R, Both Buyer and Seller in San Francisco, CA

How do I know if I should switch agents to sell my condo? I tried to sell my place (SF) this past spring, lowered the price 3 times with no offers.

Asked by R, San Francisco, CA Sun Sep 6, 2009

Are all agents the same? It seems with the MLS service and a frequent OH schedule, its tough to differentiate between agents in SF. There were places being sold in my neighborhood for similar PSF and amenities- so the pricing was right. Any thoughts?

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Francis Soms…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Sat Mar 7, 2015
If your condo is priced right, is marketed correctly and shows well (has been staged/decluttered/etc.), then your condo should sell quickly in today's market.
1 vote
Michael Novia, , San Francisco, CA
Thu Oct 15, 2009
Hi R,

You are not alone. To date for this year there have been 242 expired and/or withdrawn listing in 94107. Some of those eventually went on to sell but you can see what you are up against. The good news for SoMa home sellers is that new development inventory is really starting to dwindle and developers while still negotiating are not as anxious as they once were - the Infinity tower 2 is now 75% sold, Blu is at just about 50%, Soma Grand is down to their last units etc. I believe this will help home sellers regain some footing. Already according to MLS there are 34 pending sales in 94107. Last October we had a total of 19 sales. So we are seeing a slight uptick in activity. I would suggest that if you are interested in selling, now may need be bad time to try it out.

You mentioned that comparable units were selling for similar ppsf in the neighborhood. Are they truly comparable? Same views? Also, if you are trying to sell at the Beacon for example it's going to be a huge challenge for any agent. There's a reason your unit did not sell and it's impossible to say why at this point - for some reason your property did not connect with buyers. At the end of the day, not all agents are the same, but if you like and trust the person you were using then you should try him/her again. If not, then it may be time to find someone new. A client of mine who recently purchased here in South Beach went through five agents before we started working together. Sometimes that just the way it goes. Good luck!
1 vote
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Sun Sep 6, 2009
Should you change your agent? Selling starts at home long before you hire a Realtor. A good Realtor will take your effort and magnify them with all of their expertise, however, they can only go as far as you allow them to go. What do I mean?

Before you think about firing your Realtor, consider that there are five fundamental things that go into selling your home: slip in any of these areas and YOU reduce your chances of a sale:

1. How Well You Are Motivated To Sell

If you are not motivated to do what is necessary to sell your home, it will be an uphill proposition. Selling starts at home. Motivation means going after the next four items with gusto.

2. How Well Your Home Is Prepared

Preparation is critical: you will be competing against REOs who are currently driving the market downward with artificially low prices.

You have to demonstrate that, at the end of the day, your normal home is actually a superior value and better choice than a low priced REO. Your Realtor needs to be able to help. Many Realtors, understanding how important staging has become, now include it as a complementary part of their services. See the following link for more information:

3. How Well Your Home Is Priced

80% of selling your home is price: after your agent has done their part, you need to step up and deliver. Your home needs to be priced UNDER the competition if you want it to sell. See the following link for more information:

4. How Well Your Home Is Marketed

Your Realtor should be providing numerous professional quality pictures, a virtual tour and so much more. There is no excuse for poor marketing – since all Realtors charge the same, interview until you find one that has an extensive Internet-based marketing plan. You should be able to Google your Realtor’s name and have listings and extensive information about your Realtor pop up right away. See the link below for more information:

5. How Well The Buyer’s Agent Is Compensated

Make sure the buyer’s agent is well compensated for brining a qualified buyer to the table. In the current market, a buyer is everything. Many buyer’s agents view their buyers as assets and direct them to the homes where their “asset” will produce the highest dividend. You may not like this fact, but it is an unfortunate aspect of human nature that you cannot afford to ignore.

Sit down with your current agent and frankly discuss these five areas – see what they say and what kind of a plan they devise. That conversation will determine whether you 'fight or switch.'
1 vote
Joseph Park, , San Francisco, CA
Tue Nov 10, 2009
Well, you'd have to be a realtor to get onto the mls service for which location you are rendering but to top it off and knock your socks off, all agents are the same. They just want your attention to think that you're getting the best deal when in reality, they are just finding you a good deal. Since, your situation is on the selling side, you should tell your agent to take it up a notch because he's the one responsible for shedding light on your property, buddy.
0 votes
JB, Home Buyer, 94107
Sun Sep 20, 2009
As a potential buyer in 94107, let me suggest that perhaps you are priced too high.

It's not the lack of good staging, or flyers, or sufficient postings on Craigslist that makes me call myself a "future buyer" in 94107. For me, there's no lack of visibility for properties on offer. There does, however, seem to be a lack of "reality-based pricing".
0 votes
Joe Salcedo, , San Jose, CA
Sun Sep 13, 2009
Mr. R

I know you are frustrated but my question is how did you know this agent the he specialize in that area where
your condominium is :
1. Did he presented a CMA - Comparable Market Analysis that similar to to your house- when we say
similar property compare to apple to apple that close within 3 to 6 months period?

2.What about Staging the property did he recommend that idea? If not you you should consider staging.
3.Did you see this previous property before? Compare your property to this 3 property.
4.Now you said their are 3 home sold in that area it is currrnet comparable or no

Those are the reasons to look at this time, rather than switch right away. You know it hard to termite a contract with vaalid reasons.

Joe Salcedo
0 votes
Joe Salcedo, , San Jose, CA
Sun Sep 13, 2009
Mr. R

I know you are frustrated but my question is how did you know this agent the he specialize in that area where
your condominium is :
1. Did he presented a CMA - Comparable Market Analysis that similar to to your house- when we say
similar property compare to apple to apple that close within 3 to 6 months period?

2.What about Staging the property did he recommend that idea? If not you you should consider staging.
3.Did you see this previous property before? Compare your property to this 3 property.
4.Now you said their are 3 home sold in that area it is currrnet comparable or no

Those are the reasons to look at this time, rather than switch right away. You know it hard to termite a contract with vaalid reasons.

Joe Salcedo
0 votes
Laura Lambert, , San Francisco, CA
Tue Sep 8, 2009
It is not unusual for a seller to consider switching agents when their property doesn’t sell. This has been a really tough market and when I see situations like yours, both the agent and seller usually bear some responsibility in why a property hasn’t sold. Your agent doesn’t get paid unless the property sells – it is as much in their interest as it is in yours to get it sold quickly!

Every seller wants the highest price for their property, yet some agents make the mistake of succumbing to their seller’s wishes and overpricing a property – this usually results in the property lingering on the market and selling for much less. Once a listing becomes stagnant, the best thing is to remove it from the market and reevaluate your strategy. An old rule of thumb used to be if you price at around 5-10% below the market, you would generate more interest and multiple offers would put you over the asking price.

Most buyers are drawn to homes that are staged and have hardwood floors and updated kitchens. Many sellers are concerned about eroding their equity, and will decide not to pay for staging or cosmetic upgrades (paint, floors, kitchen cabinets/counters), even though these features can make the difference between a quick sale and a discounted sale. I have seen studies that show staged homes provide a 2x return over the staging costs. I also saw a rental study where apartments painted all white leased for less than units with decorator-colored walls.

Most agents have access to the same marketing tools, but you should certainly ask your agent how your property is being marketed and if there is anything else that could be done. Your agent needs to keep a close eye on the market and the competition – the market can change weekly as new properties come on and older listings have price reductions.

Ask your agent for feedback from other brokers and prospective buyers – I always ask buyers what else they are looking at and try to get a feel for what prospective buyers are considering. I can then use this input to adjust our strategy.

Sometimes, a seller may have conflicting goals – for example, a seller who wants a quick sale may not have time to adequately prepare the property for sale, making it unlikely they will get the highest price. Communication is key –you need to make sure to communicate your expectations to your agent.

If your agent is marketing the property and you still aren’t getting ANY requests for showings or offers, you may need to reconsider your pricing.

Good luck!
0 votes
Eileen Bermi…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Mon Sep 7, 2009
Hi, R--I agree with many of the comments of my colleagues. In my experience, the market picked up in June/July, and the market was very slow up until then--particularly in the condo segment. Depending where your property is located, and how well it's priced in comparison to other units (not necessarily only in your immediate area), you may or may not get the price you desire. Buyers are looking for deals, and if your unit is not standing out for one reason or another, it won't sell quickly.

I think open houses and the MLS are key marketing elements, but there really is so much more involved. How much of a connection to the target buyer demographic did your agent have? Were you receiving regular, detailed feedback on individual showings? Was your agent reaching out to the agents who would have the right type of qualified buyer for your unit?

I could go on, but I'd recommend giving it a shot in the next month or so. Check out summer sales data, focus on unit presentation, and list with a sharp agent who knows the market and how to navigate an escrow. The latter is as important as obtaining an offer. Good luck!
Web Reference:  http://insidesfre.com
0 votes
Sally Rosenm…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Mon Sep 7, 2009
Good answers below R. How comparable were those places in your area that sold? Did you see any of them? More importantly did your agent? Did he/she discuss the real diffferences with you for all the comps? When you lowered the price, did you do it quickly or did it sit at the same price for a long period of time? If a unit sits too long on the market, many buyers feel the property becomes old and wonder "what's wrong with it?" Which then makes you chase the the market if you understand what I am trying to say?

Not all agents are the same. Those in larger companies have deeper pockets and can spend more on advertising. Since the Internet is the big thing, did your agent advertise place your listing on every website like Trulia, Craig's List, Zillow, Realtor.com, Homegain, and all the others. It is early in the morning and I cannot think of all the rest of the ones Hill & Co uses.....But really there are 10 to15 sites were you can list your property including many of the LinkedIn major groups, Facebook, personal Newsletters, etc. etc.

The real estate market has been slow. But it is now picking up and in some cases multiple offers are back!
You may have been the victim of the slow market....or perhaps you really were over-priced? Some savvy buyers are making offers below asking or waiting for the price to be lowered. Was your place spruced up with new paint? Was it staged? Was it clean and presentable each time it was shown and on the Sunday Open Houses? Did it you have fresh flowers out to give it some color?

Did your agent do a Saturday open house or a Thursday night wine and cheese party to try and generate business? How many signs were put out on corners advertising the open houses?

In the long run, you should interview at least 2 new agents. They will have a fresh outlook and can advertise it in the MLS and on Tuesday Broker's Tour as new. They must do new CMAs to show you where to price it for today's market and show you their marketing plan.

I am sure everyone who answered would be interested, me included.


Web Reference:  http://www.sallyrosenman.com
0 votes
Rob Regan &…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Sun Sep 6, 2009
You may have been the victim of bad timing. The market is now better than it was this past Spring in San Francisco. So if you were confident in your price, and didn't get it, you just might get it now.

While Sping is usually our strongest selling season, that wasn't the case this year. The stock market dropped dramatically, everyone was concerned about keeping their jobs and the economy in general, and condo and home sales suffered throughout the City.

However, over the past 6 to 8 weeks sales have picked up significantly - probably because the stock market is WAY above it's lows, those who have kept their jobs are feeling confident in keeping them, interest rates have been dropping - and so all of a sudden many sideline buyers are jumping in. Plus, our 2nd best selling season is traditionally the Fall - Sept & Oct - when the weather is at it's best and everyone is back from summer trips. With interest rates just hitting 5%, I'd encourage you to try again right now.

As for whether or not agents are all the same.... many are, but a great agent will stand out, especially if you interview enough agents. You'll get a very thorough market analysis predicting the most likely selling price of your home, a strategy to achieve the high end of it's value range, and a great marketing plan - in particular internet marketing because that's where the Buyers are.

There are many small things that help to get a home sold... and you've got to do them all right. Anyone can put a property in the MLS and open up the door on Sunday, but there's so much more to it if you really know what you're doing.
Web Reference:  http://www.SFisHOME.com
0 votes
Wilma L, , San Mateo County, CA
Sun Sep 6, 2009
How old are the comparables that you have seen?
Web Reference:  http://www.whillamina.com
0 votes
CJ Brasiel, Agent, San Jose, CA
Sun Sep 6, 2009
R -

I agree with many of the comments below. The scenario raises a myriad of questions.

- Did your agent show you comparable sales? Did you see any of these units? Were you able to compare? Why do you think others sold and yours did not?

- Go through the list of turn-offs to buyers: No updates (particularly to kitchen or baths), clutter, "vivid" painting, too much YOU in the house, not on the right floor, next to the dumpster, "smells", etc....

- Did your agent do a broker tour? What was the feedback? What was the feedback from the open houses?

- How much did you lower? Did you get any interest? Are you able to help buyers with closing costs and maybe not lower the price to be competitive with other units? Did you talk to the agents of the units that sold? What kind of activity offers did they get? Were they hard sales or easy? (multiple offers, longer on the market, etc...)

- And last but not least, what was the reason your agent did not think it was selling? If their answer is price and price only you can easily determine the correctness by asking other agents to complete a market analysis. If you only lowered by small increments and you were way high to start, how many times you lowered may not be important as how close did you get to market value.

Tough to answer specifically, but I believe the professionals in your area will be your best resource to understanding what prevented the home from selling.

Web Reference:  http://www.TalkToCJ.com
0 votes
Shaban Shako…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Sun Sep 6, 2009
Agents are very different. There is a wide range of skill sets, marketing plans, commission rates and personalities among agents here. If you took your agent's advice and your home didn't sell, you should interview a few new agents. A good agent will accurately describe the market and properly set your expectations as to what your home is worth and how long it will take to sell. Good luck!

Shaban Shakoori
TRI Coldwell Banker, SF's #1 Office
Web Reference:  http://Www.residentialsf.com
0 votes
John Paul Le…, Agent, Mission Viejo, CA
Sun Sep 6, 2009
Not all agents or real estate companies are the same! Your question is a little sensitive and I do not know the particulars of your market. If you had not had any offers see if you can get a friend to look at your place and be brutally honest with you about the place – aesthetically is your condo really at the level of the similar units that sold? Are you really priced at the market or have you been continually priced above the market as you have agreed to price reductions.
Have a heart to heart with your agent and ask how much that Realtor has spent to market your property. Is your place a premium listing on Realtor.com, has he done a visual tour, do you have the maximum number of photos on the MLS, how do the pictures look, has he done other advertising on the Internet?
What does your agent say when you ask why it has not sold?

just my 2 cents - good luck
0 votes
Jesse Sierra, Agent, Pomona, CA
Sun Sep 6, 2009
Hi R
Did the agents you contracted do a market analysis on available homes along with sold condos in your community?
They should show you where the current market is and if you are confortable with the selling you condo.
Can your condo be financed with an FHA loan?
Are your agents holding open houses? If not, have them hold open houses if you are comfortable with open houses.
Are the agents marketing your home online or around your community?

Hope this helps,

Jes Sierra, B.Sc.
0 votes
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