Not All Listings are Worth Having
It seems that being a real estate agent is fraught with adversity. Maybe this is true of any job that deals with large sums of money exchanging hands. Whatever the reason, I have had my fair share of adversity through various real estate transactions. The worst occurred a couple of years ago.
I had written a post entitled, Bring Attention to Unique Selling Features in the MLS. As a result of that post, a local homeowner emailed me saying he had a home that might work for these buyers. It had previously been on the market but had expired.
I looked up his listing and found that it was a very unique home that had been listed for $1.2M. It was way above the price point of my buyers but I sent the seller an email asking if we could meet to discuss listing his home.
His first response was that he was looking to list with a luxury agent who primarily worked with million dollar clients. I quickly pointed out to him that he had done that for the last two years with no success and maybe it was time to try a different approach. After an exchange of a few emails, he agreed to meet.
While I was thrilled, I was also a little nervous. Up until this point, my focus had been on buyers, not sellers. When I first came into the business, I didn't really know what my unique value proposition was but ActiveRain had changed all that. My blogging was getting attention. The type of attention that makes the phone ring. So I had a new-found confidence in my ability to market and sell a home.
Armed with my competitive market analysis and all my great information about blogging and SEO, I drove to meet the seller. He was a little bit of a recluse. His home was on several acres hidden in the trees of Middle Tennessee. It was a beautiful setting and a storybook home. Something right out of Snow White.
I wanted this listing.
It was a pleasant meeting that I felt went very well but I knew I had some tough competition. He told me that he was interviewing several of the top agents in the area but none of them had mentioned search engine optimization (SEO). Even though, I felt good about our meeting, I didn't think there was anyway I would get the listing. A week later, I got an email that I was hired.
I knew going in that the home was over-priced. But the seller agreed to drop the price after 90 days if there were no showings. That was my first mistake.
Since this was a high-end listing, I spent some real money on professional photography, video and signage. That was my second mistake.
I immediately began blogging like crazy about this home and even got a few calls off the beautiful 5'x3' sign with a picture of the home on it. Unfortunately, no takers--the home was over-priced.
The seller liked my blogging efforts but he kept harassing me to spend some money on print advertising. I explained that print advertising didn't really yield results anymore. My whole listing presentation had been based upon my blogging efforts and the internet exposure we would gain.
In the first 90 days, we only had one showing. Further confirmation, no showings equals over-priced listing. That's not how the seller saw it.
He was regularly sending emails (his preferred method of contact) about my inability to market his home. He blamed me for no showings. I tried calling to talk with him, he wouldn't answer his phone. I would send him regular marketing updates about the clicks I was getting on his listing from the various websites. People were finding us on the internet but weren't coming to see the home because of the price. He refused to drop the price as previously agreed upon.
I was stressed all the time. The seller wasn't returning my phone calls and sending nasty emails daily. I hated to open my email each day for fear of what I would find.
I finally went to my broker. He advised me to stop responding to my client's emails so he would be forced to call me. I did just that. Instead of the seller calling me, he called my broker. Fortunately, the broker was well aware of the situation and came to my defense. The seller didn't care for this much. While we still tried to rectify the situation by involving another agent to co-list, the damage was already done. Neither of us wanted to work together any longer.
Finally, after much angst, I decided to drop the listing. I couldn't take the stress any longer. It was affecting every aspect of my life. I had to write this one off.
I found out shortly thereafter that the seller was bi-polar. No wonder one day he would be singing my praises and the next, he would be harassing me with nasty emails.
What did I learn from this experience? First, never to take an over-priced listing and I've stuck to that. Second, I am very particular about the listings I do take. If sellers won't take my suggestions as the real estate expert in reference to staging, condition or marketing, then I'm not going to take their listing. Period.
It's unfortunate this seller didn't take my advice. I believe, if he had, he would have sold his home within the first four months of his listing. As it turned out, he went to another agent, who again dropped him after 60 days. He did end up selling a year-and-a-half later for $300K less than we had it listed.
This experience made me realize, I can't control the actions of others but I can control my actions and reactions to their behavior. I don't have to put up with abusive sellers and not all listings are worth having.
This post is an entry into the ActiveRain Challenge: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger.