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March 1, 2012


I Need My House Sold

by mark mclean

Have you ever received one of those emails from someone proclaiming to be royalty living in The Ivory Coast or Nigeria? You know those ones? Well, I got one of those yesterday. At least I thought I did. At first glance it looked like spam.  Then I recognized some of the names it was sent to (the TREB president, an administrator at another Bosley office, someone I recognized in new condo sales). While the list of people was completely random, I was drawn to the subject line…..I need my house sold. My first reaction was, “wait a second, is this a joke?” Here is some of the email;

 “Hello and thank you for reading my email. My name is xxxxx  and I own this beautiful property at xxxxxx. My home is currently listed with xxxxxx and my listing contract is a couple of days away from expiring! My listing agent is a personal friend and I have discussed with her my intentions with this non-traditional marketing strategy. Seeing that this home has a “niche” clientele, I am prepared to offer any selling R/E Agent 3.5% commission upon the successful sale of my home. I built this home with the intention of retiring here, unfortunately my personal situation has changed and I am needing to size down.  This offer is being made available up to and including March 21st, 2012.  So act fast for your opportunity on cashing in on some GREAT Commission!!!”

 The email included a website with pictures of a fairly decent house. Not my style, but all the same, respectable. And while I give the seller some props for taking the home sale into their own hands I can’t help wondering what is going on in their head. Is this random email to 8 people, going to get this house sold? Of course I’m also curious how the realtor friend must feel. The seller is basically saying that the listing agent was a failure, and that they could do a better job selling the house themselves. It also proclaims, quiet equivocally that they are desperate. So without laying blame I thought I would look at some possible reasons why this house has not sold.

1.Location. The house is located in another town, so I really can’t make a judgement call. I google mapped the location and it is on a nice bit of street about one block from the lake.

2.Condition of the house. Well, from the pictures, the house looks  newly constructed so I doubt that’s the problem.

3.Curb appeal. The house looks clean and manicured and has a nicely landscaped backyard with a pool. That’s got to be worth something.

4.Clutter. Dont think that’s it. If anything the interior pictures show a house that looks vaguely staged.

5.Slow market. From the reports I have heard from agents who work in this town, they are experiencing the same low inventories we face in Toronto although the higher priced homes are taking a bit more time to sell.

6.High property expenses. The house would be considered  part of the luxury market and as such maintenance costs can be higher than average.

7.Tough to show. I would have a hard time believing the house hasn’t sold because it is hard to show.

8.Agent’s lack of effective marketing. I don’t personally  know the agent who has the listing, nor can I comment on their marketing efforts except to say that the pictures, taken from the listing, look pretty good. There was not a virtual tour or floor plans. I may have included that.

9.Price. Well, a few houses over there is a house for sale for $600K cheaper and it is 2500 square foot bigger. Oh, and it’s a Power of Sale. Hmm

10. It’s been on the market too long. The house was originally listed back in September 2011 for an additional $700K. Ouch.

Seems pretty obvious. the owner probably didn’t listen to the agent. Listed to high and chased the market down. I honestly don’t think offering an agent a higher commission is going to do the trick. Naturally, I would love to hear your comments. Have a great week.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Josh West
    Mar 12 2012

    Thanks for the article. Typical seller. Blame the realtor, my house is perfect.

  2. Was the listing effectively pushed to media sites? Z/ Or was it just put up in the MLS with the hope it would magically sell? Wonder if there was any print marketing or mailers or open houses?

    I don’t have any studies to cite, but pricing has long been the number one reason for a slow sale, but today, most Realtors claim eleventh hour contract failures due to appraisal issues or a buyer falling out of qualification last minute. I have to wonder if there is also a contract failure involved in this listing and the agent OR homeowner put all eggs in one basket and focused on other listings? Thoughts?

    • Mar 14 2012

      Thanks Lani,I think in this case it is a situation where the agent wasn’t able to demonstrate WHY the house was overpriced. Starting high and chasing reductions is a strategy that rarely works and has the affect of ending up netting less for the seller than if the house was accurately priced from the beginning. We have a very hot market in this part of the world but agents would tell you that pricing is very difficult even with a inch of comparible sales in the neighborhood.

  3. susan bandler
    Jul 4 2012

    I’m with you Mark…once one prices too high the chances of chasing the market down are good…but sellers will always have a different opinion about the value of their home….regardless what how the market speaks.

    • Jul 5 2012

      Hi Susan. We had a situation recently where the client blamed the agent for not getting offers wildly over the list price. The whole time tthe agent said buyers set the price…not homeowners or agents.


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