Unhappy with your agent? Tell your agent.

Not long ago a REALTOR® I know got a call from a homeowner whose house is on the market with another agent here in Alexandria. It hadn’t sold after months on the market and he wanted my friend to come and tell him why.

Of course the agent said no. When a home is listed for sale with a real estate agent, it is part of a legal contract between the seller and that agent. No other agent has a right to intrude on that relationship. In fact, the REALTOR® Code of Ethics forbids us from doing so.

The time to get second opinions is before the house is listed – or after the current listing expires.

Out of curiosity, my friend went to the Multiple Listing Service and looked up the house. Considering that it hadn’t been updated in many years, the house was sadly overpriced, even after a recent price reduction.

The other agent involved is a highly regarded professional, so chances are he had recommended a lower price and the seller had refused to take his advice.

Sometimes the seller is the reason why a house doesn’t sell.

For instance, the seller may insist upon an unrealistic price; he or she may not be willing to put the house in showing condition and keep it there; he might restrict the days and times when the house can be shown; or she might insist on staying in the house while potential buyers are there.

Sometimes, the seller simply won’t take the agent’s advice.

Sometimes it IS the agent’s fault.

Among the many reasons why a house doesn’t sell are reasons that are within the agent’s control. These reasons include:

  • Failing to respond to showing requests, especially from competing agents.
  • Using unprofessional or ugly pictures in the MLS.
  • Using too few pictures.
  • Failing to write enticing descriptions of the home.
  • Failing to tell the seller the truth about correct pricing.

In addition, some agents simply lack the nerve to tell a seller that his desired price is unrealistic, or that he or she MUST do some cleaning and de-cluttering. (Do you have any idea how difficult it is to say “Your house is a mess?”)

What’s the cure for this?

First, go on line and see how your house is being represented.

  • Look at the pictures and read the remarks.
  • Look at other homes similar to yours in location, size, age, and condition to see if your pricing seems in line with the others.

Have a friend call a competing agent and ask for a showing, just to see how that request is handled.

Now, think about the advice your agent has given you. Have you followed it – or not?

Next, sit down and talk with your agent.

If your research told you that the agent isn’t doing his or her job, explain that you want the problems corrected or the listing terminated.

If you realize that perhaps you haven’t been doing your job, ask your agent to tell you what you can do to correct that.

And… if the price is the problem, ask for an updated market analysis.

If you’re thinking of listing, or if your Alexandria house has expired off the market unsold, call me. I’ll be happy to provide you with a true market analysis, and I’ll be pleased to show you examples of how I market my listings. I’ll also be honest with you about what you as a seller need to do.

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