Question Details

Lorie Gould, Real Estate Pro in Duluth, GA

Sellers... Are you offended or upset if your listing agent listed your?

Asked by Lorie Gould, Duluth, GA Mon Nov 26, 2007

neighbors home for sale also? Would love to hear your thoughts?

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Lorie,

Interesting thread. Thanks for the question. Good points made by various parties on different perspectives.

If a seller believes that the his/her best interest would not be best served by an agent who was also representing a competing seller around the block, then that seller should be guided in his decisions accordingly. Once that seller has that doubt cast, it will be difficult for the seller to have confidence and not always wonder what the agent did or did not say to a buyer about one property vs. another. Of course, that only applies to the subsequent seller who is choosing their Realtor.

William, I am neither agreeing or disagreeing w/ you, but would like to expand your perceptions one step further. Your points are valid for consideration. One step furhter.... Buyers are sometimes undecided in their price range, neighborhoods, and condition of a property. Buyers may determine they are searching for a property that needs work, in order to get into the neighborhood of choice or size needed. But, on the other hand, the same buyer may be also considering the purchase of a move-in condition home with the intent of a 5 year plan to upgrade. Your property is competing with more than just the homogeneous properties in one development. The listing agent w/ 2 very different properties can still be in competition with each other.

William, your thoughts expressed in this thread do give consideration also to the pros and cons of listing w/ a Realtor who has a lot of listings. It is related to the question orignally posed here by Lorie. How does a listing agent focus on your property when their interests are divided amongst many sllers' properties? I have frequently seen sellers have confidence in an agent because the agent has a lot of listings. Not all high volume listers to a good job; and neither do all high volume listers ignore their sellers. Each Realtor proposal needs to be evaluated individually. The amount of support each Realtor is provided will be a factor also. A Realtor who does all his/her own data uploads to various internet sites, makes all of his/her own brochures, has less time for buyers or sellers than a Realtor who has administrative support.

Along Florida condo high rises in Broward and Miami-Dade, it is not unusual to find Realtors who specialize in just a few of the buildings. The listers are able to aggregate the effectiveness of the advertising of several sellers’ properties in the same building. JR makes a good point in discussing the fact that units within a complex can vary tremendously by condition, location and view. One could argue that the lister who stays within only their one or two buildings cannot know the competition as well as the Realtor who follows a broader, but competitive market.

Great question, Lorie. There are always trade-offs. I don’t think a seller errors by hiring the Realtor who has a similar listing, nor do I criticize the seller who finds that situation uncomfortable. The lister who has many properties within a tight geography (condo complex, development, small section of a town) will have a good handle on the overall buyer perceptions there. But, so will a great buyer agent who only has 1 listing (and how many times will a seller be wary of inexperience?) If a seller already is listed when a Realtor accepts another listing, there isn’t anything the seller can do to change that fact. But, the seller should discuss their concerns with the Realtor.

I have no problem w/ it, and lean toward the camp that it brings benefit. It really does come down to the individual Realtor.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 28, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
I had this happen to a Realtor friend of mine. Unfortuneately the "motivated" one listed the same MODEL of home for $50,000 less than his buddy neighbor!! Not only did the Realtor get total misery from the Seller of the overpriced listing, it became a heated "Hatfields and McCoy's" type battle in the neighborhood! She'd show the overpriced one and then take them to the well-priced property. Yes, she eventually lost the overpriced one and the guy listed at the price she sold the other one for!! She was miserable during the entire process and it was a standing joke for many months at our weekly marketing meeting.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2007
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I would love my realtor to list the house next door. I would learn all about that house and then I would beat it. I would ask my realtor what I need to do to stand out. But really, traffic is the name of the game and I do think it will increase showings.
Interesting that people felt strongly about this. William clearly put some thought into this. I would like to say that where he disagreed with a poster, I never thought that he did not understand. He clearly did understand but simply disagrees.
TU to you Lorie for an interesting thread and I appreciated your thoughtful response, Deborah.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 28, 2007
Michael makes some great points!

A neighbors house for sale is competition. Their home being for sale means that mine might take longer to sell. No positive for me can come from them having the best realtor in town (the one I'm hiring.) I want them to have another realtor who will overprice their home, give them bad advice, not do a great marketing job, and ultimately make my home more attractive.

My realtor actively researches other homes for sale, attends open houses in my developments, encourages me to attend the open houses with them, and comes back with very specific "battle plan" information on how we can make my house compete favorably with the competition. They look me in the eye and say "this is how we'll sell first".

Would you feel comfortable exposing one clients home's weakness to the other seller, and advising them on how to take advantage? Would you withhold information that could give one advantage over another? Would you tell me that they were "thinking about changing price"?

If you're representing just me, anything you learn about my competition is fair game. If you represent both, you suddenly can have an ethics problem on your hand. I don't want a neutral realtor - I want a fanatic who will scratch and claw and give me every little advantage and edge possible. You can't do this for me and my neighbor at the same time!

Lorie - in your scenario the"advantage" is that on top of it, your listings bring a buyer through you. Now you're representing the buyer and 2 sellers ... the 3 all get watered down representation (it's impossible to represent the best interests of all 3 at the same time!) It's an unfavorable situation for everyone involved except the realtor!
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2007
William Lorie is right. If there are multiple listings by the same agent it will generate more buyer opportunity for both homes! Could really be a win-win. Just depends on how you look at it!
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2007

Great questions. I'll be checking back often to see the responses!

3 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 26, 2007
William, we'll just have to agree to disagree. All homes are competing, none are identical unless you live in an apartment or condo, and even then there are differing locations in a complex, and styles. Your agent is advising ALL their clients the same way they are advising you. They may have 10 listings, so they are representing ALL of their interests. If you find an agent who agrees to only list your own house, go for it.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 28, 2007
William, I wasn't being condescending. What you're saying in this post confirms my theory that you don't understand agency completely. There is no "tri-agency". And as far as fiduciary duties go, you cannot disclose something that you learned under someone else's confidentiality to another party. So if you told me while you were listed with me, that you were desperate to sell, even after my listing with you may have expired I can't disclose that to a buyer client or to another seller client. And JFTR: If you are listed with me, and your neighbor islisted with another agent, and I bring a customer to that neighbor's home, I AM working in the neighbor's best interest, NOT the customers. In my area, we don't do a lot of buyer agency, so I am usually working for the seller, even if I bring the buyer. Maybe you personally don't have the personality to be able to represent two sellers on the same street, but don't project yourself onto me. Again, IMO you don't understand agency, based on what you're saying.

Adding to that, I once listed two homes on the same street that looked, from the front, pretty identical. Both appeared to be colonials. One had 4 BR with a beautiful master suite and 3 baths, patios, a stream running behind it and was solidly built. The other was a saltbox cape that looked like colonial from the front. It had 2 BRs upstairs, 1.5 baths, a small BR down and average property. They were both listed in the 700,000s about 25,000 apart. Do you really think I had to badmouth the saltbox to sell the colonial first? Any consumer could see which one was the most bang for their buck. Three years and two agents later, it's still for sale at almost the same price.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2007
JR - no need to be condescending. I understand agency all too well, and in the real world this ... would you call this "tri-agency"? ... well, this would be an unfavorable position for me, my neighbor, and the buyer to be in. Again, the only winner is the realtor. Yes, you can represent all parties and do your job legally and ethically ... but that doesn't make you a great, most effective realtor for *me.*

You don't have a fiduciary responsibility to my neighbor if you're not employed by them - any information you find out or are given is fair game outside of their employ is fair game, and you would use it to give yourself an advantage over competing realtors to sell your listing. I lose that when you represent both.

Want a great reputation? Maybe pass up this opportunity if it's an obvious conflict and tell your seller that you did and why. You would get a huge amount of respect from me and I would certainly refer you glowingly ... I would see something like this a profound character indicator and it's a compelling argument that you would deal with me honestly and with integrity. Heck, you could use it as an example in your sales presentations (how often could this situation possibly come up to make a difference anyway?) Hows that spin?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2007
William... I think many sellers feel the same way you do. For all the sellers that feel the way you do I would love to pose these questions...

Would you agree that real estate is a lead generation business? The more listings an agent has the more leads to buy their listings they produce, would you agree with this? So could it be that an agent having more than one listing in your neighborhood be a benefit to you??

If the agent you hired did not do a good job for you, you would fire them right?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2007
I personally would not have a problem with it. My assumption is that I will likely get extra showings out of it. If the other house is lower priced, maybe they will trade up to mine. If higher, maybe they can't afford it but want this neighborhood.
I would make sure that my house shows better, much better, than my neighbor's.
I am an experienced seller so my reaction may not be typical. i.e. a bit more factual, less emotional, than most Sellers.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2007
Thanks to everyone for sharing such great view points.

Michael... the lesson for every seller from your friends is not to overprice your home because the ones that are priced right will sell first.

William you had some fabulous points. I have had the situation happen quite a few times. As a matter of fact, I just received a call yesterday from a neighbor in the same neighborhood (not the next door neighbor) of one of my listings who asked me to come talk to him about listing his home. You will be happy to know it is not the exact same floor plan. I know we have discussed flyers on a previous thread so I have to admit that he called from my flyer because he said it was the best flyer he had ever seen. Out of respect, I will share with my seller that I have been asked to list another property. I personally have not experienced a client who had an issue with me listing a neighbor... as a matter of fact... I have listings refer me to other neighbors. Hearing your objections I will take those referrals as a great compliment that my clients trust me and know that I would never say or do anything to hurt the sell of their home.

To answer your question on an agent representing everyone .... If a buyer comes unrepresented by an agent they will not be represented by me on my listing. I personally do not practice dual agency because I do not believe that you can represent two parties in a transaction. It is disclosed that I am working for the seller and that they are not represented; therefore, I cannot advise them.

JR... you had so many great points and arguments. There were so many great points made by supportings and non-supporters of this happening. Deborah... I think you said it best. We cannot change how a person feels. If a seller does not want to list with an agent that has any competing listings within the neighborhood or within the area then he can choose to list with someone that does not. You spoke many valid points! I do lean more towards it being a benefit as many agreed. I am sure we could all agree that there are some agents in the marketplace that Deborah described that would not make it a benefit. These agents would probably make listing with them a non-benefit regardless. It is clear that the agents that commented on this are conducting their business with high integrity.

So many great comments on this topic... who would have thought.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 28, 2007
Hello there.
The best way to market and sell a home is to have it staged properly by a staging professional. Last winter, I had the opportunity to stage a home that was next door to another house already on the market. The house I staged went into contract in 20 days. The other home languished for months on the market. It doesn't matter if your competition is next door, around the corner or up the street. Make your house stand out and take advantage of the traffic next door.

Good luck
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 28, 2007
JR I know there's no such thing as a "tri-agency" - I was trying to be funny and emphasize the (what I feel is) absurdity of a realtor representing 3 interests at once and fairly giving any one of those parties the best representation possible for them. Jeeze!

Of course you can argue extremes, that's not what we're discussing here. If the homes are significantly different they're not competing. Obviously that's a different story! Come into my neighborhood of homes that are all basically the same - here I want my realtor focused on me and giving me the advantages that will make my home sell first... and beat my neighbor to the closing table!

It's not a matter of personality, it's a matter of conflict of interest and service(or lack thereof.). Your confusing working within the law and your obligations with being a great realtor for your clients - they're 2 different things. If you can't think of one difference this situation would make in the way you would service or advise your client(s) ... well, maybe it's just style.

With my realtors, I would be furious if they advised a competitior (let alone a neighbor!) about my home in the same way they advised me about my competition. I would certainly feel that I lost a level of value and the edge that I hired them to give me..
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 28, 2007
William, I don't have to have the house next door to you listed myself to know, if it's already listed, that it is i better condition, or has updates yours doesn't have. A fact is a fact. We have a fiduciary responsibility to keep confidential all information about you, and all information about your neighbor. If the agent tells you they're thinking of changing the price, believe me, it's going to be that YOU should change the price, too. We don't make our reputations by playing one of our listings off another. Personally, I don't think it's an issue. For those who do, there are thousands of other realtors to list with. Your comment to Lorie tells me you don't really understand agency.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2007
A poster below said "But I would find it hard to believe my realtor is doing everything possible to make *my* house sell first when they're representing my direct competition also." Don't you think that other houses nearby that the agent has listed are also your direct competition? It doesn't have to be a neighbor. We rarely do buyer's agency here, so most any house I show I am working for the seller. An agent has no control over which house the buyer is going to like.

I have, however, had people opt to go with a different agent because they don't want the same agent as their neighbor because the seller had the notion that I would be sharing their personal, financial and motivational information with the neighbor across the way. There are a lot of people out there who think everyone is interested in their business and are IMO a little paranoid. I remember one acquaintance who was HORRIFIED when she found out I read the property transfers in the local paper and saw that someone had sold their house for $xxx. "You mean they PRINT THAT!? In the PAPER!?"
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2007
Lorie, Very good question. I have been faced with this situation and would love to know what the buyers and sellers really think!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2007
At the same time that mine is for sale? Tough one - it's absolutely your right to be able to make a living. But I would find it hard to believe my realtor is doing everything possible to make *my* house sell first when they're representing my direct competition also. Not in this market. My neighbor should feel the same way!

Of course, ride down the street and the "top sellers" faces are all over the place ... but I chose my realtor over "Super Realtor" because I wanted personal attention to my sale (and I trust them to make my home sale their top priority.)

For a realtor, I guess this is a good problem to have!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 26, 2007
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