Home Selling in Tenafly>Question Details

Lillie, Home Seller in 07670

We have withdrawn our house from the market and plan to re-list it after the holidays. What questions should we be asking the new agents we interview?

Asked by Lillie, 07670 Wed Dec 7, 2011

How was on the market for 9 months, had lots of showings but didn't sell. Agents were unable to say why house didn't sell or give advice as to what could be done to help the process. We will be looking for a new agent after the contract runs out and wondered how to interview an agent. What are important questions to ask or services to expect. We were quite naive the first time around and need to sell our house/

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Excellent question, here are some ideas from an observer of thousands of transactions, working with several hundred Realtors. Most sellers treat their Realtor like an indentured servant, “Do everything, I don’t want to be bothered.” Does that sound like a motivated seller? Not to me. Did you leave a trail of flyers everywhere you went while the house was listed? Grocery, dry cleaners, church, etc.? A really good Realtor should not be able to hold an open house more than once or twice during the listing period. Did you offer to hold it open every weekend the Realtor was not available? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear it even from agents, full service means full service. Motivated means motivated in my book, how bad do you want to sell? There are no laws that prohibit a seller from helping their Realtor, not saying interfere, the Realtor should still preform every duty they are being paid to do. Just saying a motivated seller should help.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 8, 2011
It is so very frustrating for a homeowner to witness a high level of interest in their home yet receive no offers or any meaningful feedback from the agent or buyer. For this alone, you should find a more responsive agent.

Too often a home seller will engage a 'single dimension' real estate agent to market their home. Agents of this type will invariably, when the home does not sell, advise the home owner to sacrifice their equity to resolve the problem. With out a doubt, if you lower the price frequently enough, a offer will appear. Please resist sacrificing your hard earned equity on the alter of efficiency. There are other options.

When interviewing for the next agent to list your home, be acutely alert for the agent, the multi-dimensional, agent who actually has a strategy. Of course I won't share my strategies here, but, trust me, when you hear an actual strategy you will most certainly recognize its depth and breadth.

There are no less the seven (7) elements in a strategy to sell your home. In way too many instances,the real estate agent has only one, and failing to achieve the result, has only one corrective action. Reduce the price.

Inquire of the agents with whom you speak to share the dimensions of the real estate transactions in which they successfully closed. If they all sound the same..........

Wishing you the very best in the sale of your home
Web Reference: http://www.MyDunedin.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 8, 2011
Well, I see the problem.

Lillie, you should ask the new agents if they will follow up with other agents on showings so that you can receive feedback, and any other questions that are important to you.

It's not the questions that are as important as the answers. Almost every agent thinks the most important questions are the ones that they think they have the best answers for. But I'll tell you something different.

The only questions that have "correct" answers are:

-- Are you an expert on the local market? "Yes."

-- Do you have the time to take on my listing, market it properly, and give me the service and attention I require? "Yes."

The most important thing, after that, is how well you communicate with each other.

All the best,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
I don't know why we have this question so often; Realtors aren't really "salesmen" like a Used Car Salesmen; we are Marketers, Trouble-Shooters, Detail-Oriented, People-People.
No one can guarantee that they will be able to sell your house, particularly if you insist on too-high a price; which you probably did, since it didn't sell.
I would look for three things in an Agent; Knowledge, Integrity and Listening Ability.
If you still want to place a high Listing Price on the house, it won't make much different how it is Marketed.
If you put a reasonable List Price and they Market it well, you should sell.

Good luck and may God bless
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011

There's something about your house which has continued to pique the curiosity of buyers (had lots of showings) but no one stepped up to make an offer. In fact, you said, you have no idea why buyers decided not to buy your house.

I don't know the identity of your agent -- nor do I want to -- but obviously he/she was doing something right to get the buyers to your house. The question is what happened to the follow through, trying the determine why the buyer did not move forward.

A really good broker will know how to delve into get the answers to the question, "What didn't they like about the house?"

Please keep in mind, not all buyers are heartless and sometimes they are afraid to say what really bothers them because it may be a sensitive issue. It could be how you've presented your home to the buyer. It could be the odors from pets. It could be the neighbors. It could be a sense that as a seller you have not shown any flexibility to offers. They may have heard that they can get a real "steal" and are looking at prices higher than they can afford hoping to buy a home at a really steep discount. When they see your home, they might feel that it is so beautiful that the price they can afford would be insulting to you and as a result, they are going to wait for a price reduction hoping to move forward later.

Almost any local broker who is responding to your question is going to reply in a way that highlights his or her skills in hopes that he/she will be your next agent. You'll hear a lot about their "track record" and the strength of their company but the real question should focus on the agents marketing strategy.

I could rattle off a series of questions for you, but the best questions you could ask are the ones deep inside of you. My suggestion is that you sit down with your significant other with a pad and pencil. Grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea and brainstorm with each other how you feel about your house. What was it that attracted you to your home and why are you selling now?

With the answers to those questions will come one basic question: "Does the agent who will represent you really think as you do about your house? Does he/she understand how to portray the advantages of your home?"

Sometimes, I've seen agents show their home to the buyer and say things like, "This is the kitchen." Frankly, I'd be concerned about showing my home to a buyer who didn't know which room was the kitchen and which one was the bathroom. I don't think I'd want them in my house!

What you want to ask the agent is "How will you show my house to its maximum potential?" "How will you market my home to both the buyers and brokers?" "What is your strategy for marketing my home and getting me to the closing table.

It would be unfair for me -- unless I were your broker -- to ask why you have to sell your house because the laws of agency would require me to disclose that information to my client -- most likely a buyer for your home if you decided not to hire me to represent you in the sale of your home -- and I would use that information against you. You don't want that to happen.

Be cautious as you interview each agent. Do you have a good sense about them? Are they honest and trustworthy? You can have a series of questions in mind but your "gut" will tell you which one is the right one.

Best regards,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 20, 2011
I am sorry to hear you have had a bad experience. There are many reasons a house does not sell and in fact in this market place you may want to interview an agent with a top real estate company such as RE/MAX which has just won the highest award in customers satisfaction. Please check this short Youtube:
I have been proudly affiliated with RE/MAX Properties Plus, Tenafly New jersey and successfully marketing homes for over 21 years!!!
Give me a call today.
Liora Meidan 201-615-7678
Happy Holiday and good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 20, 2011
1. Ask the agent for their track record in selling and marketing homes in Tenafly.
2. Ask to see what they will do to market your home in addition to what the standard package that their broker offers
3. Check out their presence on the Internet
Anat Eisenberg
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 8, 2011
Most home sellers, when interviewing for the best realtor to sell their home, are aware of the far reaching Internet in today's marketing. Real Estate company presentations strongly focus on this need have abundant web exposure, which , I agree, is absolutely necessary. When interviewing for a new realtor, this strong internet component is essential .However, the interesting aspect with the Internet coverage is that the entire Real Estate community is helping to market your home. When your home appears on one company's website and the various sites that they link to, this is just the tip of the Internet iceberg. Through new software, every Real Estate company lists absolutely every property in their market regardless of the originating company that took the listing. For example Brand X's properties for sale will be listed on Brand Y, Z, etc. sites also. This industry does a great job of cross marketing the entire inventory of homes, condos, and other properties for sale for their competitors.
That being said, in today's challenging Real Estate market, you need to have a strategic plan as to "What Else" and "Where Else" can my home be exposed. Yes, price is king today, as many buyers won't even look at a home unless there has been a price reduction, not to mention several reductions. Pricing is strategic marketing and there are interesting approaches to capture the essence of today's market.
Basically, my advice is there is a new "normal" to today's marketing. It is called strategic targeting.

Hope this helps and I wish you success in moving to the next level.
If you would like more information, please contact me.

Elizabeth "Liz" Roditi
Tenafly Agent
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 8, 2011
Traffic obviously isn't the problem. Todays Buyer's begin searching on the internet and if the house doesn't have a presence on the web, it won't get the exposure needed. These are the things you should ask a new agent:
1. How do you obtain feedback from each showing? Every showing should have feedback. Many offices/agents utilize a showing desk system where feedback comes back to you via email when a showing agent responds.
2. If the agent doesn't have an automated system or if showing agents don't respond, what is this agent willing to do to obtain feedback? This may require mutiple calls/emails to get feedback.
3. Have you analized the feedback? Buyers aren't shy about telling you what they think. Many Buyers have a good sense of what a home's value is today.
4. What are the major objections? Some objections can be addressed while others can't.
a. Does your location present a problem such as on or backing up to a major road? Is there a lot of street noise?
b. Does the house have decor issues such as wallpaper? I have found that this one item can turn a Buyer off more than any other. Even though it can be removed, many Buyers today do not want to do the work. It may bethe flooring. Even if you are allowing for an allowance, Buyers can't visualize. You may need to change the fooring.
c. When was the last time the bathrooms and kitchen were updated? The 1950's-1970's look might be fine for some but not for most of today's Buyers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 8, 2011
I just read an interesting article on this very question....follow the link below.


Laura Giannotta
Keller Williams Atlantic Shore
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 8, 2011
Hi , Lillie,

Why would you take your home off the market now?

The internet is open 24/7/365; your market is a global, not a local one. At this very point in time there could be a buyer somewhere on another continent surfing websites looking for a home -- perhaps yours.

Pricing is only one component of marketing your home. Your questions should focus on the proper marketing strategy for your home.

I'd be happy to meet and discuss how my company and I would market your home to get it sold to the right buyer -- even during the holiday season.

Best regards,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 8, 2011
Generally it's all about price! Question is, why didn't your agent discuss that with you over 9 months! Interview a few agents and see who shows you actual comps of homes that sold in your area and comes up with some good reasons why they think your house didn't sell. There can be many reasons besides price; availabliity to show, condition of home, the fact that you're living in it, whether you've had a pest report, price, updating, remodeling, etc. price, price, price......
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
Hi Lillie,

1-The first thing you should see from the new agent is their marketing plan. This is what they intend to do to sell your home. You shouldn't have to ask for that, if an agent comes without it don't even consider listing with them.

2-=.The second thing is how are they going to communicate with you and how often. You need to be informed of what is going on not only with your home but with the market.

3- And of course you need to have a Comparative Market Analysis to establish a realistic price.

I hope you find someone that will do the job right for you.

Joan Mintz
Agent- Tenafly
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
Just to clarify for the comment that we insisted on listing high, the fact is that we had the agent suggest the price and then went slightly lower. We weren't given any definitive feedback from our agent about what was being said by other agents who showed our house. We repeatedly asked about what we could do to make the house more marketable and were told the house was fine the way it was. We asked about staging, repairs, etc. and kept being told that they were as confused as we were that the house wasn't selling. We lowered the price and were told we were at the right price point and it still didn't sell. We had a lock box and often left the house at the spur of the moment so it could be shown. The house was left immaculate everyday when I went to work and every weekend when most showings took place. We never turned down a showing. All that being said, we want to start fresh with new agents and the question was asked to help us know what we should expect from our agent. Are there questions we should be asking or services that an agent should provide?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
Actually its almost more important to listen to the questions the agent asks you. For example
Why do you think it did not sell?
Did you adjust the price/
If so how many times?
Did you have a lock box on the door?
How many open houses did you have?
How often did your agent update you on activity?
How did your house present itself in the internet?
Did the agent use the full 15 photos on the listing and were they good quality pictures?
And I can think of a dozen more.
Given your answers a good agent should be able to come up with an aggressive marketing plan to get your house sold
if you would like to hear the rest of the questions drop me an email
Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
Hi Lili. The real estate market in Tenafly has been terrific this year! Our market is up 11% for the year so far.

As long as buyers didn't have any problems getting into your house, its the price. Work with an agent that will keep you in the loop on all showings and open houses and has the chutzpah be frank. Good luck in 2012.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
As an experienced NJ realtor who lives and works in Bergen County, I can certainly help you with this very good question! I often am called in when a listing expires, and while I hesitate to criticize another realtor's efforts, I would evaluate those you interview based on both data and your "gut feelings.

Ask about listing and selling experience in your community, about what resources and marketing support their brokerage brings to the table, about what kind of suggestions the agent would have in terms of correcting the problem areas that buyers have been reacting to as well as boosting the positive attributes of your home. I would also suggest asking for references -- I have mine listed in every market analysis. Finally, ask them who you feel would be the best target market for your home, and what their realistic price recommendation is. It's a tough market and agents such as myself have to constantly rethink how we position our listings so we can get the job done for our clients.

I hope that helps, and I hope you will call me in to give you a complimentary market opinion after the holidays!
Barbara Ostroth
Coldwell Banker RE
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
The fact is, there aren't enough buyers around to buy up all the houses.

However. The houses that do sell are priced low enough to make buyers feel like they're getting a screaming deal. This is difficult for sellers to do!

This assumes that you and your agent were doing everything to facilitate the showing process - providing easy access on short notice, house impeccably clean and showing like a model house, that sort of thing.

The most common problem people have with their agents is communication, and part of that is because - let's fact it - the agent has to straddle a line between continually hammering you about lowering your price (or improving the condition of the property) and being a trusted ally who believes in your property and is enthusiastic and will go to the mat on your behalf.

If you do elect to go with a new agent, they will do a wonderful job because they will likely receive a price drop to accompany the activity and frenzy that goes into the agent getting a new listing. You would likely get the same result giving your old agent the price drop!

The questions you ask during the interview process aren't as important as the communication between you and the agent - do you understand them completely, and do they understand you? Without that, nothing else matters much.

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
You need to list with a realtor you feel
most comfortable with. Local realtors know the area best, some larger companies may have more Internet coverage but are not experts in your specific neighborhood. It is up to you,
some clients prefer a more flexible agents as others prefer a more professional ones in my opinion it is important that you have avoid connection and as others mentioned
earlier price of home is a big factor. Take into consideration sold prices and not active listing prices since they are not realistic numbers until after they have sold.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
Hi Lillie,

To be blunt: lots of showings and no offers usually means the price is too high... although there could be other contributing factors as well.

Be careful hiring an agent because their suggested list price is the highest.

We have found that to have success our sellers have to price their home competitively and also have to have it in top condition. To me, competitively means in the bottom price-wise with comparable homes and also to have it look and show the best versus the comparables.

Most buyers (>90% according to the National Association of REALTORS) start their search for a home online... So it needs to look awesome on the web or you risk being eliminated from the search without a physical showing!!! We also being search placement is important. See what the current listings look like online for your next potential agent.

We can't help you as we are licensed in WI... but check out the link below to see our marketing plan!

Good luck and Happy Holidays!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
If the house shows well compared to other homes in the neighborhood then it really comes down to price. The new agent must be realistic pricing the home using the available comps from the neighborhood. Too many agents will agree to an unrealistic price just to get the listing. I price all of my Denver, Aurora, Centennial and Parker homes based on realistic comperables and it's not always what the seller wishes they can get - we have to look at the faacts in todays market!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
Lots of showings, but didnt sell. The #1 reason for this result is that people feel the home is over-priced.

As for your next agent, make sure they are experienced in your area, utilize every marketing tactic (internet advertising, virtual tours, designated website for your home), and have a plan on who to target (meaning the specific type of buyer most likely to be interested in your home).

FInally, if you truly believe that they person you hire is competent and qualified, listen to what they tell you to do and then do it. Too many people work against their realtor. He/she is the pro...and 90% of FSBO sellers eventually list with a realtor...this is not a coincidence.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
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