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Is there anything else my Arizona agent can do?

We worked hard to sell our home as a FSBO in mid-August through September and sold it. However, the buyer's agent hadn't done any due diligence and once we went into escrow it quickly became apparent that the buyer wasn't going to qualify for any financing.

We decided to list with an agent, and our comps had gone up by at least 15K. Since listing almost a month ago, we've had a single showing. This coming Thursday, a group of realtors will come through our home on a tour, and our realtor has said that should give us some good feedback.

But when I was working HARD on our FSBO, we had almost 20 showings and 2 offers. I realize that October is a different selling season, or at least that's what she says, but it seems like she's been content to get our home on MLS, take some photos, and then just sit and wait. Oh, and her mom told the doctors that she works with about our home for sale. Just in case one of them might be interested.

We have stained concrete floors throughout most of the house and brand new carpeting in the 3 bedrooms. Our realtor wants us to offer some sort of concession, saying that our floors are likely why the house hasn't sold. She's very discouraging, for the most part. We're willing to make a small concession, 5K or so, but we're getting impatient.

Other than MLS, photos, and this home tour, is there anything else our agent can do to be more proactive? Is selling a home just about getting on MLS and then sitting back and waiting?

Our realtor is a very nice lady but from some of her Facebook postings it seems that she is more actively marketing her other listings. Ours seems dead in the water.

Here is our home, http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/7754-W-Caribbean-Ln-Peoria-AZ-85381/7910035_zpid/
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October 20 2013 - US
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Replies (11)

My first question is why did you raise the price when you listed with a Realtor?  Regardless of what the Zestimate says you can't base your price on that.

I think the photos are confusing and need revision.  When you photograph the kitchen get rid of the notes on the fridge, dish towels, paper towels and anything extraneous.  I kept seeing those big yellow notes on the fridge. Put a nice floral arrangement on the island. Something on the counter like a wine bottle and glasses is ok.

One bathroom photo has a big dark corner you have no idea what is there.  I'd suggest you get a professional photographer using a wide angle lens to retake the photos.  They will also use proper lighting so you don't get shadows.  I no longer do my own photos I use a pro.

My MLS allows me to label each photo so the buyer knows what they are looking at and the view they are seeing.  See if your Realtor can do that also,

I would arrange the photos in an orderly fashion as if you were walking through the house. not haphazard.  Front, view from entry, living room/great room/ kitchen multiple angles, bathroom, master, additional bedrooms, patio area, grill area, back yard.  No one cares about a close up of a flower or planting boxes.

When a buyer is looking on line you only have a few seconds to get their attention and keep their interest.  Make the first photos the ones they really want to see.  Kitchen right after the front and living room followed by main bathroom.
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October 21 2013
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Thanks for the feedback. I'm looking into getting new photos done myself. Is this typically something the seller pays for?

The pricing is a little confusing. When we first listed as a FSBO, we set the price at 316K. It was a little higher than the lowest comp (300K) and the house next to us was listed at 350. (That house ended up selling to the people currently renting it and I don't know the actual selling price.)

When the first sale fell through, the comps had gone up. This time the range was 310-325. That's why we raised the price.

This is turning into a nightmare. My husband has been living in Texas since August and I'm doing the single mom thing. I know that many realtors are very good at marketing and aggressive as well, but it looks like I'm stuck until mid-December with this one.

I'm working on an email with a list of things I want her to do. There have never been any flyers in our For Sale sign -- she says she printed some and then handed them all out. She's a kind person and I really believe she means well, but with our current circumstances, I'm afraid we need something more. 
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October 21 2013
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Yikes!    You are right.  Your agent isn't doing you any favors.   Where and how did you  find this agent?  There are some great agents, some lousy agents and many that are fair to middling.    What was the agent's proposed advertising strategy?  Is she meeting her commitments?

Photos:  These are a mess.   There is no sensible organization, they are poorly focused for most part, the best photo of the front of the house is buried about 20 photos in, there are a zillion photos of each room from tiny different angles.   It feels like it is someone playing with their camera and then just dumping every photo onto the website.   You should insist that the agent get better photos promptly (and this is not the seller's expense).

Where does your listing appear?
How is she communicating with other agents so they know about your home?
Why does she think your home has had so few showings?

I wouldn't be happy.  Good luck.
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October 21 2013
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Thanks for the feedback.

In answer to your questions, this agent was recommended to me by a business acquaintance. I'm not sure if it's just because the belong to the same networking group, or what. I hired her more out of loyalty since she had come to our home about 18 months ago when we were tentatively thinking of selling.

Our listing appears on MLS, Trulia, Realtor.com, and Zillow.

She put our house in for a tour this Thursday and I thought it was a for sure thing, but come to find out, it's not. It won't be confirmed  until Wednesday but I didn't know that until yesterday. In the meantime, I've hired a designer to stage our home and paid a pricey cleaning team to get the house in perfect shape.

I think another week is about as long as I'm willing to let this go before I talk with her about ending our relationship and/or talk with her broker. I know that she can sell houses -- at least she has mentioned selling a couple on Facebook. She knows our circumstances, acts very concerned, but I've been more proactive than she.
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October 21 2013
I really understand your frustration with your husband already out of the area.

Previously you mentioned the time of the year.  It depends on the market. We saw a significant lull from the middle of August until the beginning of October.  Now folks are looking to get in before the 1st of the year.  Your market might be traditionally slower for a longer period of time.  I can't say for sure.

In my practice I pay for the photographer.  That's just me. I want to assure continuity and quality.  You had Wetdawgs also comment on your photos and the lay out.  He's a pretty savvy contributor.  That should solidify that the photo presentation is a mess.

Don't delay - every day those photos are out there is a day another potential buyer turned off.

I do not know your financial circumstances.  If you were my client and had a burning desire to Just Get It Done - I'd tell you to crunch the numbers.  Consider what you owe and what your selling and closing costs are going to be.  That establishes break even. 

Every seller wants to walk away with money in their pocket.  The break even number is NEED the walk away money is WANT.  You have to take a good hard look at the numbers.  To be aggressive you have to be aggressive with pricing.

When you first listed FSBO you said you priced a little over the comp.  You priced at 316 and the comp was 300.  I understand that you wanted to leave negotiation room.

I would have recommended 299.  Yes that eliminates the cushion.  You stand a better chance of getting full price by saying - "I'm under the last comp.  You have a better chance of attracting multiple buyers.  When a buyer knows there is competition and they want the home they are inclined to pay asking if in fact it is in line with the other comps.

If you can't bring yourself to go under the comp at least only exceed it by a couple of thousand not almost 20K.

The flyers are not a huge deal at this point.  Especially if you are going to consider a reduction.  If it were me - and the price were to be reduced - the flyer I would create would include the last comp as a reference for the prospective buyer.  That supports my price.

What are you planning to do when the home is shown?  Open the drapes.  I saw several photos with closed brown drapes.  That darkens the room.  Light light and more light.  Have every single light on.

Your agent suggested a concession for flooring.  Remember that a price concession does not put money in the buyers pocket after closing to upgrade flooring.  A concession to pay closing costs helps the buyer preserve some cash.

Can the floors be painted?  Are you sure the turn off is the floors?
What feedback did you get when you were FSBO? 

If you lowered the price and gave a concession for closing costs - I'd recommend that you put a caveat on the concession.  "with acceptable offer".  That way if you had to yield on the price you could withdraw the concession when the final negotiation took place.  Yes I'll accept your price but not include the concession.

she is more actively marketing her other listings. Ours seems dead in the water.
  Facebook is good but not a real estate "go to" place.  Have your agent create a flyer to post on Craigs list.  Lots of action there.

I have sold a house because of a yard sale.  We get horrible turn outs at open houses but scads of people at yard sales.  I attended an open house my client had and invited folks inside to take a look.  That stimulated a sale. 

We are here and you are there.  It is tough to give you specific advice.

I hate to use a cliche but price is the best stimulator - it cures all ills.


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October 22 2013
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Thanks, sisters. Your feedback has been more than helpful.

My plan is to get a number of ducks in a row all at the same time for maximum impact: ultra clean/fresh house (using a high end cleaning crew coming out today), staging the house today and tomorrow, insisting that our realtor get professional pics (that make take a week or more -- hopefully not), re-write the description, possibly lower the price (want to get feedback from the realtors on tour first), offer some type of bonus/concession, and have all this happen within 24-48 hours of each other.

We did this in September -- got all our ducks ready (sorry for the duck analogy!), and we had 7 showings within 48 hours and 2 offers. That's when it was FSBO.

You know, I was hesitant about signing up with this gal when I viewed her realtor's site and saw the pics of one of her houses. I even told my husband I wasn't going to go with someone who took worse pics than I did, but then signed with her anyway out of a sense of loyalty. 


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October 22 2013
You are on the right track.  Your timeline is excellent.  Try for a fresh start and have everything hit at once.  I wish you luck and hope you get this moving in the right direction.

Just caution about too many deodorizers.  People tend to think they help but buyers wonder what is being covered up.  I like to stick with the "clean" scents if at all.

I have my photographer give me a flash drive with the photos then I pick and choose what I want to use.  If you can get them to email that's find too.  Word of caution - make sure the photographer converts to jpgs.  Mine has a very upgraded system and my Mac won't read them.  He has to convert to jpg for me.

Keep us posted
Bonnie

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October 22 2013
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"then signed with her anyway out of a sense of loyalty."   Statements like this make me very sad.   You knew she was not good from looking at her listings and you hired her anyway. 

For moving forward, when hiring a real estate agent remember they will be working for you and you will be paying them a hefty chunk of money for their work.   Therefore, interview rigorously.  

I'm helping a friend getting ready to list a deceased relative's home.   We started with 20 agents on our list from various recommendations and other sources.   It didn't take much work to bump 15 from the list, and looking at their current listings contributed to the bumps (such as lousy photos, lousy description etc).    One ruled herself out very quickly by making disparaging comments about the expected condition of an elderly person's home (all of her presumptions were wrong).



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October 22 2013
Getting the home cleaned and staged and then getting better photos, logically arranged should do a world of good.

This agent's work isn't the worst I've seen. She has provided a virtual tour, which is more than many do.  By the amount of pictures and description, it shows that she is really trying, though perhaps not a great photographer. Discuss the idea of arranging the new pictures as if you are arriving at the house, going through the front door and logically touring the home.

 Also, realize that when you are a FSBO, many of your prospective buyers may not be able to actually get a loan and are not filtered by agents for this.

It sounds like you are now on the right track.
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October 22 2013
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Call the Sisters urged caution on "too many deoderizers".    I'd like to reenforce that many fold.    The ideal number of deoderizers is zero.   The ideal number of artificial scent generators (including candles) is zero.     Even potpourri is a huge turn off to many buyers.  

Last time we were buying, there were a large number of houses where we literally got no more than one foot (or less) in the door because of the tsunami of artificial scents cascading out the door when the agent opened it.
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October 22 2013
Wetdawgs:  Ever see those Pinesol commercials with the falling pine trees?  Some homes I've been in remind me of that.  You are assaulted with odors.  The worst is when there is a different one in every room.
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October 22 2013
 
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