Profile picture for BigRedBoots

When does an agent do a CMA?

We are thinking of putting a house on the market.    Starting an agent investigation, we recently spoke to an agent.  Agent said that they wouldn't do a CMA until after the contract is signed.  Is this normal?
  • September 13 2011 - US
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Answers (12)

Best Answer

Profile picture for wetdawgs
I've never heard of an agent requiring that you sign a contract and commit to them before doing a CMA.  So often on this advice section agents say they are with no obligation.   In fact, usually when we interview agents a CMA presentation is part of the interview presentation, along with the marketing plan.    While I can see a nominal charge for a CMA if one doesn't sign a contract, I wouldn't move forward with an agent who wouldn't do a CMA until the contract was signed.

I am not a real estate professional.  It will be interesting to hear their experience and opinions

  • September 13 2011
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Some agents choose not to do the CMA until after some level of commitment is provided by the seller since to do them right it takes hours of time.  Too many consumers would ask 3-4 agents for a CMA and then turn around and use that value to try to sell it themselves.

Think outside your "it's always been done that way mentality" for a moment and think about going to your CPA.  Do they do your taxes to see if you like the refund you get before you hire them?  Does your attorney do all their case study before they get hired?

A truly professional agent should be selling their marketing plan and their ability to get the job done.  Once you commit to them, you can settle on price.

If I did this, I would have a clause that said something like "subject to seller agreeing to market the home within 5-10 of market value.  If suggested pricing appears out of line, seller to pay for an appraisal.  If the appraisal is outside that range, Realtor agrees to refund the value of the appraisal and terminate the agreement if directed to do so by the seller".

Thanks for the inspiration for today's blog!

Best of luck from Boise!
Jim
  • October 11 2011
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Oooh!  Doesn't sound too good and it's just not nice. Certianly that tactic did not win that agent your business.  Of course an agent should come prepared to your meeting with comparables and a discussion about the market in your neighborhood and area, and have on the ground knowledge of the sales activity in your neighborhood.

Sometimes an agent may want to make a more comprehensive presentation at a later date for pricing consideration, though asking you to sign something before providing info isn't necessary.  I understand why an agent might ask for that, though  I would instead, try to provide a compelling list of attributes of why you would want to choose me over others and ask for your business. 

Plus, a market analysis is commonly provided as a FREE service by agents too, in their advertising! 

Having a pricing discussion may require an agreement, though what you are describing sounds premature of that!  Either way - you felt less than best, and that is definately not the goal of the type of agent that is going to provide service your way!
  • October 05 2011
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Profile picture for Reallyfedup
I would like to see brokers told about things like this when agents act in this manner.  CMA's should be provided as part of the listing presentation when an agent is trying to get the listing not after the listing agreement has been signed.

In order to put a stop to this kind of stuff, brokers need to be informed.  If that doesn't get you anywhere, then report it to the state and local board.
  • September 13 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
It is not normal. Please do not sign with this agent. Agents like this only seem to get worse after you sign. You need a CMA to assess their skill as an agent, see where you stand on price and to make sure that they are someone who can explain things that you ask about.

CMA's can be great screening tools to find a good, honest and competent agent. If you need an agent in a specific area, you could try the Zillow directory and read their contributions here in Advice to see what you think before you call them.
  • September 13 2011
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This sounds unusual.  As most people have already mentioned, the CMA or comparative market analysis is provided to the seller / client prior to signing a contract to sell their home.  It should be part of their listing presentation in order to get your business.  Good thing you didn't agree to this. 
  • September 13 2011
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
@ Patricia...

Thank you for recommending that a consumer obtain multiple CMAs. While CMAs can take into account local conditions (where an AVM like a Zestimate has a harder time doing so), they can also be influenced by REA experience and/or bias. Even more important than the deltas in value, getting multiple CMAs allows the consumer to assess what comps are being used/excluded.
  • September 13 2011
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I agree a CMA must be completed before any contract is signed. A real estate contract is probably the most important contract a homeowner will sign; this contract contains the listing price for your home. The CMA helps both the seller and the agent to understand the neighborhood and your home. Please always get a CMA and I may not be popular with this part but it would be in your best interest to get a few before signing a contract.

  • September 13 2011
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Thanks for  your question and sorry you are having trouble with a colleague. 

Assuming what you are saying is correct, this is very unusual because how could you sign a contract if you do not have a sale price to put on it!  Now, I will be interviewed and interview the sellers during my appointment and not discuss sale price as that is not why one should hire an agent but I definitely show them comps before we sign a contract. 

Move on to another agent.  Good luck, hope this helps.   
  • September 13 2011
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The agent should provide you with a CMA in order to show you the homes in your area that have recently sold and the homes that are currently a competition for your home.  You should contact other agents that are willing to give you a CMA without commitment.  It will also give you an idea of their professionalism.
  • September 13 2011
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Profile picture for BigRedBoots
@ Mike: You say that so well!   Unfortunately it looks as if you'd have to commute a long way to help me sell the house.     
  • September 13 2011
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Agent said that they wouldn't do a CMA until after the contract is signed.

As part of the listing agreement, the agent needs to fill in the list price of the home and the seller needs to sign the contract. This would place you in the position of signing a blank contract, which doesn't sound good to me.

In a period where there are too many agents chasing too few listings, I am always bemused and heartened to hear about agents that seemed determined to send more business my way.
  • September 13 2011
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