Listing to sell NOT signing to fail!

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC BK607690

 Hi folks. I wrote a post this week titled "My Poinciana "Peeps" Need Me!". It was basically about the things I do to get my listings sold in this more difficult market or any market for that matter. There were two questions that were asked in the comments that I want to address in this post. The first one was asked by Bridget McGee. "How do you get the sellers to get it?" And the second was "How do you get people to price their homes aggressively?" asked by Kevin & Sherry Spengal.

These folks are really asking the same thing "How do we get Sellers to agree to our pricing?" Let me see if I can give you some insight on this and maybe help you in your business. One thing is for sure, if you want to be a successful listing agent you have to get the pricing right and you have to get the Sellers to agree with you. The quickest way to fail, as a listing agent, is to not sell it once you list it. I know from experience that if you have a successful closing you are the hero and if you don't get it sold you are mud. That's just the way it works. Sellers are hiring us to get them to closing, anything short of that, is failure.

Number one rule for a listing agent: If you don't know for sure you can sell it, don't take the listing. This doesn't mean take it overpriced and then work on them. It doesn't mean take the listing because the Seller said they would clean it up. It means, the price has to be right and the property has to be ready from day one. If you follow this one rule ALL of your listings will sell and you will be the go to guy in your market. Sellers will be calling you to come over and list their property NOT to interview. I don't do interviews. The listing is mine before I even go over to meet them. My reputation precedes me.

OK, so here are a few steps, that will help in getting a property priced right and getting the Seller to agree with you.

  • Know your market: Folks you have to know your market inside out. What's on the market. What's selling and how long it takes. You also have to know what direction the market is heading in. Are values declining? Will next year be better? And you have to be able to explain this to your potential Sellers with confidence. Look them in the eyes and give it to them straight. If it's going to be difficult to sell their property than tell them this. Do NOT sugar coat it. Our job is to tell them what they need to hear NOT what they want to hear. If you sugar coat it or are trying to fake it you will lose credibility and the game is over. This is one of the reasons I work a very limited market. I know Poinciana Fl better than anyone and my potential Sellers know this. They know because they see me selling stuff and they know because I tell them.
  • The most important step is to build trust: Sellers MUST trust you or you do not take the listing. No exceptions. Without trust you will fail in getting the property priced right. Trust is built by listening to them and then sincerely trying to come up with a strategy to help them achieve their goals. And of course, you have to know what you are talking about.

Folks, when I talk about "getting the price right" it's important to remember I am NOT talking about what the property is worth. I'm talking about what it will take to sell it. This may be considerably less than what it is worth. That's why a recent appraisal means nothing to me. One of my favorite lines, that I start every listing with is, "I'm not here to tell you what your property is worth I'm here to tell you where we need to price it to get it sold."

Once you've told then this you can keep going back to it. When they say "My house is worth more than that." Agree with them. They are probably right BUT "I'm not here..................". See how that one phrase overcomes their objection? AND it's true. I too do not want to under price their property. I want to get them as much money as I can BUT I'm not going to do that by overpricing. In fact, if I overprice it, it will end up costing them more money in the long run. The best time to sell a property for the highest amount of money is in the first couple of weeks. The price needs to be right from day one.

OK, so we have built trust and we know our market and we know where the pricing needs to be. Now here comes the biggie.........choose who you are willing to work with. If they don't need to sell (in a slow market) then walk away. This means they have other options or are in no hurry and have no motivation to price it right. They are testing the waters or hoping to get lucky. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's just they won't be doing it with me.

I only list properties for Sellers who need to sell. And you want to find this out quickly. I normally find this out over the phone. I need to know their motivation. If they are having financial difficulties, getting a divorce, job transfer, need to downsize due to illness, retiring and moving out of the area etc.....then I will meet with them and do everything I can to help them through this situation. They need me and I will be there to help them get their home sold. We will become friends and I will be successful.

OK, this post is getting really long so I'm going to stop. I promise to write another post if questions come up in the comment section.

So in a nutshell:

  • Know your market. Speak from a position of knowledge and confidence. Be honest!
  • Build trust. You must have genuine care and concern. If your only motivation is to get paid, you will fail.
  • Choose your customers and clients carefully. Your goal is to build lasting relationships with folks that will "talk you up" to everyone they meet who has Real Estate needs.

I hope this helps a little bit. Do you have any suggestions or questions?

All content copyright © 2007 - Broker Bryant Real Estate Ramblings

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 Tutas Towne Realty, Inc handles Florida real estate sales, Florida short sales, Florida strategic short sales, Florida pre-foreclosure sales, Florida foreclosures in Kissimmee Florida Short Sales, Davenport Florida Short Sales, Haines City Florida Short Sales, Poinciana Florida Short Sales, Solivita Florida Short Sales,  Orlando Florida Short Sales, Celebration Florida Short Sales, Windermere Florida Short Sales. Serving all of Polk, Osceola and Orange Counties Florida. Florida Short Sale Broker. Short Sale Florida.

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Comments (77)

Anonymous
BigV
KNOW your market--- that's a good advice.  But, and sorry for this novice question, how do you learn the market?  How do you do it?  What would be your steps if you just landed in a new area?  Thanks, BIGV...
Sep 03, 2007 12:55 PM
#58
Heather the Realtor Orlando, Lake Mary
LemonTree Realty - Orlando, FL
First Time Home Buyers, Bank Owned Homes

After watching your videos and reading your blogs I know who to send my south orlando referrals too. Im not goign to drive down to that side of town and do my buyers injustice from my lack of knowledge of that area, now I will just send them your way!

Sep 03, 2007 02:14 PM
Randy Lyon
Kettley and Company - Oswego, IL
BB, It sounds as if you went to the Rodney Dangerfield school of listing. You set the sellers up by telling them how you get no respect and then leave them laughing all the way to the bank when they actually get their home sold. take my home! No, really take my home. Ya' gots to luv it. Great post!
Sep 04, 2007 07:10 AM
Alexander- Slocum
Premiere Property Group, LLC - Vancouver Washington - Vancouver, WA
Realty Team- Vancouver WA Real Estate

Hello Bryant,

Thanks for the advice and useful script(s) to use.  Like other commenters, I did not pursue a listing with a former telecom associate who's currently a Sales VP.  He wanted a discounted listing commission, just to get it in the MLS.  He ended up with a discounter that put the property in the wrong MLS Area, and is still $100k over-priced 6 months later. 

Ideally, we can take your wisdom and convert some of these mis-informed sellers into pragmatic clients that will adjust the listing price to properly reflect their home's condition & location, and respect the local market condition.  To get them to do this on the first day to market is truly a win-win.

John

Sep 09, 2007 09:43 AM
Gail Gladstone
Gladstone Group & Long Island Business Brokerage - Huntington, NY
Brokering Success
Love your comments...My new favorite line is...what are you committed to...a number or selling your property?  If they give me the wrong answer and they are already my client, they get an immediate release.  If they are a prospective client and are unrealistic about a selling price, I respectfully decline to invest in their property...and it is an investment...of time and money.  If I were a clothing shop, I would not invest in merchandise that I knew nobody would purchase.
Sep 16, 2007 07:03 AM
Anonymous
Lee

Though this blog post is over a month ago, and though it's targeted to Realtors, as a seller with experience in the real estate industry, I have to respond.  I have found it so fascinating that the #1 marketing tool Realtors seem to invoke is always... a lower price. Wow.  Too simplistic.  There are two homes in my subdivision.  Neither was overpriced to begin with, and now they have dropped the price to ridiculous levels. It never made a difference.  They have had nearly no showings. My home which is priced higher, has had numerous showings, one contigent offer (no thanks), and came in 2nd three times against custom homes that were newer, larger, filled with amenitites, and sold by the builder at up to 100k less than asking price. I can't compete with price on those homes.  I see homes coming onto the market at lower than market value, and they sit.   Choosing to only work with sellers desperate to sell, as you assert, sounds a bit obvious.  Realtors want sellers to underprice their homes to move them fast, but even in this market, it doesn't make a difference.  Most buyers now understand it is a buyer's market, and the majority of the time are approaching homes at all price levels and making very low offers.  There are just too few buyers right now, and too many houses.  Buyers have more homes to choose from, and it's not all about price, it's about connection for the buyers.  The price is of little concern to a buyer until they choose to make an offer.. then the work starts, and the seller has a choice of what they'll take for the house.   I've seen too many sellers convinced by Realtors to start with a low price, only to find that the majority of buyers believe (and are being coached by their agents) that anything goes with the offers... 40k, 50k, 80k, 100k, buyers are going for it.   The reality of our market is that homes are sitting longer, and it doesn't matter if it's on the market 30 days or 300, when the right buyer for that house comes into the market, it will sell (if the seller can stomach the low ball offers coming in). 

Oct 18, 2007 06:16 PM
#63
Catherine McKendry
Re/Max Connection - Williamstown, NJ
Realtor Associate
Lee I have to agree with you as a Realtor and a Listing agent in my area in New Jersey. It is so funny because I just had a long conversation just yesterday with a client of mine who in fact is a seller.I had to forward your comment to HM because I thought he wrote the response to this blog.In this market at least in New Jersey for a listing agent it is very hard to tell who is in a short sale situation and who is selling their home because of a relocation or just wanting to move to a another him.When preparing to do a CMA to calculate a price for a listing I see at least a price difference between 20,0000 to 30,000.00 for the same home .This is the most extreme market I have seen in the past 10 years, so when I list a home I have to be a detective to make sure that the home I am listing is being listed at what the home should be listed for, not what the neighbor down the street who may be having mortgage issues is listed at. That is not true market value. If the home down the street is under market value and is still on the market, yes you are correct .If it is matter of pricing and that house was sold than is it all about my pricing or is it a seller in distress?  We are also having the same issues with new construction as well with the builders offering homes for up to 50,000.00 - 70,0000 in price reductions and offering the buyers agents a full 6% to sell thier homes.For me to offer that type of percentage to a buyers agent my clients would be paying a 9% to 12% commission.We have lost several buyers of this home to new construction in the area and sellers just can't compete with a new construction home that is also sitting on the market with a 300% equity.Price reductions in this market are still not selling homes !!!
Oct 19, 2007 12:20 AM
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Hi Lee, Thanks for stopping by. Very good insight form a seller. First it's important to remember ALL markets are difference. In my market houses are all very similar. This year there are only 30 to 40 houses selling per month out of 1700 or so on the market. That's right around 2%. I don't only work with desperate sellers I work with sellers that need to sale NOT sellers that are just wanting to test the market and will only sell if they get "their price". The problem with the market now is there is way too much inventory on the market. If a seller doesn't need to to see then they need to take their home off the market and wait until conditions are better. They will NOT get lucky.   

My job when a seller hires me is to get their home sold. And it is "all about the price". Granted this does assume the agent is doing everything else they should be doing to market the home correctly. My goal is to get as many buyers through the front door as I can. They have to see it to buy it. Once negotiations start we can worry about what's an acceptable price.

Lee, it's not about a lower price it's about finding the right price. I've had listings recently where I actually raised the price to attract a different part of the market and it worked. Even then it was all about the pricing. So whether we are raising the price or lowering the price it truly is ALL about the price. Make sense?

Thanks for stopping about. Please feel free to read and comment on my posts any time. I value the opinion of the consumer. Hearing your point of view helps me in my business.

Catherine, I agree completely. In my market right now NOTHING is selling. Houses are just sitting and there is truly nothing I can do about it. If folks do not need to sell this is the perfect time to sit on the sidelines and wait. Paint the house, do some landscaping and enjoy your home because selling is going to be very very difficult.   

Oct 19, 2007 01:07 AM
Arizona Real Estate Associate Broker
MR Realty - Mesa, AZ
BB -- dusting off a few posts here I see. Very interesting read and two points I agree with. Each market is different, regardless of what the media wants to project and two, price is the key. Consumers need to understand in this recovery time and allowing the healing to take place of some markets, they have to rely on their agent and trust them they know their market well. An appraisal six months ago, let alone sale six months ago isn't always the best comparable. Educate the sellers, gain that trust because you know what you are talking about and not blowing smoke to get the listing. If you know you are going to disappoint the seller and not get the job done, do it before you sign the listing agreement. Educate first, Sell Second and Success third!!  Still out searching........ skipping onward
Feb 08, 2008 11:59 AM
Anonymous
Sandy

Thanks for the refreshing post on what most of us know and understand as agents, but need to be reminded of from time to time.  Do you believe in the philosphy of 'abundance'?

Regardless, I do have one question for you in how you combat other agents who go to the listing presentation and take overpriced listings time and time again and inflate the more realtistic Sellers impression of what they should list their home for.  I know you say you do not go on interviews, but our market is highly competitive and at this time we do compete for business.  There is one agent in particular that that competed with us on several listing presentations and taken the business, but at a highly inflated price.  She is famous for then needling down her clients to a price that finally sells and she does a big business this way.

Any help you can offer would be comforting and welcomed.

Jun 27, 2008 08:36 AM
#67
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Broker Bry:  I just realized that you wrote this post last AUGUST!  What a brilliant guy you are to be predicting our changing market before it even happened!  These tips are the ones that I'm giving my peers and teammates regarding pricing in THIS market--in previous markets, we WERE able to price on value, not on sellability.  We simply cannot do this any longer (at least in today's market) and it is MOST wise to turn down those sellers who won't go with your price.  If you go with it just for the listing, it will cost you MANY listings in the future!  GREAT advice BB!

Debe in Charlotte

Jun 27, 2008 09:02 AM
Cathy Glass
Realty Executives Associates - Knoxville, TN
Realtor - Knoxville, Tennessee

What if you've already taken the listing??

Jun 27, 2008 09:08 AM
Anonymous
Steve L. Hall

Bryant,

As much as I hated to do it, just last Monday I sat in front of a couple who invited me to help them to sell their present home. When I called the lead the husband told me they wanted to sell and rent or buy locally in order , to cut their costs. Once I got to meet them and saw their situation, I believe they want to reduce some of the excess family they have living with them (there were 7, that is 4 adults and 3 children, a puppy and a mature cat, in this 2 yr old 2250 sq ft 4 bedroom home. The house was lived hard considering they are the original owners and have been in less than 2 years. I went over the current market, and even explained what I thought the house would sell for now, after I let them tell me what they thought it was worth. I gave them written advice about how to help it sell, have it show, what to do to make it sparkle. (the carpet was food stained in all the traffic areas, the appliances were filthy-greasy, and the hanging light fixtures had about 1/4" of dust on them. I recommended a professional cleaning. When we realized that my recommended price and their opinion of value were about $20,000 apart, it became apparant that they did not want to spend money to "fix" the problems and even asked me "What about the $2,500 storage building we added out back?"  The wife wanted to discount my knowledge of the market (I have been licensed 29 years and full time active in the local market here for the last 9 years having lived elsewhere previously). I could tell by her body language that she did not want to hear (the truth) what I had to say, so I bowed out graciously. I regret having wasted my time, but am proud that I did not take an Overpriced Turkey, which needs lots of help, and try to work with a seller who would not meet me half way, nor work with me as a team mate to reach a common goal (get the house SOLD).  Glad I walked away!  Some new inexperienced agent will take this listing at about 10-15% over market, if it does get shown at all, I doubt there will be offers, and eventually after reducing it a few times it may sell for probalby less than I could have gotten it sold for here and now. Thanks for your article, it is very close to home for me.

Jun 27, 2008 09:43 AM
#70
Anonymous
Kay Gentry

Loved reading the posts.  Also love the "commercial".  I needed a good laugh today and I got it.  Our market in Kentucky isn't as dire as the rest of the country but we still have our trials and tribulations with sellers who don't want to price to sell.  You have words of wisdom and I appreciate it!  Thanks.

Jun 27, 2008 09:54 AM
#71
Maya Thomas, Broker
Tampa, FL
Please see my client recommendations.

Thank you for sharing your great advice.

Jun 27, 2008 12:33 PM
Jen Olson
First Weber Group Realtors - Marshfield, WI

As always, a great post!  I find it ironic that I came across this post, as I was just telling my husband that I am trying to figure out how to get a seller to actually follow through with the to-do list I have made up for them to aide in marketing their home.  I have a tough time getting them to complete the things that I tell them need to be done to get the best possible reactions.  Now the things that I suggest are not huge ticket items.  It's normally things that require elbow grease and not dollar signs.  Any suggestions as to what you do to gt them to actual complete all of the things that need to be done? 

Jun 27, 2008 04:19 PM
Anonymous
Brian Schmidt ( Prudential HomeSale Services Group

Great post. Being very new in the biz, i do have the fear of not getting the listing. However i now know that not only will you not sell an overpriced home, you just lost any marketing money you spent! I love your line about value v sold and i will use it every time.   Thanks!!

Jun 28, 2008 02:25 AM
#74
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Jen, I think all of us struggle with this. It's my opinion that the best thing to do is just not activate the listing until the items are taken care of. Once the property is active their motivation for getting things done decreases. You lose your leverage. If there is a reason they can't get things done for examples, they work all the time, health problems etc....then offer to send over a cleaning crew or handyman. If it's a good listing I'll even pay for these things and then just get reimbursed at closing. If for some reason it doesn't close I''ll just eat the costs. I can get a lot done in a house for less than $100. I'd rather spend it on getting the house ready than waste in on advertising a property that's not show ready. Make sense? 

Brian, An overpriced listing will suck the life and money out of you. Always best to just pass. The effort spent in servicing an over priced listing could be used to get 2 that are priced right.

Maya. Are you stalking me? I hope so!!

Kay, I always exceed my customers expectations!!!!!!

Steve, It sounds like you certainly made the right call on that one. There are just some folks we can't help.

Cathy, Do you mean you already took it and realize now that it is over priced? If so....you have to set up an appointment and go back over pricing. Just tell them you made a mistake. I've done this many times. They'll appreciate your honesty.

Debe, I think you are also following me around. I like it!!!! I'm not brilliant by any stretch of the imagination...I just get lucky every now and then.

Sandy, I think you just have to stick to your guns. I don't interview for listings NOW. But that certainly doesn't mean I didn't have to for a long time. I've been in my market for 14 years. I think it has a lot to do with confidence and being able to get sellers to understand that you know what you are talking about. Most sellers DO want to sell and most sellers already have a very good idea of what their property worth. Don't under estimate what they know. And remind them of that. "This is what it will take to sell your house BUT you already know that". And even if they don't if you put it to them that way they will agree. I think I feel another post coming on:)

Jun 29, 2008 06:34 AM
Jen Olson
First Weber Group Realtors - Marshfield, WI

Thank you for your thoughts on my question.  I really do appreciate it, and I will utilize the idea of holding off on activating it.

Jun 29, 2008 07:43 AM
Steve Hirschler
Keller Williams Big Bear - Big Bear Lake, CA
Big Bear Real Estate

Great advice and right on the mark. I appreciate the reminders and can always use a new line for a script at a listing appointment. I like the  "I'm not here to tell you what your property is worth I'm here to tell you where we need to price it to get it sold."  Creating success and eliminating the listings that will be failures is big. You are right, "The Clients will Call You to list"

Jun 29, 2008 11:19 AM