what should I expect from my realtor?

24 Replies

I am 6 weeks into my first listing and am wondering what should,or could, my realtor be doing besides just putting my house on the MLS and centralized showing? I understand it can be a waiting game but as a sales person what else can she be doing to earn her 3% commission?

I agree with James. Otherwise, you might as well go with a flat listing fee on MLS. And make sure your agent put a great description with your property and also make sure there are some GOOD pictures. I hate how some agents don't put any property pictures or really bad ones.

open houses, putting it on trulia/zillow ( realtor.com auto updates form the mlx every 15 mins ) flyers, postcards, Facebook, going to the local real estate agents meetings and getting it put on tour ( mines called south east area realtors we meet twice i month and tour all agents new listings ). 

The showings have been marginal, about three to four a week at best.  One area of concern for me is that whenever I call my agent's cell, she answers about 10% of the time so I leave a voicemail.  It is then another few hours that go by before I get a text, not a call, back.

So basically I should expect more than just an MLS listing. The listing she put together is great. The houston market right now is really hot and the average DOM for that area is about five weeks. One thing also to take into consideration is that the house is about 900 sqft bigger and about $20K higher than the average house in that area; it is priced according to comps/sq/ft however.

So I would be justified in going to my realtor and asking her what else she is doing or planning on doing then, correct?

Selling the biggest per sq ft house in the immediate area is a tough sell.

If you have lower priced houses for the development the greatest demand will be for the entry level and mid level houses on that street. The bigger more expensive houses also do not appreciate as much and pull the entry level and mid level houses up.

The buyers like to be in the development but more of them can afford the lower priced houses.

You are wanting 20,000 more for the 900 sq ft. What makes up the extra 900 sq ft?? Is it a vaulted ceiling, wider hallways than normal, storage space, larger bedrooms, closet, kitchen??

The point I am making is the extra 900 sq ft might be in areas the buyers do not see that much value in and are not willing to pay the extra 20k for.

I disagree with all the people saying show it more etc. If it's overpriced or needs updating or style choice the buyers do not like you are just spinning your wheels.

What you need is FEEDBACK on why it is not selling. Your broker /agent should be giving a feedback and comments report once a week. If people are not leaving comments she needs to call the buyers and the agents and ask why they didn't choose the house?? You will get plenty of feedback. People are polite and won't tell you these things unless you pull it out of them or let them know it's okay to say how they really feel.

Once you get this data you then reduce your house list price and remarket with a new price. If it's something you can't fix then the price reduction is needed. If this is a flip you need to sell this before the holidays hit and you are stuck with high carrying costs because nobody is buying or it will turn into an unwanted rental for you.    

The house is listed below its appraised value.  Most of the houses in the area are three bedroom, this is four and has been updated recently, paint, carpet, appliances, countertops, etc. 

I have been getting feedback and most of it is positive, only one realtor mentioned why their clients didn't move forward; the rest just leave a general five question survey.

I dropped the price several thousand over a week ago in hopes of drawing attention, there has been one showing since. I understand about the largest house in a market, etc. What I am asking is there more I should expect of my realtor than just a standard MLS listing; her commission is going to be about $4k after all.

The question becomes do buyers pay 20k more for an extra bedroom in that area?? If not then they are buying 3 beds at the cheaper price.

I do not know your area.

Appraisal means nothing so forget that. if you are not getting an appraisal for loan purposes the appraiser will massage the numbers to come close to your value. The reason is  some people get angry with a lower value and say they will not pay the fee etc. Doesn't happen all the time but it does happen. I do not put value on an appraisal like that.

Its also priced below comps in the area per square foot.  With what little feedback I have been getting back from the realtors that show the property is that it is priced well for the area.

Once again, the question is what else can my realtor be doing besides just an MLS listing?

What are the conditions surrounding an open house, how, what, when, why, etc?  Is that something we should be considering?

"With what little feedback I have been getting back from the realtors that show the property is that it is priced well for the area."

Yes little feedback being the key word. The little feedback you are getting sounds like a load of BS and not true commentary.

If there wasn't a problem with the property and it wasn't overpriced you would already have offers on it plain and simple. Sounds like your broker / agent needs to dig deeper on why it is not selling and get more feedback. Some brokers / agents do not have the tact to ask the hard questions. You can't tip toe around the issue and have to be direct. Does the listing broker have a large brokerage?? Maybe an agent caravan with a fish bowl for putting in price they think it will sell at and the top two items they do not like about the property. Give away gas cards and restaurant gift cards etc. with the top prize winning 50 or 100 bucks or something. Have food so that they come to the event. You average out the prices and the comments to see at what price and the top two items you need to change with your property.

What are your average sold days on the market for this time of year in your area?? Maybe there has just not been enough time yet for the market average. What co-op are you offering to the buyers broker??

No legal advice.  

@Paul Zofsak  

  3 to 4 showings a week is a ton.. your over priced is your problem forget comps appraisals etc. if your getting that kind of activity the only reason it has not sold is PRICE.

buyer does not care how you rationalize your list price. and as Joel said selling the most expensive home in a neighborhood is very difficult.

I have one over in Madison MS right now and I am faced with the exact same thing.. Nice house but its 2200 sq ft and the biggest in on the market the others are 1800 and priced lower.. I just lowered my price to have the LOWEST price per sq ft in the neighborhood in hopes of selling it

Your getting people in the door. Anything else your agent could do, maybe is already doing Is to get people in the door, which is already happening. 

At this point what is more important to you? 

Selling it quick or for top dollar?

If you think it's priced well and can afford to wait then by all means wait & see if the perfect buyer falls in love with it.

If you need to get out of it quick your going to need to lower the price. 

James Wise, Real Estate Agent in OH (#2015001161)

@James Wise  

  I don't know about your market but agents here in Oregon really focus on Days on market. If we don't get a contract in the first 2 weeks we start lowering price.. The most motivated and the highest offer you get 99% of the time is the first one... That is a mistake I see sellers make time and again thinking something's wrong because they got an offer first few weeks and thinking someone else is going to show up and pay more.. Many times the home will sell for less and sometimes much less if you keep waiting it out.. and then depending on what kind of financing you have carry cost eat you up.. especially in Texas were RE tax's are through the friggin roof..

I saw this so many times in my HML days.. and it was sad by the time they waited it out. I got my 4 points and 14 % and the rehabber got 42.00 at close because they made a bad buy and over improved and did not dump it quick.. All HML have had the same experience. You just don't get people posting on BP about how they lost money or did not do well on a flip BP = Blue sky :)

What does your Realtor say?  That's who I would ask.  Maybe your home just has limited appeal and will sell at market price but take longer to find that buyer.  Your additional sf is only $22.  I'd gladly pay $22 additional for each sf unless it was a bad addition tacked on to a nice house. 

Would you rather have your Realtor sitting by to personally answer your calls or be out working?  Same day response is good unless there's some emergency.

Look at your appraisal and see how long the comps were on the market.  That should tell you something.

You keep throwing up her commission. You said 3%, so are you saying your paying 6% so she is getting 3% and the selling agent is getting 3%?

Listen to the market if your getting the number of showings your getting your agent is doing her job, but like most sellers your getting "married to your price" and ignoring the obvious so like most sellers you begin to find fault with the agent. Showing without offers are sending you a message.  Your agent doesn't make the bucks until it is sold so she is just as interested as you in getting it sold.  What most sellers do not understand is most of what an agent does for you is not flashed in front of your face. Her first job is to get the showings your getting, in other words to get agents to get their buyers to view your property instead of others.  

As for you complaint about her response time to your calls, She is heads higher then the average agent. I wore two hats, investor, broker. And as a broker I would have clued you in up front when I'm working I know what I am doing and don't need some whiny snot nosed kid in the back seat saying  did you get a buyer yet? Did you get a buyer yet?  

And yes the largest house in the neighborhood, often a problem, I understand the extra footage is cheap but square foot pricing ignores the lot and quality of the construction basically and for that reason I like to basically ignore it because it is not truly accurate. Plus I didn't create the attitude of most buyers that the bigger sizes above the area norm are not worth much more money, and as far as I'm concerned they are right because when they go to sell they are going to have the same problem. They fall into the don't overbuild for the neighborhood category. 

Thanks for all your responses; I do feel I need to clear the air a bit however.  First off, I am not tied to my price, I started with an appropriate price and have since lowered it.  Showings started off at 3-4 a week and have fallen off to about one a week.  Days on the market for this area are about five weeks, I have been listed for about six; I am not going into panic mode, just being proactive.  As a frame of reference the realtor I dealt with three years ago to buy my personal residence answered his phone or text the majority of the time right away or would return your call within the hour; that is what I have come to expect as the norm until now.

The snot nosed kid in the backseat comment was way out of line considering the lack of information the poster had beforehand; on average I contact my agent about once a week to exchange information, not cry about not having showings/buyers.

I expected going in that this house would take longer to sell, I didn't go overboard with updates or expenditures, and I have it currently listed about 10K above my break even point.  A lot of the things mentioned I was expecting, but this being my first sell, I wanted to poll the BP community to find out more about what can be done on the realtors end and I have gotten a variety of answers.  Some say there is much more marketing that can be done to the opposite side of the spectrum with others saying to drop the price and run.  I am comfortable where things currently are but don't want to be caught sitting on my hands when the time for action or decisions comes; I prefer to do my homework in advance.

Thank you all

Couple quick comments:

1) When buying a house, your agent will generally respond quicker.  They want to make sure they do not miss a hot property.  On the flip side, when selling, short of confirming a showing, your call is not urgent and a same-day response is reasonable.

2)  Price drops should happen semi-strategically (at-least for me, we drop on Thursday afternoon so it's on the front page Friday & Saturday).

3) Open-houses will rarely sell your house.  The true benefit is for the agent to drum up additional clients.  (At least in my mid-range markets)

4) Honest feedback is difficult to get.  Agents do not verbally follow-up like they used to; most relay on the automated feedback responses.  If you have a problem house, consider dropping a few sound recording devices to hear truly candid feedback (it is legal to the best of my knowledge).  

5) In my markets, for the mid-range 3 bedroom properties are the sweet spot; 4+ bedrooms take LONGER to sell.

6) If all else fails, consider staging it.  Bigger houses can appear daunting; nice staging can distract buyers if there are minor cosmetic flaws/space issues.  If you do stage, spend the money and do it right...

Good-luck with moving your property.

Mitch Coluzzi, Contractor in IA (#C124035)

"I started with an appropriate price and have since lowered it.  Showings started off at 3-4 a week and have fallen off to about one a week."

2 things that might help you.

1. Just because you lower the price and have kept lowering it doesn't mean you are doing the right thing. You might have started the price to high so might be "chasing the market down". So every week you lower someone else has lowered more than you or a new listing has came on the market listed lower than your recent reduction. If you keep reducing in small increments you are not doing anything. You have to get AHEAD of the pricing curve meaning in the lowest to 50% range of the listing prices  to be one of the best values in the area that is selling. Drop it low and get multiple offers on it to drive the price back up to sell. It's all perceived reality from the buyer that they fought hard and GOT A DEAL rather than got a few K off an overpriced listing etc.

2. Your showings going from three to four a week to one shows the property is getting stale on the market. 90% of activity happens the first 3 weeks which is why buyers start wondering why hasn't it sold and there must be something wrong with it (stigmatized). Remember home buyers purchasing property is not based on fact but FEELING. This time of year there are less buyers and when the holidays hit and nobody wants to move there will be even less. You need to capitalize on the buyer pool now before it shrinks down further until next year. Can you afford to hold it for 3 or 4 months with the carrying costs??

What if this property is just a dud but there is another property a banks wants off it's books by years end at a great price. You make say 10,000 on this one but 40,000 on the next one. By waiting instead you end up breaking even on this one and end up losing out on year end deals to rehab and put to market next year.

Just some things to think about. Hope it helps.

Investors that have sold one house or are just selling their first investment house versus investors with decades of experience will look at this differently because they have been through it before. 

All the best.


Apparently I hit a nerve with the snot nosed kid remark as a metaphor. Good. You say you wanted to gather info on what the agent could do, I think it is more like you wanted ammo to tell her what she has failed to do. If the call was just to exchange info then there was not great urgency except on your part . Or why hasn't it sold, why hasn't it sold? OK just checking out you sense of humor.

You say you started out with an appropriate price, well only in your mind, the market told you different. Also your 5 days on market average is for solds, right? not all listings. Also you didn't answer the commission question. Talk her into to less then six. Investor or not investor. many sellers go for a say a 4% commission in an area that is 6% and as a result often is say the final sales price ends up at 4% less then if agents were going for the norm and you got the full results of the MLS. So a seller saved 2% but lost 4% but they walk away smiling about how they saved 2% not realizing it cost them 2%. You got to offer selling agents the norm for the area. I'm a broker and investor but when I was selling one of my properties I offered the selling agents 4% instead of the normal 3%. And it really didn't cost me because the holding costs in the area was usually 1% per month so selling it quick offset the extra 1%. I don't know your market, but I wonder as Joel mentioned if you are in what I call a falling knife market. That is one where you have to price where the knife is going to be, not where it was. Just like a fighter pilot you have to shoot ahead of the plane your trying to hit not at it. But 5 days on market sounds like a hot market unless solds are a very low percentage of listings. Two things sell a house, marketing and price, if she is maketing decently then it is price. Price can be raised with fantastic terms but that is the only way usually.


I'd say be patient.  If you are priced correctly you'll eventually sell.

You're mentioning that the home is large for the area so I would be conscious of what other similar priced properties are for sale in your area within a few miles and see how your property stacks up.

Dropping the price within a few weeks of a listing a property is not wise.  Buyers see this and unless your property is very special, buyers will sit on the fence and watch the price reductions before making offers.

GooD Luck,


Very little. Eyes, ears, on the ground property tours, property photos, videos, and some local market expertise. But make sure you do your own homework .  There are lots of inexperienced agents out there.  They are agents, not investors.  There's a reason.

My strategy is price it right from the beginning.  Generally a bit lower than market for a quick sale.  Hopefully you bought at a good price, so you can afford to do this.

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