By Howard Turoff –
If Your Condo is Priced to Sell, Maybe your Agent is at Fault!
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:
- Google your property address and see if the open house comes up.
- Do a Craigslist search as if you were an open house shopper.
- Look at the Reporter & Current Open House ads
- Check the real estate office window for a flyer and it’s accuracy
- Ask your agent to see the actual MLS listing and the Open House MLS listing
- Look on trulia.com, zillow.com and other sites for your property open house
- See if your property is prominently featured on your agent’s own website (a good agent must have one)
- See if your property is featured on your agent’s company website (every company must have one)
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.