“I’m totally stressed out because we’ve been on the market for eight weeks and we haven’t even had an offer.” Such were the words of a woman who called me to complain about her real estate agent, who led her to believe that she would have multiple offers after the first week. After she continued on until she sounded exhausted, she took a deep breath and allowed me to say, “Tell me what you think your agent should be doing that she has not.” Her answer, as expected, was, “I have no idea.”
After speaking further, I learned that her agent hadn’t been communicating with her regularly, hadn’t kept her informed about three new listings within a quarter mile of her home, and hadn’t informed her of two price reductions of homes similar to hers, which put her home at the highest price per foot among the four properties in the neighborhood. The agent had been delegating the open houses to a new agent with less experience and not even personally reporting feedback from the open houses. The agent had vanished, using a lock box for showings and never even scheduling a follow-up caravan or twilight open house for agents who may have missed the first broker’s preview.
The open-house signs being used were tattered and should’ve been trashed long before they were put in front of the woman’s house. The agent was offering a low level of care, given that she specializes in selling estate properties above $4 million and this home was not even one-third of that price. One would think an agent selling $4 million to $6 million properties would employ an outstanding photographer and videographer, but the house photos were mediocre at best.
I never knock my competitors, but this was a case where the agent was blatantly at fault. The agent had been recommended by the woman’s colleague, who had owned and sold an estate property with the agent quite successfully—but, in retrospect, at slightly below the true market value. Common sense tells me that anyone can sell a property below value, so why would you hire an agent to do that?
It’s not always the agent’s fault when a house stalls on the market. Sometimes an agent is very upfront and the owner just gets stubborn, defensive, or unwilling to make pricing adjustments for things such as a poor floor plan, a lack of usable yard, a dysfunctional kitchen, old and undersized bathrooms, or a lack of a master suite. Perhaps the home is on a busy street, near a freeway, or adjacent to a three-story apartment building.
Perhaps they came to the market overpriced and then either wait too long to reduce or reduce too little and need to do a second price reduction to cover the first two mistakes. By then, the home has become stale and everyone has started to keep their distance, thinking there must be something wrong with it. Maybe interest rates started jumping the week you went on the market, or a big stock market blip followed just days before you did so. That would be unfortunate timing, but things happen.
Not every house gets multiple offers or sells within its first 10 days on the market. My advice is to do your homework in advance and find yourself an outstanding agent.
Here are some additional guidelines to keep in mind:
1. Interview for a top agent with experience in your neighborhood and in your price range.
2. Review all comparable sales and be realistic about how your property stacks up, making proper adjustments for condition, floor plan, upgrades, and location.
3. Price your home competitively.
4. Review every new listing, price reduction, and sale nearby, and stay totally informed.
5. Communicate regularly with your agent.
6. Have a cancelation/escape clause in your contract in case your agent fails to adequately perform.
7. Take your time making decisions, and don’t let yourself be pushed.
8. Follow your intuition, because it’s generally right.
For more information, please call Ron Wynn at 310-963-9944 or email him at Ron@RonWynn.com. To find out more about Ron and read his past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at Creators.com. Copyright 2021 Creators.com