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Trulia Blog

5 Signs You Need A New Listing Agent

woman holding phone contemplating her listing agreement
Breaking up is hard to do, whether the relationship is a personal or a business one. But sometimes it’s the best thing to do.

Maybe you chose a real estate agent to sell your home for the wrong reasons — they promised to get you a really high price, they’re your mom’s best friend’s niece, or they offered the lowest commission rate. Whatever the case, your home has now been sitting on the market for so long that you’re starting to have flashbacks to fifth grade, when you were picked last for the kickball team. Only your house for sale in San Diego, CA or Columbia, SC isn’t getting picked at all.

It’s a bit more difficult to break up with an agent when you’re the seller instead of the buyer since you signed a listing agreement. Many agents will let you out of the agreement if you’re dissatisfied, but you might be forced to wait for the contract to end. Either way, you should be aware of the signs that indicate a breakup could be in your future.

1. You’re playing a lot of phone tag

In the time before texting, your agent had somewhat of an excuse for not getting back to you in a timely manner. But there really is no excuse for bad communication anymore. “If you are having trouble getting in touch with your agent, then that is a big problem,” says Seth Lejeune, a Collegeville, PA, agent. “No one is too busy not to reply to a text. Either they have too much going on, don’t value your business, or are completely disorganized.”

2. You’re left in the dark

You should never have to wonder about the status of your home for sale. “If your agent only calls you when they believe it’s time for a price reduction, then you may have a problem,” says Sep Niakan, a Miami, FL, agent. It’s standard practice to receive weekly reports on your listing. Your agent should let you know where your listing is and how many views it gets on each site, says Brian LeBow, a Southern California agent. “I typically send out my reports every Monday, or will go over it by phone with clients on Mondays, at the same time I discuss weekend open-house activity.”

3. Your listing doesn’t look as good as others

Part of a real estate agent’s job is to market your home well. The first impression most people will have of your home will be from photos on the internet. If your agent didn’t stage your home properly or use a professional to photograph it, your home will pale in comparison with other houses potential buyers are seeing. “Over 90% of buyers today search online first before deciding to see a property,” says Kathleen Emhof, owner of Transitions Home Staging & Redesign in Buffalo, NY. “Even the most beautiful home will be passed over if the pictures are dark, show excess clutter, or are poor in general.” Look at the photos as soon as they’re posted online. “If the photos don’t make your place look like a million bucks, then you are starting off on the wrong foot,” Niakan says.

4. You haven’t received a marketing plan

More goes into selling a house than just posting it on Trulia and the multiple listing service (MLS). A good agent will have a complete marketing plan, which typically includes things like creating a webpage with the home specifications, holding an open house, promoting your home on social media, and sending out postcards. “Typically, I’ll send at least 500 just-listed cards at the onset of a listing,” LeBow says. Find out what your agent’s marketing plan is, and if there isn’t one, you might want to find another agent.

5. Your agent is full of hot air

If the price the agent said they’d get for your house sounded too good to be true, it probably is. “If your house has been on the market much longer than the average days on market … it may be time to have ‘the talk,’” LeBow says.

What’s supposed to happen is a comparative market analysis, a process wherein the agent evaluates your home and compares it with similar recently sold and currently listed homes in the area. “Many bad agents often make promises that they know they won’t be able to keep because they believe that doing so will help them earn the listing,” says Thomas Miller, a Washington, DC, agent. If the price the agent said they’d get for you is much higher than comparable homes in your area, you should probably find an agent who will be real with you instead of selling you a dream. “Smart agents won’t let an overpriced listing continue more than a few weeks,” LeBow says.

Have you ever broken up with your real estate agent? Share your stories in the comments below.

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