Realtor advice sought - selling a house

I’d vote for dump the realtor that hasn’t brought you an offer in 6 months.

Then do one of two things:

  1. Get another realtor and negotiate the contract.
    Perhaps give them only 3 months to sell.
    Specify the number of open houses that will be held.
    Negotiate the commission based on time on the market.


  1. Do the FSBO thing and…
    get balloons, flags, signs, and have real open houses.
    Not the set-up-two-signs-light-a-candle-and-sit-on-their-ass-for-4-hours open houses that some realtors do.
    Bring work to do during the down time. Or pretty up the house during the downtime. Gardening, touch-up painting, etc.
    Keep it on craigslist, set up a web page, put flyers in the neighborhood.

I just sold my first house. I had a realtor who wasn’t bad. However, I sold to a couple I had listed as an exclusion on the contract. I watched the realtor like a hawk, and even though he was a nice guy…there is no way he would have earned a 6% commission. I ended up doing all of the contract and closing work myself, and it was a breeze.

And no Musicat I don’t know how much an MLS listing costs?
How much is it?

I second that. The buyer doesn’t give a flying f* what you think it’s worth or what your mortage is. Such data isn’t very useful in setting a price. Other, comparable property data is much more valuable.

And “comparables” include location, age, size, curb appeal, neighborhood, etc., etc., etc. – it’s much more complex than just location & footage.

As far as reducing the price in increments, I think that’s a good strategy. Give it time to see if it generates showings and/or offers. If it doesn’t, reduce it again. Keeping the price high just because it “looks bad to reduce it” is stupid. Somewhere between zero and your starting price is one that some buyer cannot resist, and will not want to chance a loss to someone else by waiting longer.

Reducing the price signals that you are willing to negotiate. How do you think it looks if a property has been on the market for years at the same price? It signals the seller isn’t interested in anything but a full offer, so if that isn’t what you will pay, forget it.

In my area, the average time on the market is one year, so that would be unreasonable around here. Depends on the market, and the market may fluctuate, which it appears to be doing in the OP’s neighborhood.

YMMV. You probably either have legal experience, or are at least not intimidated by it; you must know all the local regulations about property transfer and required inspections and fees; and you may have been lucky to have a simple transaction without any financing twists and turns.

What would you have done if you ran into an unforseen complication? If I had been your agent, I might have known the solution from my experience. If not, I have an entire office staff’s experience to draw upon, and access to a legal hotline with attorneys standing by, at no cost to you. I also know almost every person in every county, city, village, and town office and where to go to git 'er done. Can you do that?

Remember, the commission to the listing agent may be split if there is an agent for the buyer as well. The listing agent makes an offer of compensation thru the MLS system, and that is part of his expense. Also, it is common for the agent to split the commision with the brokerage house he is associated with, typically 50/50. You can figure that on a average 6% transaction, an agent makes about 1 to 2% of selling price, gross, tops.

I can’t speak for other areas of the country, but membership in our local Boad of Realtors allows (requires, actually) inclusion of all listings in the MLS. Yearly dues are about $550 per agent (the brokerage company pays an additional fee – I don’t know that amount), and agents each pay about $50/month for other charges, like lockbox keys, etc.

Obviously, an active agent with lots of listings gets a better bargain per.

FYI – A full-page color ad in the monthly Homes Guide is about $150, not including setup or layout fees (or you can do your own art work as I do and submit as PDF).

In my area average time is 48 days. Do you think Pittsburg is similar to Sturgeon Bay? Geez you guys are frozen in 7 months of the year…nobody can start their car let alone go house-hunting. Dislaimer: Step-Dad grew up there and we vacationed there for years.

Oooh bad assumptions all around IMHO.
I have no legal experience whatsoever. I’m a teacher. I beat a speeding ticket once.

And I was very intimidated by it…mainly by the B.S. fed to me over the years by realtors about how difficult a process it would be and I would be “crazy” to try to do it myself.

I didn’t know any of the local regulations about required inspections and fees, and maybe I still don’t. I just downloaded the forms from the Texas Real Estate Commission, sat at the kitchen table with the buyers and haggled a little while we went through them, and Viola…there was a signed contract. Their lender wanted an appraisal so they scheduled it and I just had to arrange to let them in the house. They wanted an inspection so they scheduled it and I let them in the house. We sent the paperwork off to the title company and what do you know the money gets dropped into my checking account. A lot more money than if I’d gone through the realtor.

Oh and on the fees…I’ve found that the fewer middle men…the fewer fees.

Yeah maybe I was lucky and just had a simple transaction, but I’ve been talking to folks about this experience and from what I hear more and more of us are getting lucky with simple transactions these days.

I would have either:
A) Figured out the complication the same way I figured out the rest of the process
B) Hired someone (for much less than the thousands that the realtor thinks they are entitled to) to help me resolve the complication

If you were my agent I’d be waiting another 10 months to sell my house and still paying the mortgage, right?

Can I git’er done? Damn straight I can, and I did. The realtor I hired didn’t.

It is only my opinion, but I neither wanted nor needed to know everybody in every town office. Why pay for a service I don’t need? If I find I need it, I’ll get it next time, but I sure as hell won’t agree to pay a bundle in advance just in case I do. I’m not afraid of the process anymore, and you’re not going to scare me back into ignorance. The cat is out of the bag.

Doesn’t really matter to me who gets the commission. All comes out of my pocket.

Thanks for the expense info.
I’d gladly pay a fee consisting of:
$550 for a years access to the MLS
$50 for other charges
$400 for 4 hours of consulting with a real estate lawyer on the contract

If the buyer wants to negotiate a payment to their agent I would consider it but it sure wouldn’t be 3%.

So call it a total of $2000 for realty services.

That seems fair to me, 6% seems absurdly high for the amount of work I see realtors do.

I do actually think realtors can provide a good service, and they should be paid for doing so. The more they do, the more they should be paid. It really is just my opinion, but I don’t think the 6% commission is a good way of fairly compensating realtors.

If it’s been on the market less than 6 months, then no, the market wasn’t going fairly strong when you listed it. The market has been in decline longer than that. You may not have realized it because the realtor industry was busy getting a lot of fluff pieces published in the media denying it, and insisting that everything was going great. The fact that the downturn is only now making headlines doesn’t mean it just happened.

But if you don’t like your agent, that’s a good enough reason to get someone else.

Columnist Bob Bruss would be reeling if he heard you signed a 180-day contract; he says nearly every week that nobody should sign on for more than 90 days (renewable of course if you like the job the agent is doing). He says you should always interview at least 3 different realtors and find out their thoughts on the place’s value, what they will do to market it, etc. From everything you say, your current realtor has probably not been doing the greatest job, honestly.

It’s possible your house is overpriced for your current market conditions. It’s also possible the realtor needed to be doing a lot more marketing (print and/or word of mouth). I can’t comment more than that because the 2 house we’ve sold, one was to a friend, and the other was 5 years ago when the local (DC-suburb) market was in the early-to-middle days of its insanity so we had it on the market for, well, 3 days.

Don’t you think that advice should be tempered according to the specific market? In my market, under current conditions, I would be very reluctant to accept a listing for only 6 months, especially if is over the winter and the property is a vacation/summer unit. In other markets, I’m sure 6 months is just fine.

No, that’s why I said, “Depends on the market…”.

No, I would have gotten you a higher price, found a buyer quicker, smoothed the way for all paperwork, expedited payment, and shook your hand to sincerely thank you. That’s my business, remember? :slight_smile:

Who knows, I might have even bought you a beer and offered you a ride on my JetSki.

Musicat, want to sell a house outside of Pittsburgh? :slight_smile:

Depends. How far outside, and how much water is there to float my JetSki? :slight_smile:

A mere nine miles, and water? We’ve got plenty of water! (it’s nine miles south of the house)

I just put my house on the market and am not an expert at this, but at this point, if you can change realtors without penalty, I think you should do it. Certainly you’re not gaining anything by sticking with the current realtor, whether the predicament is his fault or not.

Re: previous remarks about staging… My realtor insists that staging is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Personally, I just got a list of crap the stager thinks I should do, and it sounds like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy just went insane at Pottery Barn.

Supposedly there are two schools of thought re: leaving the house empty. One is yours: it makes the house look bigger. The other (which my realtor subscribes to) is that having some furniture makes the house look inviting and priospective buyers can imagine themselves living there.

Having been shopping for a house for the past 6 months I can state that staging makes a huge difference to me. An unstaged house is just a collection of rooms.