Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Bait and Switch and the High Maintenance Seller

I got a phone call from a listing of mine that they no longer wish to retain my services as their listing agent. They want to terminate the agreement, and attempt to sell the house on their own.

Now please understand this post is not about me defending my abilities as a listing agent, and defining their actions as impulsive and unwise, but rather the interesting situation as a whole for a real estate broker.

The listing agreement reads that should a prospective seller break the agreement before the expiration date, the agent is due financial consideration for advertising and services rendered. I know some brokers who hold clients to this, but I don't. If you are unhappy or just wish to move on, God bless. No hard feelings. The last thing I want is someone who feels trapped by my services. I do spend money on advertising, but rarely on one listing. It is more of a marketing approach as a whole.

Anyway, Mr. and Mrs. X want out. So be it. Their home was shown nine times in five months. Nine ready able and willing buyers who chose not to buy this particular home. The feedback? House too small 1,300 sq. feet. Bedrooms too small. Too close to the highway. Although urged, they were not willing to drop the price any further. (We did have three price reductions.) Again not blaming them. They are a very nice couple, who really would like to sell. I feel bad that I was not able to help them sell their home. I spent quite a bit of time with them, going over numbers, changing and moving signs, almost daily phone calls. It was a lot of work, for it to turn out to be nothing.

Or was it nothing? (This is where I finally get to my point.) Two couples that I showed Mr. and Mrs. X's house too, have made offers through me on other houses. One is within a half a mile, and has already signed contracts, and should close in the next few weeks. Without having that listing, and having the opportunity to market it, I would not have meet either couple or made either sale. Is it the bait and switch? I had the bait, and it did turn into a switch, so I suppose in the most basic form it was.

Now we all know that the illegal form is when the bait is non existent and is advertised purely as a lure. I just think it is interesting when you take a look at it, how well such a scheme can work.

There are a few Realtors in the area who leave listings on their websites long after they have either sold, or gone off the market. "Oh I'm sorry, that house just went into contract. But do tell, what type of home are you looking for?"

I do believe that Mr. and Mrs. X were a bit impulsive deciding to have a go at it on their own ( and if they list with another broker, so be it.) Nine showings in five months is pretty good for times like these. You can lead a horse to water...

Did I fail? I failed Mr. and Mrs. X, but I did not fail my business, or the two buyers who found homes.

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