When should I find a new realtor? I've have had problems almost from day one with the company I am dealing with.

Asked by Debbi(pa), 08247 Tue Oct 20, 2009

Not getting their best marketing efforts as promised. Interviewed agents from four different companies, asking many of the questions recommended on this site. And before anyone says it, my decision was NOT based on listing price. They were all within $20,000 anyway. I have a unique home, a restored Victorian in excellent condition. This company refuses to do any print ads, even for Open House dates. They are also reluctant to do a Brokers Open. Seven weekes into the contract, after multiple visits to my home, the pics are still being tinkered with and the two videos shot did not work out. After speaking with the broker, another agent was assigned to assist two weeks ago. They first Open House was a waste because the signs and dates were mixed up. They don't recommend reducing price at this point, but I feel we have lost WEEKS of exposure for a house that needs multiple visitors. I'd welcome any creative advice! Thanks.

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Francesca Patrizio’s answer
Francesca Pa…, Agent, Manasquan, NJ
Tue Oct 27, 2009

Sorry to hear about that you are unhappy with your current representation. The bottom line here is that you are unhappy customer and that is never good business. The best advice I can offer is to flat out ask for an unconditional withdrawal from your contractual agreeement/obligation with your current listing company. However, be advised that there are a a few that will hold you to the entire term . . . some of which may divert from this policy for a squeaky wheel.

Do contract with a "local" realtor and avoid the stats of those outside the area who claim to be king. While I don't advocate that your new choice in Realtors needs to be the agency around the corner, it should certainly be one within your county of residence.

One comment that peeked my interest was "a restored Victorian in excellent condition." If this property is in a neighborhood where Victorians are not as much appreciated as say, Ocean Grove, NJ., I would anticipate longers days on market being longer than expected.

I hope that you find a better experience in your second choice.

Love and Peace,
Francesca, ePro, SRES
Web Reference:  http://www.PatrizioRE.com
1 vote
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Tue Oct 20, 2009
For ethical reasons, as well as a lack of knowledge as far as what's been going on, I can't recommend that you change Realtors (or firms). However, if you decide to, here are some suggestions:

Some agents (and even some firms) have niches. For a number of years, I lived in the Logan Circle area of Washington, D.C. That area has some of the best Victorians in the city. Some were restored. Some weren't. (The Logan Circle Christmas Tour would highlight 8-10 of the best ones. But that's a different story.) But the point is: There were certain Realtors who specialized in Logan Circle. And there were certain Realtors who specialized in Victorians. If I'd had a restored Victorian in Locan Circle, there were maybe 5 or 6 top agents who specialized in those. They knew pricing. They knew marketing. And they were known by others as the "go to" agents for anyone who wanted to buy a restored Victorian.

Even now that I live in the suburbs, there are certain "go to" agents for different types of property. I live near the town of Clifton, Virginia--a historic, restored Victorian town. And there are some agents who specialize in Clifton.

So, if you change agents, be sure to select one with the reputation, expertise, and experience you need.

Second, some of what you describe is so basic that any agent should be able to handle it--the photos, the videos. There's no excuse for that. The photos and videos should have gone up with the listing. And, for a restored Victorian, they should be spectacular. On the other hand, recognize that open houses usually are a waste. They're usually held to show the client that the agent is doing something. (And to help the agent get a list of potential clients.) They very seldom lead to a home sale. But if yours was botched, then the agents didn't even accomplish what they wanted to: To show you some activity and to get clients for themselves.

Creative advice: If there are historic groups or clubs, network with them. Also, make sure that whoever is doing the marketing is reaching out to relocation services and people who might want to move into the community.

Hope that helps.
0 votes
John Sacktig, Agent, New Jersey, NJ
Wed Oct 21, 2009
Hi Debbie,

Although no one here can solicit your business while your home is listed, you can a Realtor at anytime and speak with that person regarding your listing. As long as you initiate the conversation and request information and other Realtor can come in an talk to you about your home. ( this is in NJ )

Sometimes this happens, that is why I tell ecveryone, when you interview a Realtor, ask to see RECENT items that were put together, like mailings, advertisements, postcards, emails, internet sites.. and so on.. this way you know what you are getting. A lot of Realtors walk around woth a notebook with their best shots and 10 year old clippings and sales. No good. Show me something recent and what you are going to do on a calendar... I want it in my hand.

Good Luck.
1 vote
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Tue Oct 20, 2009
HI Debbie.....................I can undertsand your frustration.

It's difficult to comment from afar, also unethical for me to critique your current broker while you are involved in an ongoing business relationship.

That being said......here are some suggestions and thoughts that I hope might help.

For what it is worth...my company has moved most of our marketing dollars into internet marketing...we have some, but limited print advertising these days, and public open houses are advertised through our internet sources............so, if that's what your current company is doing - it's not that unusual.
Public open houses are generally not a productive way to get a home sold.

As far as a Broker open house, I am not sure why anyone would be reluctant to do that.....it's often the very first active part of marketing I do on a new listing. I just listed a home on Saturday, and had the broker open house today - with lunch served.... to encourage more agents to attend.

In regard to photos and video, or a virtual tour....that is often handled by a professional...........I am not sure what the problems are with that, and certainly you are entitled to an explanation. I usually take the first round of digital photos myself - followed by the professional we use for our virtual tours, who also takes still shots of all the rooms. I then pick the best ones to use.

Here is what I suggest............. sit down with the Broker ASAP........have you own list of questions and suggestions prepared, but more importantly, ask to see their written marketing plan. Ask to see in wiriting what they have planned to do on your behalf - with dates for completion.

It sounds llike you didn't get a written plan in fhr first place, or some of these issues would have been made clear to you. For example, in the written plan I provide, I clearly explain why there will be limited print ads done...so the seller doesn't feel shortchanged later on in the process - they already know what to expect.

During this meeting, you should also ask to have up to the minute market information so that you know where you stand price-wise. Seven weeks have gone by....make sure you know what changes, if any, have occurred with the market. A price adjustment may be called for....but you won't know that until you are informed about the market.

If you have an unusual home, it may take longer to sell than a more "typical" home, but it also takes some more creativity. Make sure you are on every internet site possible (all the usual sites, plus Craigs list, here on Trulia, etc).....Multiple photos are a must......but - GOOD photos are a must - no dark rooms, no cloudy day exterior shots, etc.........along with a virtual tour.....and a full color brochure. Another suggestion is to have an individual domain site for your home...example : http://www..123MainSt.com.........this is something we provide for all our listings.............our signs have riders with that website address, too.

I would give the broker a timeframe in which to enact these things..You are correct - 7 weeks is too long to languish on the market without things begin accomplished.

I hope you will be able to light a fire under someone, and get things moving along. If you feel this isn't possible, then have another discussion with the Broker of record, and ask for an unconditional release, as it's the only way you will be able to move forward with a new Broker.

Best wishes............I hope things progress more smoothly moving forward
Debbie Rose
Prudential NJ Properties
email: Debbie.Rose@PrudentialNewJersey.com
1 vote
Joanne Berna…, Agent, Northfield, NJ
Thu May 31, 2012
Generally, when you work with a realtor, they have applied for the job of helping you sell your home. If you are not happy with their performance then fire them! First I would have a frank discussion with the agent. Tell them you are unhappy and why. Give them a little time to correct their behavior. IF they do not, write a detailed letter to their broker, explain your reasons for your dissatisfaction and that you have not had the agents cooperation in correcting the offending behavior. Be specific! Ask for a release from the listing contract.
It appears that you have followed most of those steps and the broker is trying to make things right by assigning a new agent to help. Print ads are not as effective as they were in days gone by, as we live in an internet driven market market. Most buyers begin their search on the internet months before going out with a realtor. A Brokers Open is worth the effort because it brings other real estate professionals from other companies into your home. They may have someone who would be interested.
I am surprised that after that, the dates and signs were mixed up, but errors do happen.
If you are still this unhappy ask for the release from your contract. Understand that if anyone who saw it during their contract buys it you will still owe a commission to them. Make sure the details are explicitly
spelled out in the release.
0 votes
Maria "Carme"…, Agent, Jersey City, NJ
Fri Oct 23, 2009
Thanks for your words and for checking out my profile further, Debbi.

I wish you also could see my listings that are "Under Contract". Under Contract listings are removed from the market and therefore no longer available for the public to see...

You would have found that many of my listings went under contract in less than 30 days.

The listings you see now include short sale transactions that take a long time to sell...

And even some that have stayed active for longer periods that actually went under contract more than a couple of times, but the buyers were either unable to close the loan or walked away for one reason or another.

I still believe that a beautifully restored Victorian in perfect condition should still have already gotten an offer by now if packaged together with the right combination of ingredients I mentioned before.

And sitting down with your Agent --now would be the right time.

Thanks again and good luck!
0 votes
Debbi(pa), Both Buyer And Seller, 08247
Fri Oct 23, 2009
Maria -

Please see my other Q & A comments about pricing and marketing as they are all related to this and specifically to most agents' easy answer of lower the price.

With all due respect regarding your comment about pricing right, etc., in order to sell within a "couple of weeks," I could not help but notice that Trulia shows one of your current listings at 41 days with most of the rest exceeding 180 days....

So I appreciate your advice but wonder if you are following it yourself. How often in this market does one sell a house in a couple of weeks unless it is truly a give-away???

Maybe those of us who can afford to wait should try to because I don't know how or when this downward trend will end. It's really unfair to those of us making our payments to be penalized by recent comps. and short sales. I feel terrible for those in desparate situations that have no choice, but I really wish the agents in general would come up with some creative strategies.
0 votes
Maria "Carme"…, Agent, Jersey City, NJ
Fri Oct 23, 2009
Misinformation on the Open House dates and signs doesn't help matters, but if the right combination of pricing, packaging, market positioning, advertising and good agency representation exist, you would have gotten an offer within the first couple of weeks.

It must priced right for it's condition, location, features and offerings...

You definitely need to make adjustments somewhere and sometimes, it is agency representation that needs to be revisited.

It's time sit down with your Realtor and have the tough talk.

Maria "Carme" de Sagun
Sales Associate/Coldwell Banker
15 Nardone Place
Jersey City, NJ 07306
Office: 201.963.1400 ext 156
Fax: 862.345.3480
Cell: 678.770.1400
0 votes
Kenneth Verb…, Agent, PRINCETON, NJ
Wed Oct 21, 2009
This market has been a real challenge to sellers. Homes like yours are not common and though lovely (I own a restored victorian myself) they are not what most buyers are seeking. Much as it pains me to say it most are looking for the cookie cutter 4 bed 2 1/2 bath colonials. Many buyers are looking to steal properties. Could you rent your property out at a rate that would cover the expense of carrying it? If not for you ,investors would require this. There are a number of publications that advertise older classic and fine homes. Try to get yours into their sites (even if you have to offer paying a portion up front to bededucted when/if it sells)
Stepping back, 7 weeks isnt a long time in this market, especially for a special property like yours. have you replaced all the old knob and tube wiring, old plumbing, etc? Is your house now "green" ? What are your selling features and are you promoting these to the most likely buyers? You dont need multiple visitors, you need one ready willing and able buyer.
Good luck.
0 votes
Matthew & Ri…, Agent, Northfield, NJ
Tue Oct 20, 2009
Hi Debbi,

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. That is frustrating. Unfortunately not all agents and companies are the same. I would have to ask you a few questions to get a better understanding of your situation and give you your options.

Best wishes,

Web Reference:  http://HavilandGroup.net
0 votes
Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Tue Oct 20, 2009
Hi Debbi(pa), I am so sorry to hear about your lackluster experience with your listing firm/agent. You will need an unconditional release in order to move on to another arrangement - it sounds to me as though you have made an effort to right the situation with the broker. If unkept promises continues as an issue, then I would ask for that release.

With that in hand, you are free to move on without recourse (always good to run the release or any other legal doc for that matter) by an attorney. This go around, focus like a lasar on those things that disappointed you this time. I always recommend reading testimonials and talking with references.

One thing that I am finding is that Agent Effort - and you have pointed out, Firm Effort, makes a great deal of difference to success. While it sounds so simple, as your experience illuminates, what is delivered after promises are made is very uneven.

The key to success = Price + Exposure through traditional and online means + Agent Effort. Adjusting you price is a very good idea - you have lost time, valuable time, and we are heading into slower market conditions. Whatever the history to date, the fact is that after weeks on the market if you have not attracted traffic and an offer, you need to make an adjustment.

Good luck to you Debbi(pa)!
Jeannie Feenick
"Unwavering Commitment to Service"
Search the MLS at http://www.feenick.com
Web Reference:  http://www.feenick.com
0 votes
Debbie Bathen, , 08225
Tue Oct 20, 2009
If you are truely discouraged with the service you have received from your current Brokerage, and nothing has changed in the marketing and results for showings on your property, then you can send a letter to that Broker requesting that you be released from your listing agreement. In most cases, the Broker will honor your request. (Most companies will not force someone to work with them if the relationship is beyond repair).

You should select another Realtor who you feel comfortable with. Ask the questions: Are you a full time agent, How many years of experience do you have, what are the average days on market for a house similar to mine in this area, what is your best mode of getting exposure for buyers on my house, how many sales have you had this year....etc. Be realistic in your expectations too....houses are staying on the market now for a longer period of time, patience is the key. Go with your instincts on which agent you will work with well...most of us know within minutes of meeting someone whether or not there is a connection.

Debbie Bathen
Realtor/Associate-Atlantic County, NJ
RE/MAX Community
609-909-1111 x20
Web Reference:  http://www.debbiebathen.com
0 votes
Janet Larsen, Agent, Turnersville, NJ
Tue Oct 20, 2009
You most likely have a contract that you may not be able to be released from. However, your listing agreement should state that the broker will market your property and you should demand to see what market has been and will be provided for you. It is essential in choosing a Realtor that you find one who is full time, top producing and successful so that you can depend on the agent to provide advertising at their own expense rather then the office advertising. Ask the agent you interview to show you current advertising that they are doing.

Janet Larsen, Broker/Associate
Remax Connection
660 Woodbury-Glassboro Rd, Ste 26A
Sewell, NJ 08080
Web Reference:  http://www.njrealtorjan.com
0 votes
Laura Gianno…, Agent, Manahawkin, NJ
Tue Oct 20, 2009
Have you asked for a list of comparable homes that have sold recently, and checked the days on the market. I understand your frustration, but homes are sitting a little bit longer.

You might also contact the Broker and agents, give them a time frame to work out the kinks. If you are still unhappy with their representation, ask for an unconditional withdrawal and find an agent (through those sold listings) that you feel can get your home sold in the shortest time.

Laura Giannotta
Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore
0 votes
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