2009 Aug 17th

A Realtor’s Response

Today I’m posting a response from a local realtor to a comment made by one of our commentors who goes by the name of “Interested”.  You may remember, he is the guy who told me he found out about a property from my Weekly Wednesday Wrap Up; corresponded with me privately about my opinion of the property and its value; and then made an offer through another agent.  Well, seems he’s ticked off the listing agent for the property as well.  Here is what she had to say:

I would like to respond to a [comment to a] post I read recently on your blog.  As a frequent reader, and local real estate agent, I was surprised to read a [comment on a] post which, I believe, was indirectly critical of me. This [comment] was by “Interested” on August 5th regarding the apartment he purchased.

In that post he commented “the Seller’s had no clue how to stage their place or what the price should have been. I think their Realtor just wanted to move it and make her commission.” and “A few minutes with a GOOD Realtor and the Seller would have gotten a lot more and we would have paid it!”

I knew the potential that apartment had and what it could look like as I was also the listing agent for the unit that “Interested” referenced as having sold for 23% more in a *different market*. The higher selling apartment was beautifully furnished with expensive pieces, painted with warm colors, had stainless steel appliances, wine fridge, undermount cabinet lights, custom backsplash in the kitchen, did not have the wear and tear of two children, and was a bit larger. It was also not directly above the garage with a view of the street, and where you can hear the garage door open and close when the other residents move their car.

As a Certified ASP Stager, I can see the commenter’s point regarding the staging of the apartment and, in fact, I felt the same way and advised the sellers that there were many things that could be done to make the apartment appealing to more buyers. In some cases the sellers have the budget and time to do the things necessary to sell at the best possible price, in other cases they don’t.

If money had been spent on paint, appliances and proper staging the apartment would have appealed to more buyers and they could have gotten more money. It would have taken about $20k to get the home in optimum showing condition. However, even in perfect condition it was not worth $75k more in this market because its a walk-up building, not concrete construction, it is directly above the garage, and there are too many homes in the $500k-$600k price range that are new construction to justify asking over $600k.

The [sellers] had intereviewed at least one other agent that had advised them to price it $20,000 LESS than my price. The reason they were given an even lower number by someone else WAS the condition of the property. It was not in bad shape, but not everyone lives like a photo in a Pottery Barn magazine – especially when they have two children, the 2nd of which was a newborn.

I agree there are bad Realtors out there that are lazy, clueless, greedy – and even unethical. But I am not one of them, and don’t take lightly the criticism that I was the reason the home wasn’t staged and didn’t sell for more. The buyer should be happy he got what he felt was a good deal, instead of bashing the Realtor that has no control over how the seller’s decorate their home.

And if you can’t understand why THEY wouldn’t stage- maybe you should take into account that they just had a new baby and prefered to use their time, money and energy on setting up their new home with their newest member of the family.



  1. west9210

    “Do the sellers know this discussion is taking place?”

    Good question, Bill. Hoboken’s a small town. You don’t live a few years here without making AT LEAST a handful of very close friends.

    So, even if the couple have moved out of Hoboken, SOMEONE they know in Hoboken will come across this thread, either a reader of this site or through the gossip grapevine, and inform them.

    Then again, as a few here have surmised, perhaps they’re thrilled to simply have sold it and wouldn’t mind reading Tania’s open letter and the ensuing comments.

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