2009 Mar 24th

Is No One Showing Up For Your Hoboken Open House? Maybe You Should Blame Your Agent.

By Howard Turoff –

[email protected]

If Your Condo is Priced to Sell, Maybe your Agent is at Fault!Hoboken Open House

A few week ago I described a telephone exchange  I had with a Hoboken real estate agent.  While compiling info for the weekend’s open house map, I came across a craigslist ad for an open house that listed only the cross streets.  There was no specific street address in the ad.  The agent’s real estate company was displayed, so I went to its website, but none of the agency’s advertised open houses matched the craigslist ad.  I searched the MLS for open houses but found no match.  Finally I called the agent.  She very nicely told me that the property address was intentionally withheld so that prospective buyers are forced to call her for specifics. When an agent keeps a property address secret, are the seller’s best interests being met?  Isn’t the agent serving their own self interest at the cost of the clients? 

I see more mistakes and errors by Hoboken real estate agents than you can imagine.  Most are probably due to carelessness and incompetency rather than greed or malfeasance.  This past weekend alone, an open house was advertised on Craigslist for $435,000 when the correct price was $345,000.   Another had a Willow Street address with no street number.  There were no open houses listed for the weekend on that real estate agency’s website.  I only figured out the address by searching the MLS for condos at that exact price on Willow, something a potential buyer could not do.  Another company had a “For Sale” property listed as a “For Rent”.  Many, many ads for open houses have inconsistent open house dates, prices and locations on their respective websites, the MLS, the Reporter and/or Craigslist.  How is a buyer supposed to know when the open house is really taking place?  How upset do you think buyers become when they go to the property ‘open house’ only to find no one there?

Bottom Line for Sellers:  Holding an open house is work.

Open houses are work for sellers.  You have to clean and stage your home to perfection and then disappear for 3 or 4 hours every weekend.  Holding a successful open house is also work for your agent.  If buyers can’t find your open house, you’re wasting your time and efforts.    Ads must be placed, flyers printed, websites updates, information entered into the MLS, craigslist ad created and more.  It’s tedious, time consuming and detail-oriented.  If your agent is sloppy, you will be hurt – in the pocketbook.

When a new listing hits the market, (good) agents working with buyers contact them and bring it to the buyers’ attention.  A brand new listing has the most “heat” and will attract the most interest and attention.  The more potential buyers that see a property, the more likely one or more of them will want it, and the more people who want it, the higher the likely sales price.  Getting more people to see your condo for sale is why sellers want their properties on the MLS in the first place – to reach out to the most buyers as possible through the vast network of local realtors. 

Don’t squander the best opportunity to showcase your home by entrusting it to an agent who is careless with the details.  Don’t YOU be lazy about double checking your listing agent’s work:

If you can’t find your condo for sale, neither can your buyer.  If your condo for sale is not easily found and your open house info not accurate  GET A BETTER REALTOR.  Wake up sellers!  It’s 2009 and the days of bidding wars on ordinary properties are OVER!

Do you have a horror story to tell about selling your condo?  Or are you a buyer who has been burned by bad, sloppy open house info?  How about an “atta boy” for someone who did an outstanding job?  We want to hear about your open house experiences.

  1. Andy

    I had one of the worst experiences of my life with an agent in town. He offered to show me some other places in addition to the one he was acting as selling agent for an open house I went to. I ended up finding an overpriced unit and the agent clearly just wanted a quick sale and didn’t want to do any work to help me find a place I really wanted. That unit ended up selling to someone else and I didn’t even find out until I had to call my agent to find out someone out bid me. the agent didn’t even think to follow up. Then I found another unit and when I asked them questions about condo assoc rules whether I could make certain upgrades to the unit he lied to me straight faced. The broker even lied to me about a similar unit that I eventually bought(ie location and condition). I hope that if anything this economic fall out will shake these terrible real estate agents from this town. Sorry its not open house specific but if I ever encounter another agent like that I’m running in the other direction.

  2. Tiger

    Great topic Howard, for me I had two bad open house experiences:
    1- Walking a few blocks for an open house, only to find out that it has been canceled.

    2- Early on in my search, I would be looking at open houses, I had this incident where the agent was downright RUDE to me. I don’t know what about me irked him or something, he was just rude, not willing to answer any questions, and seemed the least bit interested. Unknown to him, I was shopping for both, a condo and an AGENT. Do you think I ever wanted to do any business with him?

  3. Lori Turoff

    I’m sorry for your bad experiences. Like many things in life, the universe of realtors can be described as a bell-curve. There are a few truly outstanding, bright, energetic people at one end, and some awful, lazy dummies at the opposite end, with the majority falling somewhere in the middle. When the real estate market was booming, even bad agents had enough business fall in their laps to stay in the trade. Some not-so-great agents even excelled and their track record alone gets them calls and listings even today. That’s why it’s so important for buyers and sellers to do their homework as described in the article and elsewhere on this blog, to ask penetrating questions and seek out the right realtor. Calling the same person you used a few years ago may not be the right answer in today’s market. HT

  4. JC

    My favorite is the advertisement of the open house on the sidewalk with incomplete information. Usually the price is left out but sometimes the amount of Bedrooms too.

    Last month there was an open house for a 2 BR on a nice block in a nice building. I walked in and the unit ended up being 650 sq ft in desperate need of a complete gut renovation. Waste of my time. Give me the info on the sidewalk at least.

  5. Tiger

    That’s very true, and in fact it seems to apply to more than one industry. I know it applies to my industry (enterprise IT software). A lot of IT firms downsized their teams or even exited the consulting market. Back in the day of multimillion dollar project it was easy to send a few useless consultants along with good ones (A practice we never believed in, btw), but now it’s showtime; there’e still good consulting work, but companies (clients) want their dollar worth. I imagine it’s a similar scenario with realtors.

  6. Dan Simon - Charleston SC Real Estate

    Like any profession, there are good Realtors & there are not so good Realtors. If you are thinking about buying or selling real estate – do some research, ask for references or ask your friends, family and co-workers for recommendations.

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