Not All Listings are Worth Having

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Franklin Homes Realty LLC

Not All Listings are Worth Having

It seems that being a real estate agent is fraught with adversity. Maybe this is true of any job that deals with large sums of money exchanging hands. Whatever the reason, I have had my fair share of adversity through various real estate transactions. The worst occurred a couple of years ago.

I had written a post entitled, Bring Attention to Unique Selling
Features in the MLS. As a result of that post, a local homeowner emailed me saying he had a home that might work for these buyers. It had previously been on the market but had expired.

I looked up his listing and found that it was a very unique home that had been listed for $1.2M. It was way above the price point of my buyers but I sent the seller an email asking if we could meet to discuss listing his home.

His first response was that he was looking to list with a luxury agent who primarily worked with million dollar clients. I quickly pointed out to him that he had done that for the last two years with no success and maybe it was time to try a different approach. After an exchange of a few emails, he agreed to meet.

Franklin TN HomeWhile I was thrilled, I was also a little nervous. Up until this point, my focus had been on buyers, not sellers. When I first came into the business, I didn't really know what my unique value proposition was but ActiveRain had changed all that. My blogging was getting attention. The type of attention that makes the phone ring. So I had a new-found confidence in my ability to market and sell a home.

Armed with my competitive market analysis and all my great information about blogging and SEO, I drove to meet the seller. He was a little bit of a recluse. His home was on several acres hidden in the trees of Middle Tennessee. It was a beautiful setting and a storybook home. Something right out of Snow White.

I wanted this listing.

It was a pleasant meeting that I felt went very well but I knew I had some tough competition. He told me that he was interviewing several of the top agents in the area but none of them had mentioned search engine optimization (SEO). Even though, I felt good about our meeting, I didn't think there was anyway I would get the listing. A week later, I got an email that I was hired.

I knew going in that the home was over-priced. But the seller agreed to drop the price after 90 days if there were no showings. That was my first mistake.

Since this was a high-end listing, I spent some real money on professional photography, video and signage. That was my second mistake.

I immediately began blogging like crazy about this home and even got a few calls off the beautiful 5'x3' sign with a picture of the home on it. Unfortunately, no takers--the home was over-priced.

yelling manThe seller liked my blogging efforts but he kept harassing me to spend some money on print advertising. I explained that print advertising didn't really yield results anymore. My whole listing presentation had been based upon my blogging efforts and the internet exposure we would gain.

In the first 90 days, we only had one showing. Further confirmation, no showings equals over-priced listing. That's not how the seller saw it.

He was regularly sending emails (his preferred method of contact) about my inability to market his home. He blamed me for no showings. I tried calling to talk with him, he wouldn't answer his phone. I would send him regular marketing updates about the clicks I was getting on his listing from the various websites. People were finding us on the internet but weren't coming to see the home because of the price. He refused to drop the price as previously agreed upon.

I was stressed all the time. The seller wasn't returning my phone calls and sending nasty emails daily. I hated to open my email each day for fear of what I would find.

I finally went to my broker. He advised me to stop responding to my client's emails so he would be forced to call me. I did just that. Instead of the seller calling me, he called my broker. Fortunately, the broker was well aware of the situation and came to my defense. The seller didn't care for this much. While we still tried to rectify the situation by involving another agent to co-list, the damage was already done. Neither of us wanted to work together any longer.

Finally, after much angst, I decided to drop the listing. I couldn't take the stress any longer. It was affecting every aspect of my life. I had to write this one off.

I found out shortly thereafter that the seller was bi-polar. No wonder one day he would be singing my praises and the next, he would be harassing me with nasty emails.

What did I learn from this experience? First, never to take an over-priced listing and I've stuck to that. Second, I am very particular about the listings I do take. If sellers won't take my suggestions as the real estate expert in reference to staging, condition or marketing, then I'm not going to take their listing. Period.

It's unfortunate this seller didn't take my advice. I believe, if he had, he would have sold his home within the first four months of his listing. As it turned out, he went to another agent, who again dropped him after 60 days. He did end up selling a year-and-a-half later for $300K less than we had it listed.

This experience made me realize, I can't control the actions of others but I can control my actions and reactions to their behavior. I don't have to put up with abusive sellers and not all listings are worth having.

This post is an entry into the ActiveRain Challenge: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger.

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.

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Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Tammie: Home stagers have similar experiences with unrealistic home sellers. They know they want to list over any reasonable price they would get, and they think by staging the home, they will get there. I've learned not to accept staging jobs with unrealistic sellers. It's just not worth it.

Oct 01, 2012 08:35 AM #62
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

WOW! Tammie, I can relate to this experience with a present listing that I have now. I originally agreed to only take the listing for 90 days, which I am glad that I did. It was somewhat overpriced, and we did make one price adjustment, but now the seller is calling me and wants to extend or renew our agreement which ends in a couple of days. My seller is also bi-polar, and it's been a nightmare taking all her phone calls.

I am the 4th agent who has listed this home in the past year, and I doubt if any others at my office will be willing to take on this challenge with this particular client. She wants me to renew since I produced more showings than all the other agents put together, but still no offers. Therefore, I will not renew. Will be picking up my lockbox and sign in a couple of days on this one. Never should have taken it to begin with.


Oct 01, 2012 08:36 AM #63
Gay E. Rosen
Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty - Larchmont, NY
As Real as Real Estate Gets!

Tammie - GREAT post.. loved it... it is so hard when you go to meet the sellers with great expectations only to discover they have a bi-polar disorder or perhaps have hardening of the arteries! Here today and at your throat tomorrow. We have all experienced that and I loved your post. HOPE you WIN! G

Oct 01, 2012 09:03 AM #64
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi Tammy, I recently had a listing like this..although it was in the starter home price SHOULD have sold fairly quickly....but the sellers were adament about the list price even though they too agree to lower it if now showings, etc. HA..always get that in writing! I don't think I would have lasted as long as you did if I was getting constant hate mail! Sad that you could have sold his home for probably more than he ended up selling it for! We always learn from each transaction right?

Oct 01, 2012 09:45 AM #65
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Tammie, that definitely sounds like the listing from . . . .   I have started declining listings that look unreasonable at just about any level.  No listing is worth a nights sleep.  Good for you for dropping it.

Oct 01, 2012 11:14 AM #66
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


Well that was a tough way to learn a lesson, but think of the value it has created since then.

I suspect most of us can think back to one bad experience like this. I fortunately have not had a listing with someone who was verbally abusive. It's certainly hard for some sellers to face the reality of what their homes are worth but the aggravation of getting them to that point of realization, if they ever get there, is not worth it.


Oct 01, 2012 11:50 AM #67
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Michelle - Interesting.

Jerry - I feel your pain. It's probably wise not to renew.

Gay - Thanks.

Cindy - We do.

Mike - So have I.

Jeff - That's true. I've since turned down many a listing that would have been a headache for me.

Oct 01, 2012 01:00 PM #68
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Tammie - I can't think of any good reason to put up with any abusive clients.

Oct 01, 2012 04:41 PM #69
Amada Slade
Island Realty of the Lowcountry - Beaufort, SC

Tammie, We live and learn from out mistakes.  I let a seller dictate to me once and he become ugly also.  He took it away without telling me and I found out from the new realtor.  Needless to say, I was relieved.  Live and learn!!  Great post.

Oct 01, 2012 09:07 PM #70
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

If this post doesn't win the contest...  

Wow Tammie.  I think we all have met this seller before.  There is no amount of money that would make dealing with this seller worth it.  Great post.  

Oct 01, 2012 10:41 PM #71
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

This is good advice. Other agents are amazed that I have turned down listings in the past.

Oct 01, 2012 11:59 PM #72
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Christine - I agree.

Amada - There are better people to do business with.

Jared - Agreed.

Wayne - i have also see agents who were surprised that I turned down listings. One of them even took a listing I turned down. It was an over-priced listiing. Three months later, the seller dropped her because all she did was ask for price reductions. This listing cost her a lot of marketing dollars and she got nothing in return.

Oct 02, 2012 02:42 AM #73
Spectrum Inspection Group
Spectrum Inspection Group - Las Vegas, NV

Tammie, this was a great read.  Thanks for the post!

Oct 02, 2012 03:47 AM #74
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Paul - Thanks.

Oct 02, 2012 04:37 AM #75
Shane Barker
Amerifirst Financial, INC. - Salt Lake City, UT

I love your approach and persistence and sticking to your guns, great article!

Oct 02, 2012 06:28 AM #76
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Shane - It's an approach that works for me.

Oct 02, 2012 08:12 AM #77
Brian Kuhns
Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber - Fort Wayne, IN
Fort Wayne Real Estate by Brian Kuhns

wow...I thought I was reading my own story there for a minute, although yours was more difficult than mine. I learned so much from that bad experience that I've been able to be willing to walk away knowing that not all listings are created equal and it's helped get those listings I have taken sell!

Oct 02, 2012 12:31 PM #78
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Brian - I think it's a scenario we've all seen one time or another.

Oct 02, 2012 02:02 PM #79
Beverly Fast Sinclair
Keller Williams Realty - Carmel, IN

I think much of it comes from us being tied to the outcome - I WANT THE LISTING!  I have done this myself several times, with the same results.  You're right - not all listings are worth having!  I'm also paying attention to how the seller treats me and talks about other agents.  I refuse to be a continual scapegoat for the seller.  While I don't have a problem with the seller venting their frustrations, there is a big difference between venting and agressive attacking!  It feels good to say "what's your fax number?  I am sending a mututal release of listing to you now.  We won't be working together any longer."!

Oct 23, 2012 11:04 PM #80
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Beverly - I was frustrated because I knew I could sell the home if the client had priced it properly. But he didn't. So I had to move on.

Oct 24, 2012 03:23 AM #81
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