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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: wward6 on May 25, 2014, 07:11:35 AM

Title: Finding a good Realtor
Post by: wward6 on May 25, 2014, 07:11:35 AM
Greetings fellow Mustachians,

I'm trying to sell my home single family 3 bedroom home.  I've just gotten rid of my 4th Realtor and I'm quickly losing hope.  Every Realtor I've had has promised much more than they delivered, they've passed me off to assistants, failed to get any showings, etc.  I need to find a new Realtor and I just don't know what to do.  I've googled "how to find the best realtor" and tried to follow those steps, I interview them, I ask them several questions about their background/stats, I've looked up their references and reviews online.  Generally they all have had good ratings and say the right things.

I realize Realtors can't work magic, but its not just the fact that I've gotten zero offers in 3 years.  They just don't come through at all, they promise things like brochures and don't do them, etc.  I have a great house at a good price (similar or better than other houses in the area) and I live out of state now so I'm in a real tough position.  Any advice is greatly appreciated.

- Update:
I'm with Chase, I'll have to see if they have something like that ysette9.
Yes, I agree, my price was too high, I just lowered it actually.  Still though, I think I've had some Realtors that weren't the best.
Unfortunately I have tenants, so although it means I'm not losing money, they could leave any time and its hard to find new ones.  They are fairly good about letting me show the house, but it still isnt' a great situation since although the house is kept neat, its still a little cluttered.  I live out of state so I can't sell it myself.  Because I have renters, I can't go in and change the look of the place, etc. like on HGTV.  It's a tough situation.
Thank you all for the advice.
Title: Re: Finding a good Realtor
Post by: ysette9 on May 25, 2014, 07:53:10 AM
Hmm, you've been trying to sell your house for three years and been unsuccessful? What is the real estate market like in your area? Without knowing anything about your situation, I wonder first if you are not pricing the house to sell.

To your question: what bank/financial institution are you with? We are with USAA and they have a home-buying/selling program where you can work through them and they will set you up with one of their pre-screened local real estate agents. I haven't actually used the service yet myself, but that would be a good place for us to start if we were in your shoes. Also, have you asked around locally for recommendations from people in your old neighborhood who have bought or sold recently?
Title: Re: Finding a good Realtor
Post by: Another Reader on May 25, 2014, 08:06:10 AM
If you have been through four agents in three years with zero offers, the problem is very simple.  The property is overpriced.  Did each of these agents give you a CMA when you listed the property?  Did you take their advice about pricing the property?  Agents don't "get showings."  They market the property and handle the negotiations.  A potential buyer decides if the property is worth seeing.  The likely reason the agents started passing you off to assistants is that they knew the property was overpriced, and you would not lower the price.  No commissioned salesperson is going to invest time in trying to sell something that is not saleable.

Is this a property you own outright?  Are you paying a mortgage on it?  Even if you own it outright, you are losing money every day it sits on the market in the form of opportunity cost.  In your shoes, I would ask several good agents what price it would take to get a firm offer in 60 days.  List in that price range (not at the very top or above it) and it should sell.
Title: Re: Finding a good Realtor
Post by: socaso on May 25, 2014, 08:13:27 AM
That's awful! I'd be at the end of my rope, too. If it were me I think I'd try the FSBO thing but I am a very DIY person anyway and that might not be your thing. You don't mention this in your post but perhaps in the interviews you could question them closely about what the schedule of events is going to be in promoting your house and then you draw up a timetable based on that (i.e. brochures printed by this date, first open house by this date, if no movement on the house then lower the price on this date) and if they don't live up to their end of the contract then you have the option to cancel. The last thing I can think of is staging. If this hasn't been done or suggested by any of the realtors then perhaps you need to address this yourself. There is lots of information about staging on HGTV's website and based on my rather obsessive viewing of HGTV's programming I'd say a lot of the time it comes down to decluttering (renting a storage space if you need to) and freshening up (making the entry look inviting, make the bathrooms look updated, repainting a room or two if they look dingy) There are professionals you can hire to do this but after doing some research you may feel you can handle it on your own. You could ask some friends or family to come over and help you objectively evaluate your house on the grounds of visual appeal.
Title: Re: Finding a good Realtor
Post by: Annf on May 25, 2014, 09:15:35 AM
I agree with Anotherreader. If you REALLY want to sell your house for top dollar, get rid of the tenants, have it staged and the yard cleaned up and price it aggressively. If you don't want to do those things then the rule in real estate is "there is nothing price can't overcome."  So that means if you do nothing then it needs to be priced below market value to move it.
Title: Re: Finding a good Realtor
Post by: chasesfish on May 25, 2014, 09:37:32 AM
My first rule that isn't perfect is use google and find your area association of realtors.  Look at who the elected officers are, they're generally a better than average choice.

You can also often find on those sites awards for sales.  That'll show you who the top agents are based on production (ie closed transactions) in a market.

10% of the real estate agents in any market move substantially all the property.  Many of the rest just talk up a good game.
Title: Re: Finding a good Realtor
Post by: Another Reader on May 25, 2014, 09:38:03 AM
Renters make it virtually impossible to sell the property to an owner-occupant.  These buyers want a property they can occupy at close of escrow.  Their financing likely requires them to occupy the house within 60 days.  Houses occupied by messy tenants are not very appealing.  If there are other houses on the market, buyers move on to the next house, if they even bother to look at yours.

To sell this house for top dollar in a market dominated by owner-occupant buyers, get the tenants out, do the repairs and paint, and possibly stage the house.  To get rid of the house with the tenant in place, you will have to price it low enough to attract an investor or wait until you are near the end of the lease and price the house at or below the low end of the range of the comps.  Price fixes everything, as the saying goes.
Title: Re: Finding a good Realtor
Post by: chasesfish on May 25, 2014, 09:46:04 AM
I just tested out something.

Google "City Name" Association of Realtors Awards.

It brought up the news story of this year's award banquet in my city and specifically listed the two two realtors and then the next seven based off closed transactions.   I think you've done enough experimenting with different agents, hire one of the top people and price the house for what they say you can sell it for.
Title: Re: Finding a good Realtor
Post by: Hamster on May 25, 2014, 10:56:40 AM
If you are getting no offers in 3 years, there is something very wrong and it's probably price, not the agent (s). It is in their interest to sell your house. They get paid nothing for their time until the transaction closes.

Like the others said, either you are pricing it WAY too high, or the tenant situation is scaring people off. Even after lowering the price... Is this a price you chose, and is it in line with the agents' pricing recommendations? If you are out of state, you may have an unrealistic view of the market where you are trying to sell? Tell the agent to be brutally honest woth you, and trust that, although their interests aren't exactly the same as yours, they want the house to sell, just like you do.

The other issue is that if it's been sitting on the MLS for 3 years, that can make buyers very nervous. Again, a good price can overcome that.

I've never heard of an agent not printing fliers at the very least, but if you are pricing it unrealistically, I understand them not throwing away their own money to market it aggressively when they have no expectation of ever earning that money back since they know it won't sell.

If you think the problem is marketing, maybe you could pay upfront for the marketing (photos, RealEstate Book ad, etc) in exchange for them lowering their portion of the commission so you would be taking on the risk, but everyone would still come out even if it sells.
Title: Re: Finding a good Realtor
Post by: sobezen on May 25, 2014, 03:18:39 PM
Thanks for sharing about your property situation.  As others have commented, the issue may extend beyond just the proficiency of the previous realtors.  You mentioned, the property is tenant occupied, can you tel us more?  For example, what state is the property located?  Are the tenants, protected tenants status?  Were they cooperative during showings?  Sometimes tenants can be difficult when owners decide to show a property, what was your situation?  Also did you obtain or request from your realtors a comparable market analysis?  Since your property was listed on three separate occasions by three different realtors, odds are the selling strategy used did not match the market price and demand.  This would be one of the top concerns I would review before proceeding. Looking forward to hearing more.
Title: Re: Finding a good Realtor
Post by: frugaliknowit on May 26, 2014, 11:27:32 AM
Your situation has nothing to do with the realtor(s) competence in marketing.  A reasonably priced property (for it's condition) will sell within 3 years just sitting on the MLS and no marketing (former realtor here...).

I would invest in a professional appraisal given that you've apparently been snowed (either the realtors are wrong or they do not have the courage to tell you the truth).  If you are convinced the tenants are hindering the sale, consider emptying it out, staging it, then re-marketing it (at an appropriate price).  Depending on how the system MLS works, you definitely want it to appear as a "new listing", which might require a break in marketing.  3 years is very stale!  Personally, I've marketed and sold tenant occupied without big problems.