I Can't Sell Your House Because You're Not Ready to Price It Right

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Franklin Homes Realty LLC

I Can't Sell Your House Because You're Not Ready to Price It Right

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a seller who received an expired letter from me. He tried selling his home on his own and then used the assistance of an agent. Two different agents to be exact. This is a fabulous listing; one that most agents would kill to have. It is in excess of a million dollars.

homeworkPrior to marketing to this seller, I had done my homework. I knew exactly why his home wasn't selling. A combination of price and home staging. (Although, even the worst looking house will sell for the right price.) So when I got the call, I already knew what his problem was.

I have learned from experience to pre-qualify my sellers. There's no reason to meet for a listing appointment if the sellers isn't ready to heed my advice. I initially ask the sellers a few questions upfront about why they want to sell and where they plan to go.

However, in this particular case I already knew the seller. He is the father of a friend. We talked a little bit about the family and how everyone was doing. We talked about his plans for moving and where he was going. It was easy to transition from there into his reason for calling.

His previous agents had many years of experience but couldn't get his home sold. He was frustrated with the whole process and thought maybe I could take him in a new direction.

I asked what his feedback had been from showings. He said, he hadn't really had much in the way of showings and blamed that on poor marketing by the previous agents. I explained that the competition for homes over a million dollars is pretty fierce right now. The home has to be staged to perfection and priced competitively.

jumping hurdlesThe first hurdle--staging. His wife views herself as somewhat of an interior designer so he felt that part was going to be a slam-dunk. Unfortunately, as it often is with sellers who have lots of money, they had collected lots of stuff over the years. Too much stuff. It was clear it would be too big of a job to do without the assistance of a professional home stager. When I asked if he would be open to that, he was a little surprised. But he needs to get the home sold and would consider that recommendation.

The second hurdle--price. With an excess of million dollar homes lingering on the market, pricing was going to be essential to getting his home sold. I told him after carefully analyzing the competition, he would need to reduce his price if he had hopes of selling his house.

This was not something he was open to. He was adamant that the home was priced properly. I explained that the house had been on the market for over a year with very few showings, suggesting that the house was not priced correctly.

"How much of a price reduction are we talking about here?" The next words were difficult for him to hear, "At least, $400,000." He said he liked much of what I had to say and thought the way I was going to market the home could possibly get it sold but he wanted to stay firm on his price.

He then asked, "When can you come out to sign the paperwork?" I almost couldn't believe the next words out of my mouth, "I'm sorry, Mr. Seller, but I won't be listing your home." 

"What?" his response.

dollar house"In all fairness to you, I can't take a listing on a home I don't believe will sell. If you insist on pricing it that high, I can't help you. No amount of marketing in the world will help sell an over-priced listing. I know this from past experience. Buyers will only pay what they believe your home is worth and the comparable sales suggest that you are priced too high."

He once again stated he would still like me to sell his house but it would have to be listed at his price. I thanked him for the opportunity and said that I would have to respectfully decline. I did wish him well and said if he would like to discuss this again in the future to please give me a call.

Several days later, I saw that he had listed it with another agent. There was a minuscule price reduction but certainly not what's necessary to get the home sold.

While this would have been a fabulous listing, the comparable sales are telling me it's not priced to sell. I want to sell the homes I list, the only way I can do that is if the sellers are willing to price their homes appropriately. When sellers are willing to do that, I can help them.

I'm sorry, Mr. Seller, I can't sell your house because you're not ready to price it right.

P.S. If you are looking to sell your Franklin TN home, contact Tammie White of Franklin Homes Realty LLC at (615) 495-0752.

Update May 2016: Since August 2011, this home has been listed nine times with a beginning price of $1,790,000. It is now listed at $1,360,000. The price I suggested back in March 2012. Unfortunately, no staging was ever completed on this home. I suspect there will be several more price reductions before it sells.

Posted by
Tammie White, Managing Broker/Owner
Franklin Homes Realty LLC
Franklin, TN
(615) 495-0752 
This posting with the content written here and photographs displayed are the intellectual property and opinions of Tammie White of Franklin Homes Realty LLC. Any party who uses this material without the written permission of Tammie White is subject to copyright infringement and possible lawsuit.

Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Captain Wayne - Rowlett Real Estate School 03/24/2012 12:39 AM
  2. John McCormack 04/01/2012 10:39 PM
  3. Charles Stallions 04/12/2012 05:57 AM
  4. Winston Heverly 07/08/2012 12:40 AM
Home Selling
Tennessee Williamson County Franklin
Expired Listings For Fun and Profit
Diary of a Realtor
What's Got Your Goat?
pricing your home
sellers tips
pricing to sell

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Barbara Altieri
RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Tammie -- There's overpriced and there's OVERPRICED. $400k is severely overpriced for a million dollar+ listing. If he has seen the comps, what is his justification for pricing so high? Guess he's wishing for an unrepresented, uninformed cash buyer because that property will never appraise out.

Apr 02, 2012 07:07 AM #46
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Hi Tammie, I feel your pain, even though you were right to decline. Having over-million dollar listings is what we dream about and count the chickens for. Plus it gives us a certain stature in the real estate community. I know, I have been there. But if it won't sell, you have nothing anyway. Great post.

Apr 02, 2012 07:20 AM #47
Lynn Pineda
Keller Williams Realty - Coral Springs, FL
Coral Springs REALTOR- Promises Delivered

Tammie, great story and way to stick to your guns as you were right on.  Nothing short of a miracle will get a home sold if it's overpriced. Anyone looking to sell their home in Franklin TN would be fortunate in having you on their side.

Apr 02, 2012 07:38 AM #48
LaNita Cates
REMAX of Joliet - Joliet, IL

Good for you Tammie! I'm the same way! I go over a lot of this over the phone before spending an hour talking/arguing price. I don't have time. So I pull comps and talk on the phone first. If they aren't budging - I tell them no thank you!

Apr 02, 2012 08:05 AM #49
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Tammie, I am glad you are firm with the RIGHT price. If the seller really is that far off, well tell him the market does not lie. Buyers determine price.

Apr 02, 2012 08:14 AM #50
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Anthony - That's too bad. The sellers would be better served if they took our advice.

Paula - I'm not holding my breath.

Barbara - He was a builder many years ago. I suspect he took his cost and added profit. Unfortunately, his location doesn't justify that price.

Sandy - I learned this the hard way. I took an over-priced listing on a million-dollar plus home back in 2010. I had the seller agree to a price reduction if there was no activity after 90 days. He constantly berated me for the lack of showings. I explained it was due to the price. He blamed my marketing, I blamed the price. I finally had to drop the client at great expense to me. He sold a year later at $250,000 less than the list price I originally suggested. If only he had listened. He may have pocketed a lot more money. Now, I don't take the listings if sellers don't take my pricing recommendation.

Lynn - Thank you for the positive words of encouragement.

LaNita - I usually do the same thing. In this particular case, I knew the family and that's why I made the drive out there. This seller is in his late 70s. It was my way of showing respect for him.

Apr 02, 2012 08:19 AM #51
Ann Nguyen
eXp Realty - Truckee, CA
Lake Tahoe Truckee Homes For Sale


I was in a similar situation last year. The Sellers were referred to me by my past clients. We had a nice meeting and they like my listing presentation. My partner and I recommended a price around $150,000 lower than what they wanted to list at. They were ready to list if we agreed to their price. We respectfully declined. They later listed with another agent at the price they wanted. The listing expired. Maybe it is time to contact them again.

Apr 02, 2012 08:58 AM #52
Sara Homan
Coldwell Banker Ellison Realty 352-209-4044 - Ocala, FL
Realtor, Homes, Farms & 55+

Tammie,  Very wise of you to set the stage from the beginning than to waste your time and energy on an unrealistic seller.  We are not order takers, we are professionals with valuable resources and can do our job well if allowed to do so.  Otherwise walk away!

Apr 02, 2012 09:00 AM #53
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy

Remind me of clients who where going to have me list there home until I asked them to take a look at a competing home with me on the market for $50,000 less then they wanted to list for, (and I had previously agreed to list it for.) They said I no longer supported their vision and wouldn't even return my calls after that. They listed with another agent and after 2 months lowered their price by $40,000 and it sold.

Apr 02, 2012 10:17 AM #54
Bob Caldwell
Fitzgerald Financial, a Division of Monarch Bank - Annapolis, MD
VA Mortgage Specialist and Military Relocation Services
Good post...many people are stuck in this rut and while I feel somewhat badly for them, they need to do their research if they want their home to sell.
Apr 02, 2012 10:31 AM #55
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

I did the same thing. Seller was incredibly annoyed to learn I would not list his overpriced home.

Apr 02, 2012 11:33 AM #56
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Ann- Let's hope the home values haven't declined further.

Sara - It was a tough thing to do but the right thing for me, at least.

Michael - I have also taken sellers to see their competition. Sometimes it helps, sometimes they just dig their heels in.

Bob - Agreed.

Erica - I have had that come up as well. The seller was absolutely shocked I would refuse her listing.

Apr 02, 2012 01:55 PM #57
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Tammie - This is frustrating and probably not a fun decision though you're right that you can't sell an over priced home.

Apr 02, 2012 02:46 PM #58
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Tammie,

Why list a house that will never sell?

Lost time.

Lost money.


And ultimately - a bad reputation.


Apr 02, 2012 06:50 PM #59
Arthur Wainio
HomeSmart - Scottsdale, AZ

This is true...this market is a price war and a beauty contest!  It's always funny when I see these huge homes in this price range try and go FSBO... The buyer pool for this price point is very small and it takes longer to sell. So going FSBO only makes the buyer pool that much smaller.

Apr 02, 2012 09:17 PM #60
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Christine - Sometimes it's just best to walk away.

Phil - That's a good way to look at it.

Arthur - This man was a builder once. Unfortunately, technology has changed so much since he was in business. Like many FSBOs, he didn't have the ability to market it properly.

Apr 02, 2012 11:21 PM #61
John Cannata
214-728-0449 http://TexasLoanGuy.com - Frisco, TX
Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance

Good for you Tammie. No reason to feel pressure to sell a home you know is overpriced. Until the seller is serious about selling, there is no reason for you to list it today. Let it sit on the market with another agent.

Apr 03, 2012 03:21 AM #62
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

John - I'm with you.

Apr 03, 2012 03:50 AM #63
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

I really enjoyed thiis one Tammy and have worked it to death it seems. Thanks for all you do.

Apr 12, 2012 06:50 AM #64
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Charles - Thanks so much for the compliment.

Apr 12, 2012 08:29 AM #65
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