What to do if agent doesn't seem to be working hard on your behalf?

Asked by Dlb, Centennial, CO Fri Dec 5, 2008

Our agent doesn't seem to be working hard on our behalf. It truly feels like he is just trying to wait out the 60 day marketing period until the corporation buys our house. He won't get commission from that, but I think he is counting on the listing from the corporation, and he knows the corporation will probably drop the price to mid 800... $150,000 under what we have it listed for now. Why wouldn't he be busting his hump now, where he could make more commission and keep him comps up in the neighborhood? What recourse do we have if we feel he isn't doing right by us? I am really tempted to tell the corporation, if they do buy it, to get another realtor. They will listen, because they are out of town and don't know him at all, and won't be in this market again at all. What should we do?

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PH, , Griffith, IN
Fri Dec 5, 2008
Dlb, I see 7 questions in here from you. You seem to be very suspicious of both the intentions and expertise of your realtor. That does not sound like a very good working relationship to have and makes me wonder how you chose this realtor to begin with. And please, by the way, know whether you have a REALTOR(R) or not. Every real estate agent is not a REALTOR(R)! As for what you can do... what you call busting his hump and what he thinks it is may be entirely different. Ask him to give you a weekly update on exactly what he's done. What web sites are you listed on, does he make flyers for the drive by lookers, is he holding open houses, sending out postcards, is he calling other realtors who service the area, is there a virtual tour of your home, are there multiple good pictures in your multiple listing service, is he even a subscriber to a multiple listing service? All of these things should have been asked before you employed him as your listing agent but better late then never. If, after he accounts to you what he IS doing, if you are still displeased you can cancel the listing agreement. It is an employment contract in essence and you have a right under most circumstances to fire someone you employ. Usually the first step to that is calling his broker (who is responsible for actions of the agents) and see if the broker can light a fire under his butt or reassign it to an agent that you can get a fresh start with. If you still have questions, feel free to drop me an email. Pamela@HowellHomeTeam.com
1 vote
James Joseph, , 06281
Thu Dec 18, 2008
Hi Dlb,

Fire your agent.
You should not need to manage your sale and pay for inefficiency as well.

Make sure you do inform the company of this poor performance.

All the best,
James Joseph
0 votes
Irene Borz, Agent, San Jose, CA
Thu Dec 18, 2008
Ask you agent to provide you with realistic comps and list of the performed activities on daily basis.
Today every single day counts. If you don't feel he goes extramile - change the agent.

2 things are very important:
be realistic about current prices and market trends and work with somebody who really CARES.

Call me, if you have any questions:
Irene Borz, Countrywide approved REO Broker, licensed in California since 1997:

Web Reference: http://www.bankownedhomesandlots.com
0 votes
Dlb, , Centennial, CO
Thu Dec 18, 2008
Clarification: I didn't say the agent was greedy. I just think that he is not putting in effort until the corp. takes over and the price is drastically cut. He knows that we won't drastically cut, because we won't leave our neighbors that go to sell next saying that we ruined their comps. I think that in this economy, the agent should be doing more than the standard work, and we are getting less.
0 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Thu Dec 18, 2008
It truly feels like he is just trying to wait out the 60 day marketing period until the corporation buys our house. He won't get commission from that, but I think he is counting on the listing from the corporation, and he knows the corporation will probably drop the price to mid 800... $150,000 under what we have it listed for now. Why wouldn't he be busting his hump now, where he could make more commission and keep him comps up in the neighborhood?
The first sentence above contradicts the last. Either the agent is greedy or isn't. You need to talk to the agent. Obviously you are not communicating.
0 votes
David Chambe…, , Saint Petersburg, FL
Thu Dec 18, 2008
It has been 13 days since you posted this, if the lines of communication haven't opened up yet then move fast. Find another agent or talk to the broker. If you are looking for another agent read this http://www.trulia.com/blog/david_chamberlain/2008/12/how_to_… or print it and ask your agent to do an open house as described.
0 votes
Tracy Johns, Agent, Cincinnati, OH
Thu Dec 18, 2008
Dlb-Relocation companies typically ask for periodic updates as to what marketing efforts the agent has performed. Asking for something like this will help make it clear as to whether or not the agent is working hard to get your home sold. Updates showing the neighborhood's active, pending and sold sales activity could be helpful in setting expectations, too.

The problem could be the agent's communication skills, not his work ethic. If you and he are not on the same page regarding the list/sale price, that would be a different issue. You indicated that your relocation company would reduce the home approximately 20% once it goes into inventory. If the agent believes the home is currently over priced by 20%, I think you've found the problem. The price.

Who set the price?

You can feasibly still save your company money on the buyout, just maybe not as much as you'd intended.

Why wait for day 60 and the relo company to reduce the list price on the house? Here's a question I love to be asked as a realtor myself--"what do you think it will take to get this home sold in 60 days?" It's a proactive type question and begets a game plan. Go with a plan. . .
Tracy Johns
RE/MAX Unlimited
0 votes
Susan Sestak, Agent, Prescott Valley, AZ
Tue Dec 9, 2008
Communication is really the key here and perhaps sitting down with your agent and the office broker will help to clear the air and put all the expectations on the table. Homes in this price point have a longer market time in general as they require a Buyer with a downpayment and excellent credit history to obtain financing. Both are hard to find in this market and this time of year.

Corporate relocation companies usually have preferred working relationships with brokerages, so in all likelyhood the listing will change anyway.

Work together with your agent and try to clear the air remembering the reasons you chose the listing agent in the first place.
0 votes
Sheri Mapes, Agent, Mason, OH
Sun Dec 7, 2008
Hello Dlb:

As a Listing Realtor, I give my sellers full service. I give them a weekly update of activity around their property. I email them a weekly CMA. Then I have a phone conversation with them about the recent activity. They can see what their direct competition is. That is truly the way to know what the buyer's are willing to buy right now. Again, if the comps support your price and you have plenty of time and you know your absorption rate of time on market, you can tweek it as you go. It is proven with statistics that pricing a home right out of the gate is more important than anything else. The buyer activity is the greatest in the first 2 weeks than any other time on the market. Again, if your agent does the "Reverse Prospecting" to see how many buyers are in the MLS system looking for homes in your area and price point, you can make the most of your time on market to get it SOLD. Good luck with the sale of you home!

Sheri Mapes the "Cincy House Expert"
0 votes
David B. Lev…, , Longboat Key, FL
Sun Dec 7, 2008
simple issues commuication. discuss your concerns with the agent. do not get me wrong sometimes properties are just not selling. I do alot of open houses and sometimes still nothing, question is are other properties in your neighborhood selling and getting shown and not yours if so then why and a real serious talk needs to occur for if things are selling then it is 1 of 3 issues 1.Price, 2. location 3. Condition of the home. If nothing is selling in your area nothing you can do but wait, reduce your home to a realistic price, or hold it for now and rent it out
Web Reference:  http://www.floridahomes.cc
0 votes
Trey Miller, , Tampa, FL
Sat Dec 6, 2008
Hi Dib,
I just read this and your other post and I agree that you need to have a meeting with your agent. He/she should be updating you at least every 10 days with the market activity on your home. If you are really not satisfied you do have the option of selecting another agent from the same brokerage. Sometimes a particular agent is just not a good fit.

As for the appraisal value, it depends on what the appraisal was for. Value, refinance, insurance, taxes. Each one of these will have a different value and each appraisal by a different appraiser will be somewhat different. In the end, the market will tell you what is a good asking price by its feet. In other words, if your home is being shown regularly its a price that is attractive to buyers. Otherwise buyers are seeing it and bypassing your home because it doesn't present a good value compared to the other homes available.

Good luck and I hope everything works out for you.

Trey Miller
Prudential Tropical Realty
Web Reference:  http://www.TampaTrey.com
0 votes
Dlb, , Centennial, CO
Sat Dec 6, 2008
Just an update to clarify. We choose the realtor based on reputation. We ended up setting a price that was $40 under the current inventory on market (per square foot) and at least $10 (planned) under what has sold in 2008 (per square foot). We did all the research ourselves to come up with those numbers. Also, by US doing all the work and putting cases together to support our appraisal issues, we just got revised appraisal number today... now 908 (versus 832).

My question still stands. Do you think that our realtor is just biding time until the corp. takes over, knowing the price will drop and it will be easier to sell?
0 votes
Jim Mellen, Agent, Williamsburg, VA
Sat Dec 6, 2008

Working hard and getting results are not always congruous. If your home is getting shown he probably is working harder than you think. We are in a tough buyers market. We have lots of inventory in most regions, very motivated sellers, low interest rates, but we are missing an important component-the motivated buyer.

As an active listing and selling agent, I can tell you a lot of time,money and energy is spent on my sellers behalf and rarely do they know how much. I can communicate with them and give them all kinds of details about the market and what I'm doing to market the home, but the only real measurable result is showing activity. If your home is not getting shown ask why.

Since you are part of a corporate relocation make sure you are being realistic and not greedy. If your company is paying closing costs/commissions etc make sure you are aggressive with your price and terms. I've seen too many corporate relocations where sellers attempt to "double dip" from the buyer and relocation deal and the home stays on the market far longer than if they took advantage of being able to sell below market value, quicker and not really cost themselves any money.

Communicate with your agent. If they truly aren't working hard you'll know by how much information thay can or can't provide. But if your expectations are unrealistic no amount of hard work will make you happy or get the results you want.
Web Reference:  http://www.JimMellen.com
0 votes
Jennifer Mal…, , West Nyack, NY
Sat Dec 6, 2008
Hi, Dlb:
Interesting that you say that the corporation will drop the price to $150K less than what it is listed for now. How did you come up with the current list price? Did you choose it, or did your real estate agent do a market analysis to justify the price? Did you take into account whether your house is in a declining area?

About 80% of the marketing of a home is the sales price! You could hire the most talented marketer in the world, but if the house is overpriced, it will not sell. Especially in this market, buyers are really savvy, and are negotiating fiercely. If given a choice between an overpriced house, and a house that is perceived as a better value, the better value will get the offer every time.

If your listing agent went with a price that you wanted to get, rather than what the market would bear, then you might be right that he is hoping to pick up the listing for a realistic price from the corporation. It is not in the seller's best interest to market a house at the wrong price.

It is time for you to have a open, honest conversation with your real estate agent about your feelings and suspicions. Ask to get an updated market analysis, and an accounting of the marketing already completed and the marketing planned. If you are not satisfied after your conversation, you can speak to the real estate agent's manager. Still no solution? Then review your contract to determine what the ramifications are of cancelling the listing.
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Sat Dec 6, 2008

Be direct and have a open and serious conversation with the agent that outlines all of your concerns. Allow them to lay out a plan to correct the problems before you ask for your listing agreement to be cancelled.

It may be adventagious to request the agents manager or broker to be present.

Be prepared to hear about how bad the market has been. Don't allow this....bring them back to reviewing their marketing plan for your property.
0 votes
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