Estate real estate

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July 7, 2009 by 8junebugs

Sometime during my trip, the realtor I hired to sell my mom’s house decided to dump me. I imagine it had something to do with the last email I sent to her before I left, in which I disagreed with her assertion that advertising the property once a month qualified as “regularly.”

I also pointed out that she had said she would put the listing on craigslist, but didn’t.

And I insisted that she edit the listing description as previously requested–I’m new to this whole real estate thing, but I’m pretty sure “might need to cut some trees to enhance view” isn’t a selling point.

I had been pressing for data and feedback–I found out that at least one website that carried the listing offered metrics for free. I requested those.

And then she dumped me. (I never got those metrics. I got “The house was shown on Monday. It went okay.”)

I am aware that, by some standards, I might be a high-maintenance client.

Over the past six weeks or so, I have been documenting the issues I’ve had with her service in order to get out of the contract. She came highly recommended and, as far as I know, is a very nice lady (and related to at least one friend, because that’s how it goes in a small town). But I asked for weekly reports because–

  • The house has been on the market for six months without even a low offer. I am aware that the economy sucks and unemployment is high. I also know that people are still buying houses.
  • It’s been shown fewer than 10 times in those six months. If it’s been shown more than that, I don’t know about it, because she wouldn’t give me any data until I demanded it, and what I did get was sketchy and incomplete.
  • Her listing was inaccurate: there’s no carpet anywhere in the house and there is no fireplace (although there is a hearth and a chimney from when we had a coal stove).
  • The price is undoubtedly still too high. The priority for the estate is to liquidate the only remaining asset, not wait for an unlikely bidding war. I don’t know if she ever understood that.

I need to find a new realtor, and I don’t have any reason to trust local referrals–the outgoing agent is highly respected in the region, but perhaps for reasons that don’t correspond to my particular needs. The outgoing agent has also acted in such a way that I believe she was trying to position herself for a referral fee from the new agent. Given her performance, I didn’t like that idea at all. I got the listing release in writing and had the keys left with my attorney.

Instead, I’m working with one of my surrogate parents, NK, whose real estate career is probably the reason I expect good service and results. Having watched how hard she worked for her clients, I didn’t think it was unreasonable to expect my realtor to return my emails and tell me what people were saying about the house when they didn’t buy it.

If NK were licensed in Vermont, I have no doubt that the house would have sold before the snow melted. As she’s not, however, she’s doing the interviews and research to find someone she trusts to help me.

Which is exactly what I need right now. Not “I like this person,” not “We always work with So-and-So.” I need the person who’s going to understand what I need to have happen and work toward that. The person who understands that and finds the right agent for me will actually deserve a referral fee.

(That sound you hear is me kicking myself for not asking for her help in the first place.)

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