You do not need an agent.... yet...

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Charlottesville Solutions

For Sale Sign

I got a call yesterday from a man who wanted to sell a piece of land that he has owned for only a few years. After a few questions about the property it hit me....

I told the caller that he should try other options first before hiring an agent. It is a low priced property and most agents would want a large percentage of the sales price to list it. He was already "challenged" on his price....

So we talked about places on the web like Craigslist and we even talked about "limited service".

He was not in a particular hurry so trying a few other places before hiring an agent may be worth his time.

He thanked me and went off to see what he could do...

Did I do the right thing?

Or should I have just listed the land at market value?

About The Author

Charles McDonald, Associate Broker at RE/MAX Assured Properties in Charlottesville Virginia is a dedicated Buyers Agent, the author of this blog and several other sites on the Internet. Charles and his group of experts in the Charlottesville area are always available to help you with your Real Estate needs. Call Charles or his group anytime at 434-981-1585 or to search for homes visit: Charlottesville Real Estate

Copyright © 2009 Charles McDonald, All Rights Reserved. 

Comments (19)

Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

My answer would depend upon your chances of selling "by owner" are slim and none...and the reality is...he will get more even with the commission with the advertising, mls, etc,. that an agent can provide than anything he can do on his own....or just putting a sign on the did the wrong thing..if you were in our him back.

Jan 14, 2009 11:51 PM
Kat DeLong
Realty ONE Group Mountain Desert - Prescott, AZ

Charles: That is what makes you an A+ Realtor!!!!   Yes, I THINK you did the right thing.

Jan 14, 2009 11:51 PM
Connie Goodrich
Keller Williams Realty - McKinney, TX
CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas

A good Realtor gives good honest advice.  That makes you a very good Realtor!

Jan 14, 2009 11:54 PM
Christopher Bonta
The Bean Group - Londonderry, NH
Realtor, Integrity and Honesty

Charles, I disagree with what Sally said, you did the right thing. I say this because he seems to have been someone who is not in a rush to sell, and he is probably close to being upside down on the land. Good will goes a long way, if he does not sell it you will probably get a call ( I would call him up periodically just to check in with him) if the does sell the land you look GREAT in his eyes and he will probably speak favorably to others about you.

Jan 14, 2009 11:55 PM
Charles McDonald®
Charlottesville Solutions - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR®, Principal Broker®, Owner

Sally and David - you are right it is area specific. With the "low" price on the property and his time frame (in our market) it is worth his time to see if a buyer is looming...IMO

Kat - you are so kind!

Jan 14, 2009 11:55 PM
Mark Watterson
Salt Lake City, UT
Utah Real Estate

I like your flexibility and looking out for best interests of the customer.  Giving them options so they can make an informed decision on the next step in the selling process.

Jan 14, 2009 11:56 PM
South Austin Real Estate Blog
Sky Realty South Austin - Austin, TX

You did it right Charles, when he doesn't sell it himself he will call you and know that it will cost him $XX.   I'm sure he will be grateful for your honesty and he could refer you to friends or family as "the honest agent I met". 

Besides all that, you can sleep at night knowing you did the right thing.

Jan 14, 2009 11:56 PM
Charles McDonald®
Charlottesville Solutions - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR®, Principal Broker®, Owner

Connie - Honestly is always a good thing (even if not popular)

Christopher - you are right about good will!!!

Jan 14, 2009 11:57 PM
Charles McDonald®
Charlottesville Solutions - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR®, Principal Broker®, Owner

Mark - thank you!

Gail - excellent point(s)

Jan 14, 2009 11:57 PM
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Hard to answer. Would he have been best served by having a lot more exposure for his property by listing with you? The main reason why FSBO'S fail is because they don't have the same type of channels that we as agents have to promote properties.

Jan 14, 2009 11:59 PM
Fran Gaspari
Patriot Land Transfer, Inc. - Limerick, PA
"The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ


You absolutely did the right thing!!! There's nothing wrong with a little hand holding at times!!! Tanks,   Fran

Jan 15, 2009 12:02 AM
Charles McDonald®
Charlottesville Solutions - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR®, Principal Broker®, Owner

Bill - I realize that of course. My thought is that the price (which is very low for our area) would get picked up by people looking for a "deal". Also the idea of going with a "limited" service that got him into the MLS would give him great exposure....

If it does not work, then we can talk about listing it!

Jan 15, 2009 12:04 AM
Charles McDonald®
Charlottesville Solutions - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR®, Principal Broker®, Owner

Fran - thank you my friend!

Jan 15, 2009 12:05 AM
Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina

Good for you.  He can certainly come back to in a few months if his own efforts do not work. 

Jan 15, 2009 12:06 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Charles, you did the right thing. You're advice showed your professionalism and I'm sure he will come back to you in the future with other business and referrals because of your honesty with him. Good job!

Jan 15, 2009 12:48 AM
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

I've done the same thing before, Charles.  If the cost of a commission puts the seller upside down, they need to know that from the beginning.  If it's not a cost they can absorb, then why waste time listing and marketing a property only to have them realize down the road that they can't afford to actually close on a sale?  Who will they be mad at then?  Not themselves, that's for sure.

Jan 15, 2009 04:21 AM
Amy Jones
Amy Jones Photo - Mandeville, LA
(licensed in LA)

This is a shining example of one of the many reasons you a respected and successful Realtor. Immediate monetary reward is not the goal. You put the potential client's best interest first. A lot boils down to the Golden Rule - Treat others as you want to be treated.

You will be there to assist him in the future.

Your friend,

Amy Jones

Jan 15, 2009 05:10 AM
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

Charles - I personally think it was a wise decision - he will eventually come back to you - he will need your expertise to market his property -

Jan 17, 2009 09:25 AM
Peg Gilliland
Charlottesville Solutions - Charlottesville, VA
Broker, GRI, CDPE

Wow thank you Charles for the great update on the topic.

-Peg    <(-.-)>

Mar 28, 2009 01:05 AM