Is it a lazy agent or lazy seller?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams

Or could it be a lack of understanding?  My husband and I are newer to the business and we are out checking the inventory everyday.  Our goal is to see 5 properties a day or more.  We have been very shocked and saddened by what we have seen this past 4 months. Excluding short sale and pre-foreclosure homes, there are  many homes in our area that show badly.  It is our standard practice to preview a home before taking our client so we can be prepared for the viewing.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many times we view a non-vacant home and it is dirty, smelly, cluttered and far from "market ready".  We always contact the agent to let them know we are previewing and to let them know when we will be taking the client to view the property.  8 out of 10 times when we are showing the property the house is in the same condition as it was when we viewed the property.  With vacant property we often see trash, dirt, and the smell is horrible.  If we see a home that we know will meet our buyers needs but needs a little touch up work and a good airing out coupled with air freshener, we will call the agent and let them know that it needs some tlc and we will arrange to take our client to the property 24 to 48 hours after notifying the agent.  Unfortunately we find that nothing gets done and the buyers don't make an offer because they can't get past the smell, dirt, or grime of the place. 

 Sellers expect the agents they are paying to help them sell their property at the highest price the market will bare.  In order to accomplish this several things need to happen such as appropriate pricing, marketing, and educating the seller on how to take the property from "their" home to a "market ready" home. Some agents feel uncomfortable in this situation because they don't want to offend the seller and I can respect that, however, it can be overcome with practice and sincerity.

Sellers have the responsibility to the agent to follow through with the "market ready" recommendations made by their real estate professional.  I realize that it is an inconvenience to pack up the things you enjoy having around your home and moving out extra furniture and having to get up early in the morning or stay up a little later in the evening to make sure the house is as clean as possible , but it is worth it.   A clean market ready home is easy to show.  Agents love to show uncluttered, groomed, clean, fresh smelling homes and buyers love to see them.  

 This is a buyers market,  buyers tend to come up with nicknames for the different homes they see such as "the dog pee house",  the "funky flooring house", the "museum house",  the " foo foo house", the "ultra clean house", and my personal favorite so far the " uh no way house".    When they discuss the house or refer to the house it will always be by the nickname unless they are thinking of placing an offer, then it has an address.      

I don't know about you, but as an agent I want my listings to have an address and a positive nickname and as a seller I want my home to sell quickly for top dollar.   So I ask again are we being lazy or misunderstood?

Comments (13)

Christopher Benedict
BIG Realty - Collegeville, PA
I don' think lazinees is an issue.  I am an agent, not a house cleaner....ergo, it is the seller's job not mine to make the home show ready.  Agents don't care about the condition, they just want a listing to promote.
Sep 01, 2007 07:15 PM
James Gordon
Sibcy Cline Realtors® - Cincinnati, OH
I have helped some of my sellers prepare their homes for the market but day to day maintenance is not the duty of the listing agent. The listing agents job is to get the home sold in partnership with the owners. If the owners can not keep the home showing ready I have a list of professionals that I can provide them to help.
Sep 01, 2007 11:40 PM
Debbie Johnson
REMERICA United Realty - Novi, MI
Novi, MI Real Estate Professional

As part of my service to sellers, I walk through the home with them and create a list of necessary improvements.  I inform the sellers that the list is created to help them sell their home quickly and for the best price possible.  I am always pleased when the sellers take my advice and trust my recommendations.  There are occasions when a seller chooses not to do a thing to make their home "market ready".  At that time, you must choose to either price the home accordingly or walk away from the listing.

Sep 02, 2007 12:53 AM
Bill Somerset
Re/Max Realty Group - Dover, NH
ABR, e-PRO - Realtor - NH Real Estate Agent

Prior to listing, I give my clients an information book about selling your home.  This is a booklet written froma buyers prospective on what they like to see when viewing a home.

I let my clients know that before I sign the listing agreement that they need to agree to work with me and help me sell their home.  If they do not agree, I will not take the listing.

Sep 02, 2007 01:21 AM
Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
Little Fox Realty - Saint Augustine, FL

Providing literature to a customer about selling a home fast is a good idea, very good idea if it is ancillary to explaining the process to them.  Sellers can be their own best friends or worst enemies when trying to sell their homes.

Answer:  Neither.

Sep 02, 2007 02:45 AM
Scott & Healther Rozzell
Keller Williams - Visalia, CA
Visalia California

Excellent feedback everyone !!!   Thank you.

Christopher,   we hear what you are saying and the inventory reflects that many agents  share your thoughts on this.  Scott ant I prefer to promote our listings selling quickly rather then promote a listing.

James, Deb, Bill, and Patsy,   thank you for sharing your preference with us.  Educating your clients and lending a hand or a contact number when needed shows that you are doing your part to represent and get the property sold.   You couldn't be more right sellers can be their own best friend or worst enemy.  We also let our clients know that if they are not willing to do their part we will walk away from the listing.  This shows the seller that we are take our responsibility seriously and expect the same in return. So far it has gone very well and we have only walked away from one listing.   That listing has now been on the market for well over  215 days. 

Sep 02, 2007 06:41 AM
Lori Mode
The Mode Real Estate Group - Elk Grove, CA
Real Estate Made Simple

I have found that some agents do not have the nerve to actually tell their sellers what to do to make their home presentable.  When we list a home, we do a walk through with the seller and give them a list of items that we suggest they do.  If they choose not to do these things and we do not receive any offers, we remind them of our suggestions.  We also will help them with staging the home. 

Scott and Healther - we have also walked away from listings if the seller does not do their part.

We have also help that getting honest feedback from agents when we put our listings on our Caravan or Tour, is very helpful.  We ask the agents to complete a feedback form while on the Caravan and then we simply give the seller a copy of these.  Seeing it in black and white often is very helpful.


Sep 02, 2007 03:55 PM
Lexa R. Montierth
NextHome Complete Realty - Tucson, AZ
Real Estate Sales Agent and Marketer

I gave my first listing the lecture of picking up the house every day before they went to work, etc.  They took me seriously, but started getting upset at me because it didn't sell quick even though it looked great.  I guess they didn't hear the part about it's a SLOW market either.   Great post, keep up the great blogs.



Sep 03, 2007 05:18 AM
James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move

Well when I list a place I always walk through a make a TO-DO list with the seller. I have them write down the list and we agree on what should be done.  I am not going to dictate to them what they need to do; but I advise that everything the do (or dont want to do) will affect the price.

I give sellers a range they should list their home.  I make it clear that the high-end is reserved for those homes in A+ shape.  This helps get their buy-in.

Coaching your sellers and following up with them is key.  Most important is honest feedback.  So many agents don't tell them a thing.

Personally I do not want my fellow agents walking into one of my listings and say "Oh it's one of HIS listings".  I can think of 2 agents whom I know that always have dirty/nasty homes for sale.  In a market where I have to narrow down which properties to show or not show - guess which ones are most likely to NOT be shown?

--Now tell me those listing agents are representing their sellers by not telling to keep their house clean!

Sep 03, 2007 01:52 PM
Thank you for this blog.  I agree that agents who don't advise clients of housekeeping needs are not thoroughly acting on behalf of the clients' best interest.  Just look at James' response to find out one of the main reasons, and that's just among us agents.  Great comments.
Sep 03, 2007 02:07 PM
Scott & Healther Rozzell
Keller Williams - Visalia, CA
Visalia California

Thank you Lori, Lexa, James, for sharing your comments.  We refuse  to  show a home that is dirty/nasty we will let our client know it is there and the condition it's in and they always thank us for sparing them.  We too have a mental list of the agents that prefer not to coach their clients.  It's very sad because some of those homes are great if properly cleaned and staged.  In our opinion these homes  are priced too high for flippers as well, so they just sit on the market shedding a bad light on our industry.


Sep 04, 2007 04:10 AM
Samara Hart
RealtyZeal - Tehachapi, CA
Smart Marketing for Top Producing Agents

This is too funny because I remember when I was looking for my first home I came across one I called the "Cat lady's house". It smelled so terrible that I couldn't think of anything else while I was there because the smell permeated everything in the home!

P.S. Welcome to ActiveRain fellow Visalian! 

Sep 04, 2007 10:24 AM
Prepare For Sale Home Staging (Visalia/Fresno)

You need to bring in a Home Stager. This is our specialty to get these homes ready to Show. We can consult them on what to do or we can come in and do it for them.

Sep 07, 2008 06:43 AM