Earlier this year, I got a call from a frustrated seller. He had just decided to fire his listing agent and had been referred to me.
â€śI donâ€™t want to make the same mistake I made when I hired my first agent,â€ť he said. â€śSo, would you be willing to meet with me to see my condo, tell me what you think itâ€™s worth and let me know how you would market it?â€ť
Overpriced + Pre-sale Purchase 7 years ago = â€śUh Ohâ€ť…
I agreed to meet him the following day because of the seasonal marketâ€™s time sensitivity and my desire to get the property on the market asap, if selected to work with him. I warned him that I wouldnâ€™t have time to do a lot of research before our meeting. I pulled the listing history and tax records, and I didnâ€™t like the math…nor the methods.
Perhaps the previous agent was â€śnostalgicâ€ť or simply â€ślost track of timeâ€ť, but he decided to price the unit at itâ€™s original (pre-sale) purchaser price, which went back to early 2006. Needless to say, by the time I came into the picture, it had been on the market for a whileâ€¦you know the drill.
When Ineptitude Flirts With Negligence:
As was clear in the listing history (but I had hoped was a mistake), the listing â€śagentâ€ť initially â€śmarketedâ€ť (terms used here extremely loosely) his property for almost $100k more than the owner had paid for it at the height of the market!! No upgrades, nor additions after the original purchase….I still canâ€™t even begin to fathom where that number came from .
The sad truth was obvious. The seller lived in a penthouse unit in an area of the close-in DC suburbs where many condos were in short sale or foreclosure situations. And this development was no different.
On my way to the appointment the next day, I knew I was the designated bearer of bad news. I was going to be telling the seller that he was looking at a minimum of a 15% â€ślossâ€ť…. from his original purchase price, probably closer to 20%. The only question in my mind was how he was going to react to the news, especially since his expectations had been so blown out of proportion by his former agent.
An hour later, after an extremely pleasant conversation with an extremely pleasant, articulate and gracious gentleman, hereâ€™s what I learned:
- He had believed all along that his prior â€śagentâ€ť had priced the property too high and….
- He had to encourage price reductions (which still ended with that 2006 sales price).
When I asked how the initial price had been determined, he said he really didnâ€™t know â€“ but felt that his original agent took into consideration what he paid and what he owed, but hadnâ€™t shown any comparable sales to justify the price. This was a seller who was begging to be educated, with a professional advisor who didnâ€™t do his job.
The Marketing? If I Only Had A Picture
The seller reported that he had to insist on (and personally pay for) decent photos. This was a 3000 sq. foot penthouse, a photographerâ€™s dream! And the â€śbrochureâ€ť (again, a term used loosely) was just pathetic.
The good news about this crazy business is that we can run it in many different ways…but I would argue that the performance of the previous agent should not be one of those ways .
I would argue that we at least have an obligation to be honest, and, dare I say, â€śeducatorsâ€ť.
This seller wasted almost three months on the market and played with the value of my clients largest investment.
And oh yes, with a little seasonal luck and the right price and marketing, we were able to sell the unit within a month.
A listing agent told the seller what he THOUGHT the seller wanted to hear – even worse, he made the seller hear what he thought the seller wanted to hear. Itâ€™s was a sound that only resonates with the grossly negligent.
Thanks for letting me vent on that one.
Any â€ślikeâ€ť stories?