I Didn’t Get the Job

Real Estate Agent with Prudential Rubloff

I went on a listing presentation this week and I didn’t get the job. I am a competitive person and I don’t really like to loose out to another agent. However, character and integrity are all I really have. I will not lie to people. I will not tell them what they want to hear just so they like me and I get their business. It is a tough market out there and we all need to be realistic on pricing.

Going in, I knew that they paid more for the home than it is currently worth. I presented 3 comparable properties; all were of similar size, age, construction and location. They all closed within the last 6 months. The comparable homes sold for $480,000, $495,000 and $545,000. The one that sold for $480,000 was the closest in terms of condition and updates. The home that sold for $495,000 had an updated kitchen and updated appliances. The larger home for $545,000 had a top of the line gourmet kitchen and updated baths. I told the sellers that they needed to price their home closer to the first two, maybe starting out at $499,900 or $509,000. If they want to sell in a reasonable amount of time, they need to get the pricing right the first time, or they will linger on the market. There is about 14 months of inventory on the market in their price range.

The next day I received and email from the seller asking: “Do you have any other comps that you considered in addition to the 3 presented?”

This was my reply: “I could pull other listings and make the numbers say anything you would like, numbers are easily manipulated. However, a higher listing price will limit the number of showings and prolong the listing time. Even if we do get a buyer to write a contract, the banks will use these three sales to determine the assessed value. If that number is less than what the buyer said they will pay, there is a good chance the buyer won't get the mortgage anyway.”

Well, the other agent they called in pulled three “comparable” properties and somehow came up with a list price of $650,000. Wow, that means one of us is off by more $150,000. That is a lot of money. Needless to say, they went with the agent who told them their house was worth way more than it actually is.

Am I upset I didn’t get the listing? No. I can’t sell a house that in my opinion is listed so far above what other homes in the neighborhood have sold for. I wish these sellers and their agent all the best. Who knows, maybe I will get to be their second agent.


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Marybeth Mills Muldowney

When a potential client tells me another agent has said that their home is worth more than my cma I always say "Oh that's great and they intend on buying it."  Usually the owner looks at me like i am out of my mind and have not been able to follow the conversation, they say "oh no Marybeth they told me the house was worth x amount of dollars more than you" and I tell them well then it really doesn't matter unless they are the buyers for your home because the majority of buyers will think your home is overpriced at the amount of money they quoted.  At that moment in time, the lightbulb usually goes on, and the seller realizes what the other agent really said...........and I get the lisiting, not always, sometimes it does have to expire.  Although in this market I have taken some listings and the original asking price may have been higher than i quoted to them in the cma, I tell them it is their money and I will try hard to get them the most money for their home and I hope they can prove me wrong, I would be happy with that..lots of times this makes it much easier to get a price reduction.  Great comments Sherry, you go girl, best wishes for 2009.

Jan 19, 2009 03:04 PM #76
Dawn Maloney
RE/MAX Haven - Northeast Ohio Real Estate Specialist - Hudson, OH
330-990-4236 Hudson & Northeastern Ohio

Look at all the affirmation you're getting - and if you don't get the listing later, don't be surprised. I find sellers seldom run back to the person who told them the real price. Just smile when you drive by, knowing you told them the truth and saved thousands of $$$ on marketing and time. Next!

Jan 19, 2009 03:19 PM #77
Lori Churchill Cofer
Beasley Realty - Pullman, WA
Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA
I really like Dawn's comment....true...think of the time and money saved on marketing to a listing that was doomed to fail....someone once told me, sometimes the best listings are those you don't get...

Lori Cofer Pullman WA

Jan 19, 2009 03:25 PM #78
Michael E. Walsh
Abe Lee Realty, LLC - Honolulu, HI

Just went through the same thing 2 weeks ago.. Great post thank you!!!

Jan 19, 2009 03:26 PM #79
Roland Woodworth
Q Realty - Clarksville, TN
Q Realty - Power In Real Estate

Sherry: All you can do is be honest with yourself and the home owner. Some times we don't get the listing.. Some times you get it in the long run.

Jan 19, 2009 03:34 PM #80
Dean Moss
Dean's Team - Keller Williams Realty Partners Chicago IL - Chicago, IL
Dean's Team Chicago IL Real Estate Team

Sherry -

I thought I was crazy!  But by the volume of comments you received, this is very common.

This sort of thing gives the whole industry a black eye, unfortunately.   Indeed, there is no shortage of other Realtors telling prospective clients what they want to hear.  You seemed to get another "chance" - most of the time, we do not!

These days, however, even if the other agent fails to sell, your chance of a relist might be limited.  The seller, unable to hit his inflated number, might elect to remove the house from the market eventually.

But at least you won't waste your hard earned marketing money and valuable time - yes?


Jan 19, 2009 04:31 PM #81
George Bennett
Inactive - Port Orford, OR
Inactive Principal Broker, GRI

Sherry - I wouldn't consider this scenario a loss. They other agent will not sell this property at that price. The Sellers made a bad decision. You can now use this property to demonstrate the value of other properties in your market to your buyer clients. Eventually the Sellers will realize that they were misled by the agent that listed their property. You may or may not want their business in the future but you can cross that bridge when you get to it.

Jan 19, 2009 05:28 PM #82
Jason Neumann
Century 21 Assurance Realty Ltd. - Kelowna, BC
Realtor - www.KelownaRealEstateNews.com

Sherry, I think your post should serve as a reminder to us all that agent that "Buying Listings" are not the successful ones most of the time.  I am sure you will get that call to list this home again real soon.  Good call on your part!  Take care and happy blogging!

Jan 19, 2009 07:03 PM #83
Steve Blehl
The Home Depot/Referrals to Geba Realty - Milford, PA

How many times have we seen the very same? But, those are the properties that are still sitting unsold, long after they were listed. People that want, want, want and never get realistic on the actual value of their property will sit on it forever now (even though that is not what we want). I have seen this time and again. And, those are the one's that eventually will end up selling it for less than they could have gotten, or, even lose it. Hmmmm.......several come to mind. Yup, the messenger got shot. But, those sellers are still sitting on their properties that are now stale. 

Jan 19, 2009 11:37 PM #84
Carol Spengel
Prudential Rubloff - Wheaton, IL
Wheaton IL

If I can say one thing to the defense of the agent who took the listing: she was also the agent who sold these people the house at the height of our market in 2006.  I can see how awkward it would be go in 2-1/2 years later and say the home is worth less than what they paid for it.  However, with all the news out there about the real estate market and the ecconomy, there are a lot of facts to back up that statement, no matter how hard it is to say out loud.

Jan 20, 2009 12:26 AM #85
Jimmy J-REALTY WORLD-Harbert Company, Inc.

Great job in telling them what the truth is.  We lose them too when we tell them what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.  I would rather not have the listing, then an overpriced listing that will never sell.

Jan 20, 2009 01:03 AM #86
Shelley Kreutzer
Community One Realty - French Valley, CA

Sherry "GOOD FOR YOU!" You handle this very well by telling them the truth. Just keep an on it.

Jan 20, 2009 02:13 AM #87
Kathy Opatka
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches


Sometimes coming in SECOND,or even THIRD, is the BEST postion to be in!

I've turned down 5 listings in 2009...... the Sellers had no realistic idea of what their property would sell for IN THIS MARKET.  2 even asked that I"TRY" at their inflated price; I said "no". I'm not willing to use my marketing dollar to advertise non-salable properties.

Good blog!

Kathy Opatka, Re/Max, OCEAN CITY, MARYLAND

Jan 20, 2009 02:25 AM #88

Our team often has to turn down listings. We simply will not take them if they are overpriced. You didn't loose...they did.

Jan 20, 2009 02:47 AM #89
Kris Kombrink ~ The Kombrink Team
RE/MAX Excels - Chicago's Western Suburbs - Geneva, IL

Sherry, you're right, sometimes not winning is a good thing.  You don't want sellers that are not cooperating.


Jan 20, 2009 03:09 AM #90
Century Homes Realty Group LLC. - Flushing, NY


I had something similar happen to me. But it was more of a commission then price. I asked for 5% the other agent went for 4% and the price was $15,000 more. The listing is going on eight months now and the house is still up for sell. Should I go back when the contract expires in about two months.

Jan 20, 2009 03:13 AM #91
Jim Crawford
RE/MAX Paramount Properties - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR

650K!  In this market when the comps do not support it?  The other agents should be brought up on ethics charges.  When this used to happen to me in the past, I used to explain to the sellers it was buying a listing. 

Jan 20, 2009 07:37 AM #92
Keller Williams Realty - Austin, TX
Over 2,000 homes sold…..

Just learn from the experience.  I farm a neighborhood that has a swing of well over $100/sf.  Part of my presentation is to tell owners this and that it is very easy for other agents not to compare apples to apples.  I turn it into somewhat of a joke by saying that I can use this differential to help homeowners with their tax values as the county is about as clueless as many agents that do not know the area. I mention this as it can be very easy to get valuations that are dramatically different.

Now that seed is planted in their head.  I just one a listings at $688k and my competitor was at $749k.  Not as dramatic as yours, but the idea is the same.  So who did the owner call.  Me.  He pulled out the agent's comps and asked me to explain them and I did.  I told him that I would love for his home to sell at $749k, but my job is to sell your home, not list it.  I say, as you can see $749k is not the market; moreover it is not in the radar screen of the market.

Jan 20, 2009 08:58 AM #93
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD


There still are sellers who refuse to accept what the real estate market is all about today. In this case here, the sellers will start thinking about you in a few months when the house keeps sitting there unsold, likely with not one offer.

Jan 20, 2009 09:14 AM #94
Sandy Fenton
Keller Williams NY Realty * Licensed Associate Broker - Mount Kisco, NY
ABR, ASP, CDPE, GRI -Westchester NY - Condos to Luxury Homes

I  have a friend that says she wants to be the first love, the second wife and the third Realtor.  ;-)

You did the right thing.  Better to turn them down now than let them down later. 

Jan 23, 2009 02:15 PM #95
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