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April 21, 2008


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I think that a good agent is helpful, but the condition, location, price, curb appeal and general appearance (staging) of a house make much more of an impact on how quickly it will sell.

I agree with LC. We're considering a move within our local area, and the first two houses we liked well enough to make an offer didn't work out because we wanted to make it contingent on the sale of our house.

The first place accepted a different offer with no contingency. But at least that motivated us to get our act together and meet with our banker. We're now approved for a bridge loan.

The second house we tried the same thing at first, but the listing agent (a superstar in our market) discouraged this. She offered a (standard) clause in which we would get 24 or 48 hour right of first refusal if someone else came in with a cash offer. At that point we could either accept or withdraw, which would probably mean taking our house off the market as well. We decided to pass on the property for other reasons, but it allowed us an opportunity to have a high volume agent do an analysis of our house. Of course she feels we can sell within a month at the price we need. Is she just telling us what we want to hear? Or do those 200 sales in the last year speak louder?

Meeting with a "superstar" agent did impress upon us how we might be better off listing with her than trying to sell our house ourselves or going with a lower volume seller. She has a team of assistants who really seem to know how to market properties and work darn hard at it. She was the second agent we've had look at our place and feels we can get 10-20k more than the first agent thought. Surprise, surprise!

Either way, when the time comes, the decision will be stressful. We won't market our house until we find that "just right" property and they accept our offer. But we are prepared to go without a contingency of selling our house first. That will make selling our house quickly very important.

In the interim, we continue to do all the little repairs to improve the appearance of our current house. And we continue to get rid of accumulated stuff. It's a long process that takes a lot of time and planning.

It would make sense that paying your listing agent a higher commission and offering buyers' agents a higher commission would have a positive impact on how quickly you sell.

However, in my mind, it would be completely unethical for an agent to perform worse due to the commission. A comparison might be a doctor who's level of care is soley based on how much your insurance company will pay him.

Agent's determine the commission when they agree to represent you. The quality of their work should be as high as possible from the moment they make that committment.

From the buyer's side, think of it this way: If my agent will only show me houses where he gets the highest commission is he really working in my best interest? Am I really seeing the best houses for me? Or, am I missing out on great opportunities that might suit me better because the agent is only looking at his commission and not at creating a life-long relationship with a buyer.

To me the idea of simply increasing an agent's commission is very short-sighted thinking.

Now if an agent, from the outset says that he requires a higher percentage than the norm for that area then he better prove that it is deserved in both his past sales and his service and ability to get your house sold.

I tried to sell my home without a Realtor and just have home in MLS. This got the showings, as the pictures were pictures we took and submitted to the broker who only puts what you say in the MLS listing. We found that other Realtors don't like working directly with the owner/seller and tend to tell the potential buyer that the seller does not know what they are doing, and that the potential buyer should move on. We finally worked with our past Realtor, and she was able to get our home sold. My wife and I are both now Realtors (yes, we actually enjoy the real estate, especially when its not your own) We never imagined how much was involved in selling or buying a home that the Realtor does for you. (not to mention all the never ending fees, subscriptions, dues etc that you pay to stay a Realtor) Ask a Realtor what they plan to do for the 3% selling commission. If a client ask for a 2% commission vs. 3% I explain that the marketing of their home will be limited to Open Houses, and not $500/mo in the big "Parade of Homes" or whatever. They understand that a $3000 commission is easily "eaten up" by expensive publications. If your home needs to sell now, a high dollar, or in a market with allot of competition, pay the 3%! offer buyer incentives (closing cost, Realtor bonus, etc...) Super marketing of a home that is a terrible home still makes a home terrible. The end of the first post stated that the family friend was no good and the other Realtor had a offer in 3 weeks. Other than online, not much marketing could have been published in that time, so the fact that the home was relished in MLS as a "NEW" listing is one of the best ways to sell.(But a top Realtor does have many people that are in need of homes, so this would help) Price does make your home stand out.I agree with the post from LC, also. Have a home that is avg, in an avg market, it will take a better than avg price to make it move faster than the avg time. And don't forget your home may be "worth" what you are asking, but if no one is willing to pay that, then is it worth paying a mortgage every month holding out for your "worth" price? And don't forget if you have allot of builders with excess inventory, your going to get beat every time trying to sell.

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