Question Details

Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558

The honeymoon for the listing is over. Now what?

Asked by Ruthless, 60558 Sun Sep 2, 2007

The homeowners are tired and cranky. They don't think you are advertising enough or doing anything but waiting for the next looky-loos to kick them out for an hour. They've been asked to clean-up and leave several times only to be told the showing was canceled. No one is making the beds anymore. They're not even weeding the gardens or cutting the grass as much as they should.

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I usually put on some Barry White, and open a bottle wine........OK. OK
Just kidding ...step away from the thumbs down.

I speak with my clients a lot on the phone, and in person like everyone here. I give them what I would expect and besides getting their home sold that is service.

Every Monday all my clients get a email, recapping the weeks highlights, Showings, Advertising, etc...and anything we discussed on the phone,
This email will also touch on what our plan is, and how we plan to achieve our goal

I also send out a email to my buyers, recapping the weeks events.

If the Realtor provides great service, from returning calls, to making sure their are flyer's in the box.
The sellers will have no reason to complain. The Honeymoon will never end.
If they do complain to you go back to the weeks of emails.
Don't give them a reason to complain about you.

Now I have to go find some buyers.

My Darlin' I can't get enough of your love
Babe
Girl
I don't know
I don't know vvhy
Can't get enough of your love
Babe.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 2, 2007
Mr.P, Other/Just Looking in Arizona
MVP'08
This is such a great question, especially in today's market where the inventory is so very high. Seller's get discouraged and blame the Realtor who, often make all kinds of promises to get the listing. I just finished a closing with sellers who came to dislike me intensely. They were divorcing which added to the stress and as the market tumbled, their misery increased.

I believe it's important to discuss these kinds of things ahead of time too. Sellers feel powerless once their property is listed, but if they know their agent is aware of their feelings, they will have some confidence when it happens.

I also agree that weekly calls are critical to good communication. When the time comes to have heart-to-heart talks on pricing, or on showing condition or overall strategy, it won't be strangers talking.

But if the situation devolves to where the house is not "showing-ready" you might want to consider cancelling the listing. If it's that bad, you probably won't sell it anyway. And just by threatening you might shock the sellers back to reality. It's like any negotiation, you have to know what you ultimately want. And if you can't get it, you have to know what you're willing to give up.

Rita
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 2, 2007
I think it's important to set expectations in the beginning. I used to not do this myself as much as I should have, but as a result of a bad experience, I now make sure that my sellers understand what the mutual expectations are. Correct pricing is the first thing. My marketing plan is based on correct pricing as all the advertising in the world cannot procure a buyer who is willing to pay too much. When I go over the listing agreement and the marketing plan, I now stress that everything that I do is contingent upon them holding up their end of the bargain. That means they have to keep the house clean and the yard maintained. Granted, that's not always an easy task, but if you want top dollar it's a must. I also explain that I am not responsible for other people's conduct (e.g., flaky prospective buyers, rude agents). As I implement the marketing plan, I give them updates to tell them what I have done and what I will do next and I provide them with updates on a weekly basis. In the scenario that you describe, I think I would schedule a face-to-face appointment and go over everything that I have done and show them a new comparative market analysis to address the price issue if I feel that the price may be an issue. I would also ask what they think could be done that has not been done. If the client still thinks that the house has not sold because I don't do enough, I offer them to cancel the listing agreement. Having a client who lacks confidence in you is a lose-lose situation. The client feels bad and that's real. Whether they feel that way rightfully or wrongfully does not really matter.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 2, 2007
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in Newcastle, CA
MVP'08
Contact
Setting expectations from the start has helped us tremendously. In the listing agreement we have if no contract is recieevd in 30 days we will review the price and the market. At that point we can display all of the marketing and costs involved which show we are doing exactly what we said we would do. this is usually enough to snap the client back into reality and focus them on selling their home. If not I go back to the initial listing appointment here I explained this has to be a win - win for both sides and both sides have to do what they said they would, so the divorce if they persist costs them the invoiced fees for marketing as per the listing agreement. This way we are not out of pocket. When this is presented in a non threatening and professional way these circunstances are limited. As a full time Realtor this is my main source of income and I have to treat it as a business not a hobby.
Web Reference: http://teamrenton.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 2, 2007
Well, the glib answer is get a divorce. The good answer is, fall back in love. As an agent it is really very hard to regain the good graces of a client that is feeling unloved and underappreciated! Make a call to this client every week. Even if you tell them nothing is going on they need to hear from you. Start giving them this call if you have not been. Revisit the numbers with them to make sure pricing is right. Mostly, your listing is a partnership. Be sure to ask for their input.
Web Reference: http://carriecrowell.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 2, 2007
When agents have no news to report, they sometimes fail to make contact with a seller. As hard as it is to deliver negative news, in almost all cases, it is a better choice than not contacting a seller.

If market exposure is high, and there are no showings scheduled, it speaks clearly to a pricing issue. As much as many of our sellers do not want to hear pricing is a problem, it is necessary to confront reality. The best way to do that is with documentation.

The more I can show and track website hits, the more I can document to a seller the buyers who at least looked online. If these numbers are high, and buyers were not sufficiently motivated to make an appointment, the message is clear.

If website traffic is not where we need it to be, we evaluate that cause also. Our website hits are usually pretty darn high.

We provide regular updates to sellers quoting the website tracking hits, and providing feedback on any showings, inquiries, etc. We also include changes in the market. We view all other active properties as competitors and we look to see if any competitors captured the vote of the buyers dollar over our seller. If so, we include that data and draw comparisons. I will even pick up the phone, call the selling agent and inqurie why the buyer chose that property over our sellers.

The worst feeling for a seller is to be left in limbo. Regardless of how uncomfortable, we need to reach out to them and talk about what is (or is not) going on.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 5, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
MVP'08
Contact
I think accountablility by the listing agent is very important in order to help avoid the perception by the seller that they are not advertising enough or doing anything but waiting. Some things Lisa and I do are minimum of once a week contact to review the previous weeks activities as well as what is planned for the week to come. At the same time, we always ask if there is anything the seller feels we are either not doing at all or not doing enough of that they feel should be done. We also send a weekly email that details out every marketing piece, the activity we've seen week to date and listing to date, and we include the direct links and copies to every thing we do.

For us it's for 3 primary reasons, number one it is a way for us to hold ourselves accountable by having to update our clients weekly, secondly it's so our clients have peace of mind that the agents they've put a great deal of trust in are actually doing their best for them. But the other reason we do this is because we work in a very tough market where we interview against 3-6 other agent/teams for each listing on average. We encourage all sellers to VERIFY and ask for real examples of everything they promise to do, but you wouldn't believe what kind of nonsense and hollow pie-in-the-sky promises some agents and brokerages promise.

So far we've never had a client think we weren't working hard on their behalf, and hopefully we never do.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 2, 2007
Oddly enough, I have noticed an alarming trend in the opposite direction. Many sellers are not calling and screaming for contracts, because they are somewhat resigned to the fact that their property might take a long time to sell, if it sells at all. While the education and hyperbole that homeowners are getting from the media and agents alike is valid, the "curl up in a ball defense" seems to afflict too many sellers right now. I wrote a blog about sellers needing to determine whether or not they are actually trying to sell their homes or are just testing the waters. This is not the time for the latter. It would benefit everyone in the long run if the testers and sellers who are unwilling to do what it takes to move their homes would sit this one out. I would love it if the inventory would thin down to those who are not resigned to the fate of their homes not selling. I can't recall another market where my sellers were not more agitated after 30-60 days on the market without a contract. This may relieve some of our stress as agents, but it is not conducive to getting our listings sold. I welcome the return of the angry seller!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 2, 2007
Patrick: "step away from the thumbs down" I laughed so hard at that!

Agents: Do you feel it goes the other way too? As Carrie said, "unloved and underappreciated". It's hard work for both. Do you start getting a little lax too?

I like Patrick's answer. A marriage counselor would suggest the wine before the divorce.

I agree that real answer is expectations up front. Those who get married thinking the honeymoon will last forever, don't stay married very long.
Ruth
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 2, 2007
Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558
MVP'08
I have done this on a few occassions. Take the sellers out to the competing properties and show them what's on the market that the buyers have a choice of putting offers in. Ask them to take notes on each of the homes........and then make the last showing theirs. Ask them to take notes on their own property.....Ultimately there is no doubt in my mind that it comes down to price. It's a good way to build rapport with the sellers again and just get out there.

I think one of the hardest points is keeping the house always super ready to show. Especially when people have children.
Web Reference: http://www.agentjustin.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 2, 2007
Communication is Key. When I list a property I frame the different scenario's of what the transaction may look like.

I make a commitment to communicate with them regularly....at least weekly (Tuesday's). I tell what I expect of them, assign them the job to call me or email me when there is a showing with the agent's info so I may follow up and to let me know when the flyer get low (both inside and outside).

I ask them what their preferred means of communication i.e. phone, voice mail, in person, email so I can communicate thoroughly with them. It usually ends up we talk multiple time during the week.

I set up the expectation if we do not have an offer within the 1st 3 -4 weeks we are probably off our price point and we will be looking at a price reduction as it is important to stay ahead of the market.

I am accountable to them with my marketing and review what I have done during the listing period. We usually have a good raport and line of communication going. I have not had to tell them to clean up. I have told them they are living in a fish bowl until they get an accepted offer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 5, 2007
Pam Winterba…, Real Estate Pro in San Ramon, CA
MVP'08
Contact
You are just Ruthless...I have been waiting all day.......Pick Me Damit
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 4, 2007
Mr.P, Other/Just Looking in Arizona
MVP'08
I usually put on some Barry White, and open a bottle wine........OK. OK
Just kidding ...step away from the thumbs down.

I speak with my clients a lot on the phone, and in person like everyone here. I give them what I would expect and besides getting their home sold that is service.

Every Monday all my clients get a email, recapping the weeks highlights, Showings, Advertising, etc...and anything we discussed on the phone,
This email will also touch on what our plan is, and how we plan to achieve our goal.

Now I have to go find a buyer.

My baby love..........can`t get enough of you darlin.

I also send out a email to my buyers, recapping the weeks events.

If the Realtor provides great service, from returning calls, to making sure their are flyer's in the box.
The sellers will have no reason to complain. The Honeymoon will never end.
If they do you go back to the weeks of emails.
Don't give them a reason to complain about you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 2, 2007
Mr.P, Other/Just Looking in Arizona
MVP'08
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