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(Off topic) Selling homes

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This is really tough and there are so many variables it is a challenge to provide really good advice without knowing your situation. One of my first questions would be why are you selling and what is your time-horizon? For me, if this was my first time and time was critical to me, I would find the best realtor possible (by the way, does not sound like you have the best realtor for your area.) If time is not critical, then work with your realtor as best as possible. If you think working with your realtor is no longer feasible then terminate your relationship. My gut tells me you signed an exclusive agreement with the realtor/agency - terminate it (should be able to do it in writing).

Some background: I am not an agent but have started investing in real estate on the side. I started buying property in June of 2005 and between then and May of 2006 I executed 7 transactions. Before my first transaction, I hired and fired 3 realtors until I found the realtor I have now - she is the #1 producer, #1 listing agent and #1 selling agent in her Agency - I hired the absolute best and she works her butt off for me. I live in PA so the commission on the sale is 5%-6%, but it is a negotiable figure and not regulated by any authority.

You should look for a realtor in your area with name recognition. There will be a few that have a "brand" and you see there signs everywhere. You want a agent who is familiar with selling a home versus buying a home. Very important as they know how to move inventory and know what it takes. Nothing wrong with the fact this Brand works for a major real estate chain - Coldwell Banker, Weichert, Keller Williams, Re-Max, etc - you are hiring the agent and most likely his/her team based on their recognition in your area. Marketing is also crucial and they may charge for extra types of marketing - such as filming your house for TV - but it may be worth it.

For a first timer, I am leaning toward hiring a real pro. Get rid of the friend of a friend if you feel that person is not serving your best interests. You may also want to sign a non-exclusive, telling the agent you will only work with them, but also want to list the house at a DIY website and you will give them a 1%-2% commission. They need to remain motivated to move your product in case you sell it on your own.

As for the DIY sites, as an investor, I have not started using them either for the in or the out part of the transaction.

Hope this sheds some perspective.

Comments

  • Ray Landry_2
    Ray Landry_2 Member Posts: 114
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    Trying to sell my first house, and looking for some advice from my good wallie friends. Has anyone ever tried to sell thier house themselves by the means of a sold by owner site like I sold my house.com? Seems tempting to save 15k!!! Of course thier would be some money given for a lawyer and buying agent I'm sure. I currently am under contract with a large realty co who shall remain nameless and am incredibly unhappy with the results. House has been on the market one month, since day one I have been BEGGING for updated photos as the ones they took where HORRIBLE, I even provided them with GOOD photos myself, and have just finally gotten them updated today! I had to be the one to recomend an open house after one month, it is Sunday, and there is no advertisment anywhere for this! Of course this is a friend of a friend so I'm trying to give him the benifet of the doubt but it's getting frustrating!

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  • Brad White_151
    Brad White_151 Member Posts: 23
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    I have done both

    via Realtors and myself in the days before the Internet sites. The reason I did the last transfers myself was of course to save a 5 or 6% fee but also that I knew what to expect from moving other properties through a Realtor. In other words, I would not do it myself my first time. Yes, I paid my attorney to review the documents as a back-up.

    It is odd that with all of the DIY sites these days, stiff competition indeed, they should be bending over backwards to showcase the differences. Makes you wonder what you are paying them for. Do you have an exclusivity clause? Are you confident about doing it yourself?
  • Ray Landry_2
    Ray Landry_2 Member Posts: 114
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    Thank you both so much for your help. I have unforutantly not even recieved a copy of what contract I signed (I know I'm being too trusting) I am getting a copy of it this weekend. I think that I will probably not go with the DIY home sale aspect of it, if I am still unhappy I will just pursue another agency. I spoke with my realtor today, and am please with the conversation, so that is a good start! We'll see what happens though. My timeline isn't crucial, but I would like to flip this place soon, the hour and a half drive to work every day is really getting me!! Thanks again for your input.

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  • Patrick Mullaney
    Patrick Mullaney Member Posts: 67
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    location

    What state are you in? In my state, PA, the realtor MUST give you a disclosure statement and/or consumer notice and a contract. Very easy to check up on state real estate laws.
  • John Ketterman
    John Ketterman Member Posts: 187
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    Discount and DIY sites list your home in the MLS (assuming you have an MLS or equivalent in your area) and then they don't do anything more. The idea is that the buyer's realtor will look up the site in the computer and bring the buyer to see the house.

    The problem is, many full-commission realtors willnot show houses listed though discount realtors. They may be concerned about not enough commission, or they are concerned about having to do all the work without any help from a seller's realtor. And there's some mafia attitude on the part of full-commission realtors.

    How bad is this for you specific case? No one can tell you. In a hot market your house may sell if you just put a sign in the window. In a dead market like now, even paying double commission may not change anything. But in some situations, paying full commission to a good realtor could get you that one buyer which is all you need.

    It's a bad time to sell a house. If a house doesn't sell, it is easy to blame the realtor, but maybe the seller is refusing to lower the price enough, or something like that. Prices don't always go up; sometimes they go down.
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,215
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    Any House Will Sell by Anyone...

    Any home will sell quickly no matter who is selling it if the price is right.

    The posts above hit the nail on the head. Using the best broker you can find should more than pay for their commission with the higher sale price that they should negotiate. A seller doing his own deal ofter provides too much information and harpoons the deal or has too much emotional attachment to see clearly.

    Another tip... don't do business with a friend.

    Get comparables from a prospective broker in the area, that is very recient sales of similar houses. Use them to set a fair price. If a house is priced properly, a monkey can sell it.

    Long Beach Ed
  • mikep7777
    mikep7777 Member Posts: 13
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    I agree with Ed on the "don't use a friend" rule - too much money at stake to have any emotional bond, and treating it as strictly business is essential. (Of course, this advice is a day late and a dollar short). I know plenty of realtors, and although I would feel comfortable asking any of them for a recommendation, I wouldn't use any of them directly.

    The "if a house is priced right, it will sell" issue isn't entirely true, though, especially when prices are falling. If you need to sell it today, there's a "right price" that will get it sold today, but it may not be what you're willing to take for the house.

    I always get a kick out of hearing realtors brag that a house sold the day it was listed - that just means the price was too low. There's an ideal listing time, which I imagine is on the order of a month or so, which gives time for the house to be seen by a reasonable number of people, and allows you to get the most cash for your investment.

    I would expect that a realtor should be able to get you more for a house than you could get directly; the good ones have devoted their lives to understanding the psychology of selling an expensive product, and they actually sell the house (as opposed to helping someone buy it). On a $300K house, if they get you an extra $10K, that's basically the same as reducing the commission by 1/2 to 2/3.

    I'm not a realtor, and I'm not a plumber, either. I've been lurking on this site for a couple of months (finally getting a Munchkin/Superstore to replace my 1940's American Radiator boiler, hopefully starting tomorrow). One of the constant pieces of advice I've heard on this site is that when you pay an expert to design and install a heating system, you get expert results, and the added expense is minimal in the overall scheme of the project. Same would seem to hold for selling a house.
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