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Was I right to fire my listing agent?

My real estate agent and former friend has suggested that I am completely out of line for questioning her ability to sell my home. But after more than 4 months on the market, and experiencing the following obstacles, I just can't accept that it's "all in my head". Before I decide to hire another agent, please let me know if I was right to fire my listing agent. How important is it: That a home zoned for horses is listed as such in the mls? That a home is marketed beyond only listing on mls? That per a clients request, an agent post more signage to help navigate buyers through confusing roads? That a listing agent notify their seller if they have changed companies? That a listing agent have their previous company release their clients listing prior to listing again with their new company? That a listing agent have a new listing agreement signed when moving to a new company? That an agent not tell the client their home is sold and give them a closing date unless they have a signed contract by the buyer? That an agent not understate closing costs that are actually over twice their estimate? That a listing agent remove a listing immediately following a clients request? Thank you.
  • July 04 2013 - San Diego
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Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.

Answers (20)

In the case that the facts you have stated are true, then I definitely agree with you in the decision that you made to change real estate agents. Keep in mind, that not all agents are the same or work in the same fashion. I wish you the best of luck with your new agent.

Sincerely,

Kari McCoy.
  • September 06 2014
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If what you listed here is fact, you were justified in firing your Agent.
  • September 06 2014
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If horses/livestock is permitted in your area and you have property with a barn, stable, fencing, etc...this would surely be a selling point to potential buyers that have horses and agent really should list all features in advertising. 

  For more exposure, perhaps suggest to next agent that you would like advertising at local stockyards,  veterinarians and feed stores.

When a seller signs a real estate listing contract they are actually in contract with the broker of that company, not the agent.  Typically, unless broker allows the listing contract to be terminated or  carried over with agent to new real estate company, the listing contract stays with the original broker.  The agent should have made you aware that they would be transferring to another company.

Did your realtor present you  with a purchase agreement with potential buyers signature? Did you agree to all terms and sign? If there is not an accepted purchase agreement with sellers and buyers signatures  you have nothing to bring to closing.  There is no contract.

Closing costs should be discussed with the financing company.

Wishing you the best!
  • June 30 2014
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Profile picture for RealEstateCrew
There are two sides to every story.  Without hearing both no one will be able to fully answer.  
  • May 03 2014
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Profile picture for SanDiegoRealty1
But after more than 4 months on the market

Depends on the market. Average days on market is just over 60 in San Diego. This will be higher or lower depending on the community and property tip/list price.

Home zoned for horses is listed as such in the mls?

Based on the info in your questions, im guessing this is in ramona, valley center etc. In a countryside community where there is a lot of equine property, it is very important that this is listed as a main feature of the property.

That a home is marketed beyond only listing on mls?
Since this is zoned for horses, it should be marketed direct to the that market. They should go to stables, equestrian centers etc. and post flyers. As someone that grew up with family and friends in the equestrian industry, I know first hand that many stables or horse property are sold outside the mls. Many times usually direct to horse trainers and/or families which children who are riders.

That per a clients request, an agent post more signage to help navigate buyers through confusing roads? That a listing agent notify their seller if they have changed companies?
In a rural area, it is very important. If it is a large property they should also not just use a typical sign, but have a plywood "billboard" installed like most commercial real estate companies use.

That a listing agent have their previous company release their clients listing prior to listing again with their new company?
Your listing is with the brokerage not that agent. If they leave companies the contract is still valid with the old broker unless cancelled. The listing doesn't transfer with the agent unless agreed to.

That a listing agent have a new listing agreement signed when moving to a new company?

Yes, you don't have a listing agreement with the new company until signed.

That an agent not tell the client their home is sold and give them a closing date unless they have a signed contract by the buyer?
hmm...so, they said it was sold...through a verbal offer? Things change constantly. Its not over (sold) until title confirms recording.

That an agent not understate closing costs that are actually over twice their estimate?

That's unheard of to be twice the price. Usually a 10% variance is the max

That a listing agent remove a listing immediately following a clients request?
Yes, look at your listing agreement. You have the ability to cancel if your agent is not representing you and doing their fiduciary duties. Usually, an email requesting removal or cancellation is sufficient. Make sure though the contract includes email as a way of legal communication.

Patrick A. Hale
Broker of Record

The Local Realty, Inc.
CA BRE Lic. #01777558
  • May 03 2014
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Profile picture for zuser20140325020954377
Yes...you were right to fire your agent.  Sounds like you should have done it earlier...
Communication is very important and a two way street...too bad your agent did not pay attention and perform at an industry acceptable standard.  Many lack luster people get into real estate thinking it is easy money.
Good Luck
  • April 19 2014
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Sounds like you definitely made the right choice. You weren't wrong here. 
  • July 08 2013
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1. Home zoned for horses should be listed as such
2. Marketing is way beyond only the MLS
3. Signs are very important!!
4. Communication with the seller is vital
5. The listing often will stay with the "old"company, but you keep your Realtor if they move
6. We do need all contracts fully executed (signed)
7. Closing costs come from the financing agency
8.  Responsiveness is important in any business transaction.

  • July 06 2013
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There is some very good advice but what she did is probably illegal. She cannot move a listing from one company to another. It belongs to the broker that signed it. Additionally, you would need to sign a new agreement with the new broker. Actually, it could get her new broker it trouble as well since he is responsible for the listing and he is listing a property he does not have a signed contract on.

There are so many things that are wrong with what you said she did. Without knowing more specifics it is hard to comment on should it have sold already or not and if it was priced appropriately. Generally, when it does not sell then it is too high, but it could have been price appropriately for a horse farm but it was not marketed as such.

Good luck with whatever you do.
  • July 06 2013
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Friend or no friend, you have to do whats right for you. It sounds like you should have listed it on your own. You also have a specialty property it seems. There are other sites to market on that specializes in your type of property. 3 things to consider when you want your home sold fast, it must be priced to sell, have very good photos (hire a pro) and marketed. Some Realtors know how to market and some just stick your listing on the MLS and hope for the best. Before listing with an agent you should find out what methods of marketing they will do for you. 
  • July 06 2013
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Canceling the listing rather than withdrawaling it would have been more accurate since I never signed a listing agreement after she changed companies, right? It also would have reset my days on market giving me a fresh start, right? Can it even be changed to canceled now?
  • July 05 2013
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Good Luck! 
Just an FYI, it looks like you are still under contract with her. Withdrawn is different than cancelled. If you do decide to sell, you need to let the new listing broker know that you may have a pre-existing contract with another broker. Hopefully you only signed for six months and the contract will expire.

  • July 05 2013
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Profile picture for user982750
Thank you all for your kind attention and time spent to answer my question. While I can vent to my friends, my intention here is to understand what are reasonable expectations of a listing agent before I go down this road again. To clarify, I didn't know she had switched companies one month after taking my listing. For the next 3 months my home was still showing active with her former company so I didn't realize the problem until I saw it included on the counter offer. Buyers agents were either hitting a dead end with the contact info provided or they had to track her down. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. Just because she forgot to list it as horse property (which after 3 months I insisted she check with zoning since she didn't think it qualified because I don't have facilities and she didn't want to be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars) wasn't enough to let her go because she did add it once she confirmed it was. I'm unfamiliar with the lingo, but I meant that I asked that she take the house off the market. I had already asked her previous company to withdrawal it and they did immediately, but then it showed active with her new company. I never signed with them. She did finally change the status to withdrawn, 5 days later when I asked again. I do agree, whether or not I was right or wrong to fire her when I did, we weren't a good fit and now I know going forward what are reasonable expectations. Thank you all.
  • July 05 2013
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Good Morning,
In my experience the key to everything in this business is communication. In this market, there is a reason it is taking four months to sell your home. Maybe it is a very unique property? Maybe you want top dollar? Whatever the reason is, your listing agent's primary focus outside of actually selling the home, is to communicate with you the status of what's going on and be up front about what needs to be done. If you are getting impatient, then the price needs to be lowered, simple as that. It sounds as if all of your grievances originate in a lack of communication. I hope that before you fired her, you told her about your issues and gave her a chance to respond. If you need assistance going forward, I would be happy to help.

Thanks!
  • July 05 2013
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Listings are not an agents, they all belong to the company she works for so she can not just decide to move and take them with her. The company has to allow it to be released before she would be able to relist it with another company. Doing it any other way is a rules violation in the MLS.

Marketing these days is 90%, or more, all Internet. All markets are different so I can't comment on your area, but putting a listing in the MLS also puts it on hundreds of other websites. Do a Google search of your address and I bet you will see what I mean. This is how people find homes these days. I run ads in homes magazines but it is a huge waste of money and I do it only because sellers think I must. Ads in newspapers don't do much either. I would not fault her for this.

Additional signage - since it is listed the agents will be bringing out buyers and they probably don't need the signs. They might help people out wondering around, but if you are that far out the chance of many out just roaming aimlessly seems unlikely. More often an agent might send a buyer a listing so they can do a drive-by. The listing should have clear directions and many people have gps in the car and their phones.

She should know the closing costs. You can't get them estimated 100% but you should be darn close.

An agent can not remove a listing on the clients request. As I said earlier it is not her listing, it is the office brokers listing and they have top allow it.
  • July 05 2013
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No, you shouldn't have fired her.

My goodness, user, you had to wait until you compiled a list of NINE issues with this "friend?" I don't know how many of these offenses occurred before she switched companies, but if the answer is, "more than I should have tolerated," then you shouldn't have relisted with the new company!

Relationships are complicated, and we're not going to solve that problem here. You want to know if you were "right" to fire your listing agent, but, my friend, it seems like you just want to vent.

Given that you have already fired her, you will have to find a new broker to list your home with. And I can tell you from nearly twenty years' experience, if that new broker gets the listing at a lower price, they will be much more successful at getting it sold.

All the best,
  • July 05 2013
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
My opinion

You've gotten advice on what is and isn't Proper/Acceptable/Professional from a couple Agents who can't even follow the simple Spam rules/policy of Zillow ;)

"Spam, advertising, or self-promotional content is not allowed in Zillow Advice. This includes, but is not limited to, any contact information such as phone numbers, email addresses, or website URLs"

You are not pleased or comfortable with quality/level of service, communication or performance of someone selling services for a huge Financial deal/transaction..YOUR financial deal/transaction
Expensive Services


You did the right thing
If they say or suggest you owe them something then give them the Laugh they earned.......
  • July 04 2013
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Hi There,

You sometimes have to  do what's uncomfortable, but let me go over your questions.

First, it's a seller's market, so your home is probably priced a bit too high if it hasn't sold in four months. Houses are selling in days, a horse property can take longer to find the right buyer.

To answer your questions:

That a home zoned for horses is listed as such in the mls? The MLS does ask for zoning, but just because a property is zoned for horses, doesn't mean a buyer has to own them. This type of property would be attractive to anyone who wanted a large lot.

That a home is marketed beyond only listing on mls?  There are many places to market besides the MLS. Print is not used as much as the internet, where buyers  spend a lot of time looking these days.

That per a clients request, an agent post more signage to help navigate buyers through confusing roads?  That depends on local laws. There's space in the MLS for directions, not a lot, but it could be added to the supplemental information. Most people have GPS these days.  Plus, there's Google maps. For open houses, more signs can usually be used, as they're only there for a few hours.

That a listing agent notify their seller if they have changed companies? Yes, that's important.

That a listing agent have a new listing agreement signed when moving to a new company?  Yes. The original listing agreement is with the original broker, not just the agent.

That an agent not tell the client their home is sold and give them a closing date unless they have a signed contract by the buyer?  Until there's a signed contract by the buyer and seller, there is no close date.

It sounds as it you and your agent just weren't a good fit for each other. It happens.

Warm Regards,

Cory La Scala, REALTOR
[Contact information removed by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy.]
Lic # 01443391
  • July 04 2013
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It sounds like you had some challenges with your listing agent.
It is necessary when an agent changes companies to ask their current company to release the listing, however some companies will not release the listing without a formal written request from the seller. Usually you have to ask the seller to cancel the listing with the original listing broker, and then you can relist with the new company the agent has moved to or you as the seller have decided to list with.
It is important for a listing agent to listen to their clients requests even if sometimes they seem unreasonable, as after all the seller is the client and the property belongs to the seller.
When I list a home I sit down with the seller and understand their needs and wants. I outline what the marketing will be both internet and print with a monthly schedule based on the time frame the property is on the market.
If the marketing is not working in one area then we sit down and discuss what other options there are.
I am with Pacific Sotheby's International Realty, and our company's mission is to market a property, not an agent and to market to the global market and we specialize in horse properties, golf properties and many more niche markets. I would be more than happy to sit down with you and see what your needs are and see if I could assist you to get your property sold quickly and at the highest and best price. Let me know if I can share oour marketing plan with you. Andrea Gilbert [Email removed by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy.]

  • July 04 2013
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Haha, yeah probably.
  • July 04 2013
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