priced way below market), but he still told us we had to compete with it and lower our price. We did lower it based on his advice, but we lowered it by less than he suggested, part of which, was due to his own first estimate he gave us, where he showed us comps in our own neighborhood which had very recently sold for the higher price. To answer Kaylyn's question, the reason we have been on the fence about changing realtors is not so much due to the fact that there is something we like about our current realtor (other that the fact that he seems like a very nice person); it has more to do with the ethical part of the equation. We would just feel bad switching, I guess. We have had these conversations with him about what we're not happy with....many times, and he says he will do better - he just does not deliver.

Currently, we have two buyers who are extremely interested and are looking at the seller's disclosure and our inspection reports. If we don't get an offer out of these buyers, then we are definitely going with another realtor, when our leasing contract exires at the end of the month. Thanks again, to everyone for their advice! I sincerely appreciate it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 23, 2012
It would suggest to me based on the information you provided that you might have a less responsive and slow agent as you yourself mention as well as a home listed too high in price. The real estate market has been very active the last 2-3 months with most homes selling around or above asking which suggest your house to be overpriced if you haven't been sold it yet in this market. One reason I say this is that you mention the house is vacant (and open to buyers 24/7) which means there is no lack of buyers viewing your home.

I highly suggest you run another comparable limiting the homes to the same bedroom, bathroom, and in only the same neighborhood, subdivision, or cul-de-sac, whichever may be the case. There are neighborhoods where just across the street the same size homes are selling for @ $250K more or less, depending on which side you're on, and having these homes in the same comparable can be quite deceiving.

Hope that helps.

Good luck!
Flag Fri Nov 9, 2012
We are sorry to hear about your real estate agent experience.

Our team always recommend interviewing three agents/agent team's to find one who will be a good fit. A team that will provide you with the guidance and representation you deserve.
Moreover you want to find an agent team with a proven track record, that has experience in your community and will be attentive to all your needs, treating your sale with the utmost care. We have provided a web reference of 10 questions you should ask Realtor teams you are interviewing.

We would hope the agent you have will be proactive and very responsive to any questions or concerns you may have and make selling your home a pleasurable and successful experience.

Good luck and Happy House Selling!


Eric Boyenga
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 22, 2012
The biggest thing your Realtor should do for you is to help you negotiate. The seller's agent is going to help out their client as much as possible, and therefore, will try to get them top dollar for the home.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 22, 2012
One thing to add - you don't have to wait for the contract to expire. You should be able to cancel the listing contract at any time. Well, it is easier with some brokerages than with the others but you should be able to find a way to sign a release form. Definitely look for a new agent if you are dissatisfied.

On another hand, by the way your agent is treating the sale it seems to me that they don't believe the house will sell. How realistic are your expectations for the sale process and for the sale overall?
Web Reference: http://talisrealestate.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 21, 2012
The next one won't be, either.

Relationships are a two-way street, and if you are thinking that the next agent will do a better job - they'll do some things better, and some things worse.

If you had taken the initiative and told the first agent that you wanted better/more (whatever), you could have determined their capacity. To go to another agent is easy, but it doesn't relieve you of the obligation to tell them what you want.

The short story - if you don't tell people what you want, you're not likely to get it.

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 21, 2012
In my opinion, you need to be having this conversation with your current Realtor. If you are not happy with their services then yes, find somebody else after the current contract expires. Good luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 21, 2012
Hey Cally,

You need to have the same conversation with him/her that you just had with us, point by point. Don't skip anything. It won't be easy but the answers you receive will give you a pretty good indication whether you want to continue your business relationship with that person.

Best of luck!

Barbara Grandolfo
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 21, 2012
Annette gave the best answer so I won’t even try to compete. So here is my answer short & sweet go ahead & change agents. When I market one of my own properties I have been seeing them sell with multiple offers by doing the simple things: stick a sign in the yard with flyers, post it on the MLS and most importantly price it a little below the market average for the area and have it in tip top shape. Every Realtor® in the world can make statements about their personal proven marketing plan but selling a home is competitive, you compete with the others around you & with the level of internet information available play the game to win and PRICE is the biggest factor.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 21, 2012
of course, it sounds like it is a time to interview other realtors. good realtors should be able to provide all the services you need to get your home sold and answers to your questions. At given seller's market, you should be able to sell your house rather quickly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 21, 2012
I think that since you are on the fence about changing Realtors that indicates there is something you like about your current one. And if there is more to the story and you do enjoy having this person as your agent but they just need to do a better job, then I would suggest letting them know how you feel. It gives them the chance to improve and make things right. Tell them that you will be forced to change agents if they cannot get better.

I personally would suggest you leave this agent and find a new one that would better fit your needs, but again I feel that since you are hesitating there is more to the story and if there is then don't feel bad to give them the "talk". Just make sure whatever you do the end result is you feeling comfortable with your decision, and well on your way to getting your home sold!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 21, 2012
Dear Cally,

I would be happy to provide you a CMA - Comparable Market Analysis- again if you need a current one.
Best wishes,

Lamson Dang
R.E. Broker
Web Reference: http://lamsondang.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 20, 2012
I'd sold my house in June 2012 without any flyers or for sale sign posted at my front yard. My agent just needed to post pictures on the web and we received offers within a week.
You may just need to adjust the price along with the market. I think location is the main factor to sell your house. I'm looking to buy another house. If you can, please show me your house on mls listing. Thanks.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 18, 2012
I give you credit for doing as much as you've described. If your current list price is truly in line with market comps, then something is wrong. It makes sense to invite a couple of prospective new Realtors in.

If your price, after two price reductions, your home is still above market comparables, then the lack of a sale is not your agent's fault.

That said, the poor service your described would be reason enough to search out someone new. I encourage you to invite 2-3 agents to your home, ask them what they think the list price should be, and what they would offer to get a better result.

Wishing you success.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 17, 2012
As a San Jose expert in today's current market, many homes are selling without the benefit of
excellent photos and marketing, so it could be that your home is not priced correctly or
represented correctly. Is your home presentable? Do you have a full service contract with your
realtor, or are they discounting their services. There may be many variables involved. My experience in listing San Jose homes has been when priced correctly, we are receiving multiple offers over asking.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 17, 2012
Is your home now priced right for the market??? 2.5 months is not really that long but if your agent is not responding to your needs I suggest you sat down and have a very serious conversation about your expectations. Then if the agent won't commit to meeting your expectations you should interview for a new agent after your current listing agreement expires.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 17, 2012
Realistically, this is a two-way street:
You LISTED the house at too-high of a LISTING PRICE; was this because you did not listen to your Realtor. This has been my experience, many times.
Now that you have lower the price, twice, the buyers are asking what is wrong woth the place.
You may have a great looking place, upgraded and with great curb-appeal, and if the LISTING PRICE is too high, the buyers will not put it on their list to see. FACT!

Have your Realtor do a new CMA, (new or old) and price it accordingly.
It matters not what YOU think your house is worth; the only opinion that matters is the Buyer's opinion: If you cannot accept this, then you are not committed to selling.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 17, 2012
I don't know much about the SJ market norms, but 2.5 months doesn't seem a very long time. If, however, you're agent is not meeting your needs, that's a different story. Best of luck...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 17, 2012
If you are not happy with your realtor, I would highly suggest finding a new one. One whom you can trust and who is in constant communication.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 17, 2012
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