Sellers Don't Want the Truth

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage 9025089

I've lost two very nice listings in the last month because my realistic Market Analyses suggested prices that the sellers refused to accept.  In each case, the listing went to an agent who priced it at least $100,000 (20-25%) higher than even the most optimistic market assessment would have indicated.  I have to admit, I was stung.

I always use a terrific professional photographer to shoot the homes I represent; he does magnificent aerial shots and can make even a humdrum home look smashing.  The agents who got the contracts on the listings I didn't get have never employed the services of a professional photographer even once in their lengthy careers.  So it hurt, a lot, when I realized that one of the sellers was obviously so impressed with my portfolio of listings from this photographer that he required the other agent to use him, too.  As usual, the photographer did a beautiful job. . .

I know that both of these lovely homes--in towns in which real estate values are declining--will languish on the market for longer than they should, and there's no payoff for anyone when that happens.  But I wonder what I could--or should--do differently in the future to make sure that I'm the one who walks out with a signed contract, rather than having it go to one of my competitors who is willing to take the listing at any price.

Posted by


Maureen Harmonay

Specialist in Massachusetts Country Homes,

Antique Homes, and Horse Properties

978-502-5800

MHarmonay@comcast.net

 

Comments (61)

Maureen Harmonay
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Bolton, MA
Your Country Property Specialist, Bolton MA

Ken Jones, when you put it that way:  No, I don't!  Thanks for putting things in the right perspective.  

Sep 12, 2014 03:13 AM
Jenna Dixon
Momentum Real Estate Group LLC - Marietta, GA
55 & Over | New Constructions | Horse Farms

Overpriced listings are simply a headache in the making.  When sellers start out not believing me about price it generally continues on through the rest of the transaction.  Do yourself a favor, if you don't get hired, don't worry about who got the job or what the terms were.  No need looking over your shoulder, you'll lose sight of where YOU are going!

Sep 12, 2014 04:18 AM
Than Maynard
Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma - Purcell, OK
Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862

Overpricing the listing is a waste of time....especially in a declining market. Why waste money on a professional phtog when you know it mostly likely won't sell? (Not to mention all the other time, money and effort.)

Sep 12, 2014 04:34 AM
Maureen Harmonay
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Bolton, MA
Your Country Property Specialist, Bolton MA

Good advice, Jenna Dixon and Than Maynard!

Sep 12, 2014 04:44 AM
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Maureen, I know this is a tough one. I don't take over-priced listings and yes, I have missed out on some commissions because of it. However, when a house is priced $100K over the comparables, it's going to sit on the market for a long time. The only way it's going to sell is through multiple price reductions. IF the sellers even hang in with the listing agent that long.

I took an over-priced listing once with the promise of a price reduction 90 days in. It never happened because he refused to drop the price. He blamed my marketing for the reason it wasn't getting showings. This seller plagued me daily with nasty emails and refused my calls. I spent $1,000 on marketing his home.

I eventually cut him loose because I couldn't take it anymore. It's not worth the stress to me. I don't care how nice the listing was. When it expires, contact the sellers again to see if they've finally gotten with the program on price. In the meantime, concentrate on those sellers who are actually smart enough to take your advice.

Sep 12, 2014 05:48 AM
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

That's a tough one Maureen. They even "stole" your photographer. Perhaps they will come back to you when they realize how far out of the ballpark they truly are.

Sep 12, 2014 07:28 AM
Maureen Harmonay
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Bolton, MA
Your Country Property Specialist, Bolton MA

Thanks, Tammie White. I have certainly been in the position of having spent a fortune on marketing a home that never sold because of a seller's inflexibility.  It's good to be reminded of that.

Donna Foerster, I think the use of "my" photographer, by an agent who'd never, ever used a pro before, is what put me over the edge.  Thanks for your empathy!

Sep 12, 2014 07:53 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

When leaving you could always say " I'll see you in 90 to 120 days" !  When asked why , you'll say "that's when your listing will be expiring, won't it ?"

Sep 12, 2014 09:54 AM
Jason Potrzeba
Webster Bank - Providence, RI
Mortgage Banking Officer

It's not like you lost out on a sale. Having a list price of 100k higher than what the market supports suggests that there will be no sale or closing anytime soon with either of these listings...

Sep 12, 2014 10:18 AM
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

Maureen, those homes aren't under contract, or sold yet.

For all you know, the sellers may be calling you in 6 months.  Sometimes, being the 1st realtor isn't as good as being the 2nd.  I'd say being the honest realtor without inflating the price to whatever the seller wants will always be smarter.

Surely, you'll monitor, and hopefully you'll update us all, likely in 2015.

Sep 12, 2014 01:03 PM
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Not sure you want to walk out the door with an overpriced listing. 20+% overpriced just will not sell. Maybe add automatic price reductions into your listing contract so the sellers understand why they are having no showings.

Sep 12, 2014 02:54 PM
Raymond Denton
Homesmart / Evergreen Realty - Mission Viejo, CA
Casta del Sol Realtor

The only thing you could have done differently is get a pre-listing appraisal.  It would have confirmed your pricing was correct.

Sep 13, 2014 02:45 AM
Raymond Denton
Homesmart / Evergreen Realty - Mission Viejo, CA
Casta del Sol Realtor

I ALWAYS get pre-listing appraisals.  I also always get pre-listing Inspections.  And that combination has always worked well for me.

Sep 13, 2014 03:10 AM
Maureen Harmonay
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Bolton, MA
Your Country Property Specialist, Bolton MA

Ken Jones, you've raised some really good points, that I had not considered.  I appreciate your input, as will anyone reading your cautionary comments.  

Sep 13, 2014 03:10 AM
Maureen Harmonay
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Bolton, MA
Your Country Property Specialist, Bolton MA

Raymond Denton, thanks for chiming in. You are obviously meticulous in doing your homework, and I think your approach has a lot of merit.  

Sep 13, 2014 03:13 AM
Maria Gilda Racelis
Home Buyers Realty, LLC-Manchester, Bolton. Vernon,Ellington - Manchester, CT
Home Ownership is w/in Reach. We Make it Happen!

Hi Maureen: I lost listings 3x already over the course of 8 years to a competition. I always asked the sellers why they did chose the other listing agent over me. And when it was about the brand or the promise of a 20k to more from I had presented, I would let it go and never felt bad about the loss. And most of the time, the property stays longer on the market with numerous price reductions.

Sep 23, 2014 10:25 PM
Maureen Harmonay
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Bolton, MA
Your Country Property Specialist, Bolton MA

Thank you Maria. I know you're right!

Sep 23, 2014 11:11 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Hi Maureen Harmonay sorry I'm late for this party!!!  $100k is a wide spread....we would not have taken a listing with that large a gap....we certainly have taken overpriced listings, but not unless the seller fully understands that fair market value is within the price range that we quoted... and we put that in writing....we will take the listing but only if the seller will agree to adjust the price significantly after 3 weeks...a motivated seller will do that.... and that's the only type of seller we want....

Sep 25, 2014 08:10 AM
Maureen Harmonay
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Bolton, MA
Your Country Property Specialist, Bolton MA

Thanks Barbara. Good advice.  Now that I have had some time to think about the circumstances, and the many helpful comments from everyone here on ActiveRain, I'm not so sorry to have lost this property, nice as it is.  (But I am watching it with interest, to see what happens!)

Sep 25, 2014 08:38 AM
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Maureen

I lost a listing once and I was stung because the seller used my stager.  I now go into listing presentations but never, ever, divulge names or sources.  That might have helped with the photographer situation - thes seller didn't need to know who it was.  (I know it's possible that the other agent recognized who it was and provided the info, in which case, yuck.)

 

Oct 19, 2014 05:25 AM