On the market for a year with NO showings. What would you do?

Real Estate Agent with HER Realtors

 Ohio                                 Real estate is so local. I had a call  from a consumer Monday who has a home that has been on the market for a year.   He is in a small town, or probably out of town as the home is historic (built in the 1800's), it is huge and on acreage.  There's 'gotta be' great stories about the home. Who built it, who owned it...  

He found me "on the internet"  I think his question was about the market in Ohio but I told him he was listed in the wrong MLS.

The house is outside of my market area. I knew the bigger, little town when he mentioned it (population 22,000 +/_) I have actually been there a couple of times.  It is just about an hour away from Columbus. I did not recognize the two smaller towns he is located near but I looked them up.  Isn't modern mapping grand?  

He's had the property on the market for a year with a real estate agent with a name brand company out of one of the big C's. In Ohio only cities starting with C get really big, Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati..  Akron, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown never stood a chance.  The property has been listed in the MLS of one of the big cities for a year with no showings.  By my calculations the property is over an hour from the market where his real estate agent is (but maybe she is on the edge of that market.) 

Ohio Geography for those out of state: Columbus is smack dab in the middle of the state.  Cleveland is up on Lake Erie in northeast Ohio.  Cincinnati is in the southwest part of the state.  Cross the river from Cinci and you are in Kentucky.  The Cincinnati airport is in Kentucky.

This man's property is between two big Ohio cities that start with C.  Who should he be listed with?  A local agent?  An agent in one of the bigger cities? An agent who specializes in luxury properties?  An agent who specializes in historic properties as the house was built in the 1840's?

Population of the bigger town, maybe it is a city: "Population (year 2000): 21,796. Estimated population in July 2005: 22,081 (+1.3% change)"*

Population of the smaller town:  "Population (year 2000): 213. Estimated population in July 2005: 218 (+2.3% change)"*

Population in between town (in between town sizewise it is actually in another county from the two communities above closer to the Big C whose MLS it is listed in)  Population (year 2000): 4,906. Estimated population in July 2005: 5,146 (+4.9% change.)  

This is for the bigger town, the big city in the area:

"Estimated median household income in 2005: $32,100 (it was $32,500 in 2000)"

"Estimated median house/condo value in 2005: $71,100 (it was $62,900 in 2000)"

His large home on over 10 acres is priced considerably higher, I don't think he told me what price range it is in but it is not the average home in the market. 

Our Columbus MLS has listings in one of the counties two of the  communities he mentioned are in.  Not a lot of listings.   I don't know if there is another MLS there too.  I did not know that we did have listings in that county in our MLS when I was on the phone with him.  I kinda know where his property is but knowing the age, location, square footage and lot size, I can't find the house.  I am not finding fault with the listing agent. Maybe it is not officially on the market right now.  Maybe I am not that good at finding property via searches meant for consumers.   

My parents advertised their rural Wisconsin home in Chicago papers when they were For Sale By Owner (ouch, ouch, double ouch) thinking a buyer for their home on acreage would come from outside the area.  A local real estate agent sold their home after a long time on the market, long after their FSBO stint. Maybe this is why I believe listings should be local.

I think the man I spoke with should be listed with someone in his market. I think real estate is local.  I think he ought to be listed with someone who has a great internet platform, someone who will do his property justice, but is that possible in a rural area?  I see one ActiveRain profile in one county where his house might be.  The second county there is no on on Active Rain.  Maybe I am wrong....  maybe it would be impossible for a local agent to sell it.

Do you list property an hour a way?  Is an hour away in an urban area different than an hour away in a rural area?

Dave Johnston is the "Old House Man"  in Virginia, he covers a lot of ground but it is a niche, Antique Properties. Is there an Ohio version of Dave Johnston?  If this house is primarily an old house... historic property (mansion) should it  be listed with someone like Dave? Or should the home be listed with someone with luxury home selling credentials in one of the big C's?  Maybe the house is  just listed in the wrong big C... The property is a few minutes closer toTrendgraphix graph for all counties Columbus than the city it's been listed in for a year with no showings. Or is it just the Ohio market?

What advice would you give this man? List local? List luxury?       

"The Columbus Board of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service (MLS) serves all of Franklin, Delaware, Fayette, Madison, Morrow and Union Counties and parts of Champagne, Clark, Licking, Fairfield, Knox, Logan, Marion and Pickaway Counties." according to our board magazine.  Maybe this is old, maybe  the Columbus Board of REALTORS® MLS  now "serves" parts of the county the smallest and largest communities the consumer  mentioned. There is a category for that county in our MLS.  The middle sized community is one county over. 

Population information is from City-Data.com


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Maureen McCabe, Real Living HER, 614-825-8842


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Greg Cremia
Shore Realty of the Outer Banks - Nags Head, NC
It is not about the distance as much as it is about your knowledge of and comfort level in the market area. I think you already made your decision when you said, "The house is outside of my market area."
Jun 19, 2007 01:06 AM #2
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Mmm.  I wouldn't give him any adivce since he's represented by another broker.  That said, it seems clear, even for simple minded folks, that a home should be listed in the MLS where the house is located. 

He clearly has a basis for a complaint against the listing broker.  What happened to him would be a matter for the Guaranty Fund in MD and VA.  Perhaps Ohio too, I don't know.  But, nothing will happen.  He'll probably relist with the same people.  It's probably a friend of a friend and he's suffering from the Stockhold Syndrome. 

We're fortunate to have a very comprehensive regional MLS that covers my entire market area and more.

I flagged this post.  This is good "hard core" real estate information. 

Jun 19, 2007 01:14 AM #3
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Paul:He may need to do a co-list,someone local, someone fitting the niche.  There is no one on ActiveRain in one of the two counties the property could be in.  There is someone with 600 points (not a full profile) in the other county if my memory serves me right.  So a local active ActiveRainer is not the answer now.  Thanks for the comment.

Greg: I don't believe he was contacting me about listing it.  I think he called to ask me why he was not getting showings on his property because of my blogging about the market in Central Ohio.  Thanks for the comment.   

Jun 19, 2007 01:15 AM #4
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

I don't think he has a complaint against the listing broker.  Gee Lenn I did not even think of not answering his question because he is represented.  I will have to start think WWLD before I return calls or blog about it. 

Stockholm syndrome?  I believe the listing agent is someone a friend recommended.  There are listings in our MLS that are in Dayton,  small towns outside our mls. 

Jun 19, 2007 01:18 AM #5
Judy Cicalese
William Raveis Real Estate - New Canaan, CT
Market Knowledge-Social Media Savvy 203-638-7812
Our MLS now covers the whole state but I would never list a property in an area that I'm not familiar with - sure I could go there but why would I?  I stick to my county(fairfield county in CT).  My family lives 25 miles from me in New Haven county but I would not list a property for them - I don't think you do the Seller any service by listing in an area you don't have the knowledge of the local market but sometimes desperation kicks in.  Then I have Sellers tell me I'm going to use a Agent from down county because that's where the people are moving from.  I tell them - if I were moving down county, I would use a down county Agent who can advise me properly.
Jun 19, 2007 01:44 AM #6
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County
I would not list any property I was not knowledgeable of the area in which it is located. Also, because it is so far away, I would look for a referral or co-list agent.
Jun 19, 2007 02:08 AM #7
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

The question is here for the consumer. What would you suggest to someone who contacted you re: why aren't they getting showings on their home, it's been on the market a year.  

My initial thought was list local.  Maybe that is just my prejucdice.  Consumers looking for a home in X are not going to be working with an agent whose properties are listed in Y.  I know it must be tempting to take a phenomenal listing but if it is not in your market how do you advertise it.  Maybe the agent has done all kinds of local advertising of the listing (in her local.)  Maybe it is or was advertised on the internet and anyone looking for this kind of home from anywhere in the universe should be able to find it.  Our MLS in Columbus (Central OHio) seems more separate than MLS's in some parts of the country but I know there are small MLS's north and east of us where there is overlap. 

List local with someone who knows the area who will co-list with someone in a bigger market?  

Do agents in smaller communities use the internet less than those in bigger cities, more suburban areas? Thanks Gary and Judy for your comments.  

Jun 19, 2007 02:46 AM #8
Joan Mirantz
Homequest Real Estate - Concord, NH
Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire

Maureen...On the surface it looks like an MLS exposure issue. We are not an especially urban State but our MLS covers the whole State. Our input info goes by County but if doing a search you just leave out that(County) as a criteria. Many town are convenient to more than one County so properties can then be eliminated by distances.

A good Buyers Agent will refer out a Client who is interested in a property out of where they want to work!

It may also be price vs. condition. Who knows how accurate that is...the Seller is definitely not the best judge."Everyman's home is a castle"...it may be a ??? house

I personally don't go more than 45min. I need to know an area before I'm comfortable in representing it!

Many agents in the Southern part of the Sate list quite a distance and rely on lock-boxes!

Jun 19, 2007 05:41 AM #9
Leigh Brown
Leigh Brown & Associates, RE/MAX Executive - Charlotte, NC
CEO, Dream Maker - Charlotte, NC
I wouldn't say that agents in smaller communities use the internet less-around here, there are some really savvy agents in the small pockets around town.  If it were me as the listing agent (which it probably wouldn't be since I refer anything that far away to a local specialist), I would consider co-listing if only to get the property into 2 MLSs.  Honestly, I'd think that if you chose the RIGHT local agent-that person would be reaching out into the other area to capture buyers if that's where they come from...
Jun 19, 2007 05:42 AM #10
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Well I did find the house on Realtor.com not sure why I could not find it yesterday.  It is an active listing so hopefully I have said nothing to identify the house.  It is a listing somewhere in Ohio, listed in an MLS in a city that is big and starts with C.  

Joan and Leigh thanks for your comments.

The Central Ohio market uses Supra lockboxes in most cases. The listing agent is seldom present for showings.  I would doubt most people in our market list a lot of homes over 30 minutes away from their home / office but I could be totally wrong.  It is pretty easy to get around in Central Ohio, 20 to 25 minutes... depending on traffic.  We think we have traffic but people from other markets say we don't know traffic.  Things are pretty local it seems.  

Jun 19, 2007 10:29 AM #11
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

In our area MLS, we have area 99, it is for listings outside our MLS............way out. Of course no one lists there. So it is a complete waste of time. Also there is another MLS near us that we data share with;however, they don't know the AREA to place it in so it gets dumped into area 89. HUMMM, now how many Ann Arbor agents look there ? not many.

It is a disservice to the seller, but many times they know the agent or are related. But, the marketing time is much, much longer.

Jun 19, 2007 02:27 PM #12
Robin Willis
Tucson Expert Agents LLC - Tucson, AZ
CDPE, SRES, Designated Broker
Perhaps he could list local with someone who will advertise in areas where buyers looking for historic homes are typically located.  Also, do some of his local agents belong to both MLS's?  If so, that would seem to be ideal.
Jun 19, 2007 02:48 PM #13
Kaye Thomas
Real Estate West - Manhattan Beach, CA
e-PRO, Manhattan Beach CA

I just don't think it's ever a good idea to list outside of the local area.. unless the agent lives in the area and works in a different area..  then maybe it's not too bad as the agent at least knows the area.. 

Jun 19, 2007 06:45 PM #14
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Missy: I think we have four "out of area areas" in our mls.  They are Oh1, Oh2, Oh3, and Oh4 and I think they are NW, NE, SW, SE (not sure if that is the numbers or order) It works OK because we are the middle of the state. I looked the other day to see if it all expires or if it is withdrawn.  There were some solds. Especially in the area east of Columbus, but they were in a vacation areaa, just outside our MLS. There are properties in Dayton, Gallipolis ...towns I don't have a clue about too.

Robin:  Maybe people there belong to one of the big MLSs too. 

Kaye: You have to know the area to sell it. 

Thanks for the comments.

Jun 19, 2007 09:56 PM #15
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Sounds like you know the area well, Marueen. Tough scenario. I don't list property that far away - wouldn't know enough to truly be helpful, and too inconvenient for me to be effective. Sounds like the best plan is a qualified local agent who can provide the right marketing and knowledge for that type of property. Perhaps a referral?


Jun 20, 2007 02:50 AM #16
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

I don't know the market in that part of the state at all.  I had no clue when I was on the phone with him that our board has an area for that county in our MLS. I don't know if I even ventured a guess while I was on the phone with him what county the bigger of the towns (the only one I had heard of ) was in.       


Jun 20, 2007 04:25 AM #17
David M. Childress
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Akron, OH
I would love to be your Realtor® in Akron Ohio!

Geez, Maureen, I was just on Localism and started reading and there you were. Interesting question.

There had to be a local agent that he should have talked to. Just going with a big broker doesn't mean anything. Seems every small town has local agents or maybe agent! Maybe I am wrong.

I resemble the C remark, I think Akron has much more to offer these days than Cleveland, I know you meant size, but size does not matter, quality does! Regards, David

Jul 23, 2007 03:19 PM #18
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate
totally talking size. Cleveland had a lot to offer when I lived in Akron. The smaller citiies are nice for smaller cities. I've lived in Akron and Dayton.
Jul 23, 2007 09:15 PM #19
I got to agree . . . .

If you've got a house that old (1800's) and no one's interested, chances are it may be haunted.



Sep 02, 2007 12:42 AM #20
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Thanks Ruben, but I think you'd get showings on a haunted house if it was being marketed in the right AREA and if it was priced right.

Sep 02, 2007 12:58 AM #21
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