I listed my home with an agent about a week and a half ago. Still, no pictures on the internet. I wanted to

Asked by Susan, Texas Sun Jun 15, 2008

purchase a fixer-upper, but my house is not being advertised. So, now I think I should just sell it myself and look for something else when it is sold. Also, I was only selling my home to purchase the fixer upper. Am I obligated to the realtor now? Or, can I decline and sell it myself? I am a teacher and am at home during the summer.
Thanks Susan

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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Sun Jun 15, 2008
You're asking a number of different questions.

First, it appears you're unhappy with your agent. If that's the case, talk to your agent. Your agent should have (as part of the listing presentation) provided you with a marketing plan. Is your agent adhering to the marketing plan? Even if he/she is, maybe you want an adjustment. No pictures after 10 days...that does provide some cause for concern. So: Talk with your agent. If that's unsatisfactory, talk to the agent's broker.

As for cancelling your listing agreement, you and your agent have a signed contract. Most agents will release you from the agreement if you're clearly not happy. But make sure you're released first, before taking any other action (such as trying to sell it yourself). Otherwise, you might find yourself obligated to pay the commission to the agent, even though you did all the work. The listing agreement spells that out. The fact that you were selling in order to purchase a fixer upper has no bearing on your obligations to your agent (unless specifically stated in the listing agreement).

Whether you should attempt to sell your home yourself is an entirely different question. There are a lot of threads here on Trulia about whether to attempt a for sale by owner (FSBO). Realtors, in general, will advise against it, saying there's a lot of skill and expertise involved. They'll point to facts and figures showing that properties sold by Realtors generally sell for higher amounts, and faster, than FSBOs. And they'll note that most FSBOs eventually go with an agent and use the agent to sell.

Defenders of FSBOs point out that it's entirely possible to sell your home without a Realtor. It usually takes quite a bit of time and effort--as well as some expense--but it can be done. And they'll point to the savings (no commission, or only a partial commission if an agent brings them a buyer) of selling it yourself. And some defenders of FSBOs say that in today's electronic age that Realtors are dinosaurs, using an outdated model to sell homes.

I'm not taking one side or another. I'm simply saying that you can sell it yourself, but it's debatable whether that would be your best strategy.

So: Talk to your agent. If you're not 100% comfortable with the responses and the outcome, talk to the agent's broker. Recognize that you do have a listing agreement, and to terminate that agreement will require consent of all parties. If you do that, you then have to decide whether to use another Realtor to sell your property, or to attempt to do it yourself.

Hope that helps.
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