How Not to Sell a Condo

Friday, 5 July 2013
Those who've read this blog for any length of time know from my dozens of tales of misbehavior that a good listing agent is more than a Glamor Shot and a snazzy blazer. As a buyer's agent I find myself across the table from plenty of very competent and able listing agents, some of them many times every year. I appreciate them making my job enjoyable and as snag-free as the system will allow. Unfortunately, I am sometimes forced to deal with listing agents who occupy a much lower position on the competency scale.

A listing agent is employed by property owners to sell property. Once hired, if the listing agent is not doing her job well, there is not a good way for the seller to know that. If there's a sign in the yard and the listing is on the internet she's doing her job. Right? Maybe not. No offers? Maybe the market is just not interested in your property OR, maybe, the agent doesn't answer her phone or respond to messages or emails. No showings? Same answer. How's a seller to know? Here's a timeline of a recent encounter with a slacker of a listing agent whose listing my client tried to purchase. Note that often sellers may be hard to reach and responses can take days. Good listing agents will relay the reason for the delay and try to keep the prospective buyer's agent informed along the way in hopes of eventually putting a deal together. That didn't happen this time. This is how NOT to handle an offer.

June 15 - mid-morning - I call the listing agent of a half-million dollar oceanfront condo to ask some questions about her listing. My clients who I've shown the unit to twice are interested in making an offer. The recently sold comparable units don't support the asking price so I'm making the call to discuss the unit and find out if there are non-public comps or details about the unit that would justify the higher asking price. She doesn't answer and I leave a message. There is still no call-back by late afternoon so we go ahead and prepare an offer based on our research of the nearby, recently sold units of similar size and condition. The comps suggest a price of about 90% of the asking and we offer accordingly. I email the offer to her and ask for confirmation of receipt.

June 16 - early morning - I have received no call-back or email so I email again asking if she has received the offer. Living here in the home of manned space flight, the practice of redundancy is firmly ingrained in most of us so I fax another copy to her office, just in case. No response so I call again at 9:30 and leave a message that I had emailed and faxed the offer. She calls late afternoon to confirm her receipt and said she'd present our offer to the seller that night and get back to me.

June 17 - no communication from agent

June 18 - she calls and apologizes for the delay and says she will get the offer to the seller "today". I don't mention that she told me two days ago that she was presenting then.

June 19 - I call and ask if the seller had a response to our offer. She says she is getting with him at 9:30 AM "today" (not the other "today" as promised) and will have a response for us shortly after. Nothing from her after that.

June 20 - Still no word from the agent but I have heard about another unit not yet listed on the MLS that seems perfect for these clients. I make arrangements to see the other unit.

June 21 - I email our MIA listing agent again asking if any word. No response.

June 22 - We look at the unlisted unit, love it, make an offer and reach agreement that afternoon. No contact from the first agent about our now seven day old offer all day.

June 23 - Still no word from the listing agent.

June 24 - 11AM email from the listing agent saying the seller has countered our offer from nine days ago and encourages me to have my clients respond to his counter. I let her know that we have another unit under contract and thank her for her tireless efforts.

Think this is uncommon? Think again. Choose your listing agent carefully. For the record, so no innocent Cocoa Beach listing agents are suspected, this was an agent from further south who has no listings in our two cities, thankfully. Oh, and for the sellers of the three Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral condos this morning that are listed by Orlando brokers and appear only in the Orlando MLS and not on the local MLS, good luck finding a buyer. Most of the local buyer's agents aren't even aware that your units are for sale.

Well I guess it ain't easy doing nothing at all oh yeah
But hey man free rides just don't come along every day
____The Offspring