Jennifer Hires a Listing Agent

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

 doe run

I'm getting ready to move across the country from Alabama to Colorado, and need to sell my beautiful home-in-the-country-on-four-acres. Not being an active real estate agent in Alabama, I hired my local agent, Millie Miller to get it done for me.

This is only the second time in my life I've not sold my own property myself. The first time was a new construction townhouse assign & flip deal in Steamboat Springs (Ski-Town USA) which wasn't even built yet, so that doesn't really count. This time... it's the real deal. shambles

It's SO enlightening to be on the Other Side.  When Millie came out to look at the house, it was in shambles. Painters painting, boxes everywhere, an as yet unrepaired hole in the ceiling from a plumbing leak and a trashed yard with land mines (I have 4 dogs) and piles of old wood.  I could see the dismay in her eyes and could imagine how I would feel in her shoes. It sure didn't look like a place that buyers were going to fall in love with! Yes, I promised her it would be clean, tidy, sweet-smelling and land mine-free by the time it went on the market, but we've all heard THAT before, haven't we?

(BTW, this breaks rule #13 in my book about listings: "Insist on a showing-ready home before you price.")

Ah, yes, the price. "Well," I told her, "I owe $225,000 on the house, so I need to sell for at least $240,000." (Go ahead, roll your eyes at me; I deserve it.) Luckily, she was going to suggest $248,000 (as long as I get it clean, tidy, sweet-smelling and land mine-free). Check out Broker Bryant's seller-dictated pricing formula here. It's a hoot.

So, Millie gave me my to-do list (paint the blood-red closet and the purple master bedroom, fill in the holes dug under the fence, replace the ceiling fans on the porch, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc....). I found myself arguing with her about the importance of some of the items, but she respectfully reminded me that: "Buyers want to fall in love. The more maintenance or cosmetic items they notice, the less likely they're going to fall in love. You can't price a home (nor should you want to) to compensate for leaving little things undone. Do you really want to risk losing the few buyers we have in this market because you didn't want to paint a closet?"

Okay. Yeah, I get it.

I crack myself up. I wrote a whole book on how to get your listings sold and overcome seller objections to your recommendations... and here I am, being the typical argumentative seller.

It's good for the soul to be on the other side - I'll keep you posted!


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Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time
Jennifer smart idea to hire soemone else to sell your property. I just moved out of one of my homes and I'm thinking of doing the same thing. My problem is that when I negotiate for myself I'm too nice. I think I'm so afraid of taking advantage of the buyer since I'm an experienced broker that I end up giving away the farm. Good luck with your move!
Jan 11, 2008 11:26 PM #7
Daniel J. Brudnok, REALTOR
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, REALTORS - Exton - PA License #RS-225179-L / Delaware License #RS-0025038 - Downingtown, PA


I LOL and find a bit of myself in this.  I know what I need to do at time, yet doing it w/o being directed to do EXACTLY what I know I should do just blows me away....

Good luck in the sale and in Colorado.

Jan 11, 2008 11:30 PM #8
Pat Fenn
Marketing Specialist for CJ Realty Group/Cindy Jones Broker - Springfield, VA
I hired an agent (Cindy Jones here on AR) to sell my condo last year.  It was the best decision I made.  Some of the things that she suggested and the way she negotiated with the other agent was unbelievable.  I would have caved at the first offer as I was so worried about the market.  She stuck with it and I ended up with $8000 more. So I've learned my lesson and won't sell another house myself again.
Jan 11, 2008 11:47 PM #9
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate
Jennifer, that is a big move. I sold my son's condo in TN last January with a Realtor. She told me exactly what to do, she is a friend but just told me like it was. So I did it, she and her husband are a  team and she said, we don't take listings that are not ready to sell.
Jan 12, 2008 12:05 AM #10
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

Last year, I sold my condo in Oklahoma through the agent I bought it with. After knowing what it took to sell the house, and pricing it just a couple thousand dollars (buyers are price sensitive) lower than my competitor, it sold in 30days when compared to comps of closer to 180days. It was such a sweet process. I think the agent felt that it was easy since he didnt need to persuade me in doing the normal stuff: repaint the entire condo, change out the carpet, tiling instead of the vinyl flooring and draperies..... I staged it the best I could (without furniture because I didnt want to haul my stuff there and neither did I want to buy more stuff only to throw away later). It was alot of fun. But at that time, I didnt know how long it was going to take me to get a contract. I just did the best I know how and putting myself in the buyer's shoe to feel what they would like to see in the home.

I had spoken to an agent who had used another agent friend to sell her home. When asked, she said that her time was more valuable for her business than for her to sell her own home. There's some truth to that.

Wishing you well ...


Jan 12, 2008 12:08 AM #11
John MacArthur
Century 21 Redwood - Washington, DC
Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes

Jennifer - It is so nice to sit on your shoulder and peer in your ear and watch your brain work. Now, this line, tho not yours, is very good. I shall steal it and use it today with a client that removed the washer dryer and left a god damn note on the wall....will either replace or give allowance for w/d.

Well, I know this will knock you on your keister, I could not find the words to express my gut feeling that it just won't go over. I even checked out the irreverent naked realtor .Today, my dear sweet nomadic friend gave them to me.

"Buyers want to fall in love. The more maintenance or cosmetic items they notice, the less likely they're going to fall in love. You can't price a home (nor should you want to) to compensate for leaving little things undone. Do you really want to risk losing the few buyers we have in this market because you didn't want to paint a closet?"

kiss kiss, fly safe....

Jan 12, 2008 01:36 AM #12
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.
Yes, selling your own home is an eye opener from the other side of the fence.  It's a great refresher course in "detaching yourself from the outcome" and other catch phrases we use with our sellers!
Jan 12, 2008 01:58 AM #13
Vanessa Stalets
RE/MAX Elite - Brentwood, TN
REALTOR, Brentwood TN Homes, Real Estate
That is so human be on the other side and act just like all the sellers we ever see...I will be interested in your viewpoint through this event.
Jan 12, 2008 02:59 AM #14
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Vanessa - I'm sure I'll be blogging about the experience thru-out - hopefully with all good things to say!

Norma - I'm always so grateful after I go thru a real estate transaction as a buyer or seller instead of as an agent. I learn SO much!

JMac - Glad I could help!!! Let me know if it works as well for you as it did for my agent. Closet painted? Check. Ceiling Fans replaced? Check. Flower beds raked? Check...

Loreena - It sounds wonderful actually, to hire out the stress to someone else!!!

Missy - I think we all need to adapt that philosophy...

Pat & Bryant - Me too! I'm a terrible negotiator for myself!

Dan - thank you!!

Karen - I'm going to insert a "before" photo into the blog ...I'll definitely have to redeem myself with "afters"

Mary - funny how so many of "us" seem to forget, though.

Renee - AMEN!

Michael - Always good to do preachin' practice!

Jan 12, 2008 05:09 AM #15
Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate
At least you're taking the advice of your agent. Sounds like she knows what she's doing!
Jan 12, 2008 07:02 AM #16
Broker Nick
South Florida Real Estate & Development, Inc. - Coconut Creek, FL
Broker Nick Relocation Broker Service
I think you knew what you were doing. You were testing the agent out on how she knew her business. Good for you. You sound like fun.
Jan 12, 2008 07:17 AM #17
Gene Allen
Fathom Realty - Cary, NC
Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate
Thats why we hire someone to do it for us and not do it ourselves.  I would hate to have to put my home on the market.
Jan 12, 2008 07:40 AM #18
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Wow - I never considered the possibility of hiring it out before (in those cases where I didn't have to). Hmmm. Interesting concept.

Nicholas - LOL!!! Yeah, that's it!!

Lisa - she's very good. When I asked her what the competition for my house looked like, she literally told me about every single one - the pro's, the con's - she'd obviously been in all of them.

Jan 12, 2008 07:45 AM #19
Theron Your Renal Home/Apartment Locator
Rental Relocation - Sandy Springs, GA
One more thing we have in common Jennifer, I placed my home on the market yesterday. I decided not to sale my home myself for other reasons, but I also found myself arguing my sales price with my listing agent. LOL!!! I trust my agent also, so I know things will be good in both our cases.  Good Luck to you and your move.
Jan 12, 2008 02:20 PM #20
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!
Jennifer, It's important to practice what we preach:) Good luck in your move. Hope you are going to a place where you can take the doggies!
Jan 13, 2008 02:15 AM #21
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Thanks Karen! Yes, the doggies will be welcome in Denver. The puppies might be a bit shell-shocked by their new tiny home (going from 4 acres to a 4610 sqft lot!) and the snow (note to self - have the video camera ready!), but my oldest dog, Lizzie, will be thrilled to get back home. Poor thing - she's chewed herself ragged in Alabama from all the unfamiliar allergens. She'll be so pretty when she has a full coat of hair again!

Jan 13, 2008 10:21 PM #22
Karl Burger
ERA Beach Ball Realty - Pensacola, FL
Pensacola Real Estate News
I took a CRS class where the instructor taught all about selling techniques. Then he admitted that when he sold his condo he insisted on being at all of the showings. Finally, a realtor told him to scram and leave it to her. Funny how we don't take our own advice. Hope everything goes well. I'll be following your blog.
Jan 14, 2008 07:28 AM #23
Marlene Scheffer
Realty Station - Bremerton, WA
Realtor to Kitsap County, WA
I think I may have to take parts of her speech as my own!
Jan 14, 2008 04:01 PM #24
Allen C. Wright
RealtyU - Aliso Viejo, CA
Great post ... It is always interesting to see how we react to the sale of our own property.
Jan 15, 2008 04:44 AM #25
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul
At least I didn't say: "Well, buyers can always make an offer!" or "I'm not in any hurry!"
Jan 15, 2008 04:50 PM #26
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