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Who sells my house??? Ethically???

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WhatsRight posted 10/11/2018 15:56 PM

So, last year I sold 2 houses...or rather, I coordinated getting them ready to sell, and an aquaintance of mine was the realtor. She is one of the most successful realtors in our city.

For the record, I didn't believe that we got what I thought we should have for the two smaller houses… but then again, what do I know!

After she saw the other two houses, she and I talked about the dream home that we are now selling. She asked once or twice to come and look at it and I told her it is still such a mess because we were still in the middle of this move, that it wouldn't be a good time.

The last time she asked me about the house was in June and she said in a text, "Do you think the house will be ready by July 1?". I said no, that there was too much to get done.

Since that time, I have texted her a couple of quick questions and she texted me back within a week or so. She seems uninterested in selling the house. I don't understand this, because this is our big dream home, and her commission would be significant. I don't know if she just doesn't think that I'm serious about selling, or has enough money to where she doesn't want to fool with it, or just feels certain that I'm going to sign with her.

Meanwhile, months into this process of trying to get my big house ready to sell, my friend of over 30 years has taken classes and tested and gotten her realtors license. She now has a mentor and works for a real estate agency here in town.

She is aware of my verbal discussion from time to time with the realtor regarding my log home. Maybe inappropriately, but I have ask her some questions about what would be best… this or that. And she has answered based on what she has learned recently. She has zero intention of "stealing" the listing, but she and I speak frequently about how fabulous it would be if she could find a buyer so that she could have half of the commission.

I understand that I have no legal commitment with the first realtor. But I am wondering about the ethical commitment. I have never said the words, "I will be listing with you." But we have discussed the house and what would be best to do here and there on occasion.

Even without having to respond, my friend has been so helpful, answering questions that I have about opening up walls on the top floor so that the light could go from the front to the back of the house, whether I should keep a 500 gallon aquarium or move it out of the house, things like that. Things we had spoken of just as friends long before she ever thought about getting her realtors license.

I know that I do not have a legal obligation to stay with the first realtor, because I have signed no contract. But I am concerned about an ethical obligation.

Is there a realtor in the SI house? Can you all tell me what kind of a fine line this is? I don't want to be the type of person that "breaks their word". But I also feel like this first realtor is doing absolutely nothing to initiate any type of contact with me in order to sell my home.


[This message edited by WhatsRight at 3:58 PM, October 11th (Thursday)]

Phoenix1 posted 10/11/2018 16:05 PM

I get what you are saying, but what "word" are you concerned about breaking? Even ethically? You haven't given any indication you would definitely be listing with her, and people change agents all the time unless there is a written contract in place. Honestly? I would rather work with someone a little more motivated (i.e., your newly licensed friend).

And she might not be pursuing it too hard because you were indicating that you really weren't sure when it would be ready to list. Maybe she just felt that when you WERE ready, you would contact her. She's probably got other active listings to attend to instead of playing the wait game with yours.

I dunno. Just some thoughts that popped into my head.

amli posted 10/11/2018 16:28 PM

Licensed realtor/attorney here. You are not ethically bound to anything in the situation you describe. Choose who you want and do not worry about it. Honestly, realtors are hopeful, but not delusional that a client will be a client for life-that is why they have you sign listing agreements for specific amounts of time-they want to lock you in-and that makes sense-they will be investing some up front cost to market the home.

This is business and if you like the new realtor, go with her.

WhatsRight posted 10/11/2018 16:31 PM

Thanks Phoenix.

I’ve been thinking of the same things.

The only thing that my friend has ever said was in response to a comment I made. I said something like, “as much money as she would make off of commission if she sold my house, I feel like she should be making more of a proactive effort to deal with me.”

My friend responded with “If I was your agent I would be on your front porch every morning at 8 o’clock asking if I should go pressure wash something!” Of course she was teasing, but it’s really the only time she has ever agreed in any form with my concerns about the realtor.

To coin a phrase from the south, I feel this realtor should be “courting” me. But any contact made between us is always initiated by me.

Other than feeling comfortable ethically with changing realtors (due to not having signed a contract), my only concern about giving the listing to my friend was that she is just starting out, And that she wouldn’t have the resources or marketing tools yet to get a wide enough pool of interested buyers.

But the realty company she works for puts her with a mentor, and her mentor was a second grade school teacher for many many years, and 20 years ago retired from teaching and became a realtor – and has been quite successful. So I know that I would be in experienced hands.

WhatsRight posted 10/11/2018 18:36 PM

Oh wow.

Thx amli...

One question… Do I need to notify the first realtor that I will be going with a different person?

This realtor I have used before can be quite abrupt, and to be honest… She scares me just a little.

😳😳😳

WhatsRight posted 10/11/2018 18:50 PM

Also, if I go with the new realtor and her mentor, and they turn out to be not quite as successful and effective and efficient as the first realtor… I guess I’m screwed.

Or would she be interested in listing for me if my contract expires with the new realtor?

My eyes are rolling in the back of my head just thinking about all this. I have a really really big issue with loyalty, and I think that’s what’s bothering me here

I’m concerned that I should be loyal to this first realtor who has already sold two houses, and with whom I have spoken very sparsely and casually with about selling the big house. She did give me the name of someone she recommended to help with the swimming pool, and with the first houses, she did give me the name of a handyman. Besides that, I have not heard from her.

And, of course, I would love to give the business to my friend… Especially since she has an experienced realtor working with her.

Anyway, thanks for the comments.

Greeneyesbluezy posted 10/11/2018 20:59 PM

What’s right.

You can go with your friend, as long as you are advised, hopefully with her mentor, on how and where they plan to market the house.

You can also negotiate a shorter time period in the contract. 3 months for me, tho they will ask for a longer period. But, you can always extend.

If your other realtor takes offense, well then you should realize that offense should never be taken in this business. It’s a transactional situation and I’m sure there would be plenty of other experienced realtors willing and able to list your house and sell it.

Good luck my dear!!!

Too_Trusting posted 10/12/2018 10:20 AM

I agree with everyone else that has said you are not obligated to go with the first realtor. With that being said, maybe I can suggest a few things you can consider?

1. Time of year. IDK where your dream house is located, but it may be the time of year where the real estate market is slowing down. I want to sell my house, and my realtor has said that Thanksgiving until Christmas is dead for real estate sales. Your 1st realtor may just think you'll be waiting until after the holidays to list that house.

2. Experience and location matter! When my former marital home was listed for sale, I wanted to list it with a good friend. Said friend had lots of experience in Real Estate, but really had more of a "following" in a different county. He did a "decent" job, but didn't really have a lot of clientele in the area where the house was located. Now, this was 16+ years ago - before the online explosion of looking for houses online. Now, that type of following may not be as important. BUT, I do think the person you list with needs to know how to market your home IN THAT PARTICULAR LOCATION.

3. Houses will sell for FMV. Regardless of what you think a house "should" sell for, the market will tell you what it's really worth. My idiot ExH insisted on listing the marital home for more than the fair market value. It did not sell until I insisted on lowering the price MONTHS later. THAT is the biggest mistake people make when listing their home, IMO. Don't list it "high", hoping that you can get more for your home. All it will do is make your house stagnant on the market, and even less appealing to buyers. Even lowering the price won't bring back buyers that you missed when it was listed above fair market value.

Personally, I would probably interview BOTH agents - your friend (with her mentor along), as well as the first agent. Ask them both for a comparative market analysis to determine the listing price, and then ask them both what THEY will do to market your home and get it sold.

This is a very important transaction, and you need to know WHO is best qualified to sell your home, and who will work hardest to get that done. This is a business transaction that you should entrust to the person/agency most qualified and motivated to get it sold, IMHO.

WhatsRight posted 10/12/2018 10:43 AM

Thanks so much for all of this.

Last night at 9:45 I broke down and called my friend and ask her if I could meet with her in her name torch just for an information meeting to find out about them and what they could do about selling the house.

She called back at 8 o'clock this morning and ask if I could meet I'll caps today at 3:30!

I am spending the rest of the morning jotting down some questions that I want to ask. Thanks for the suggestions you have already given me, I am open to any other suggestions.

I have already been speaking with my friend about the poor timing of getting the house ready to sell. I had hoped to have it ready by July 1, and at that time the market was very hot in our city. Now it's slowed down. I have to figure out whether or not to wait until spring, or to sign a three month contract now – take it off the market for a month if it doesn't sell – and then sign a new three month contract which would have it showup as a "new listing".

And I absolutely hear what you're saying about asking too much. What I have basically done is calculated how much money we need in order to pay our monthly bills, how much I still owe on the house, and how much the commission will be for the real estate agent.

WhatsRight posted 10/12/2018 10:47 AM

Thanks so much for all of this.

Last night at 9:45 I broke down and called my friend and ask her if I could meet with her and her mentor just for an information meeting to find out about them and what they could do about selling the house.

She called back at 8 o'clock this morning and ask if I could meet TODAY at 3:30!

I am spending the rest of the morning jotting down some questions that I want to ask. Thanks for the suggestions you have already given me - I am open to any other suggestions.

I have already been speaking with my friend about the poor timing of getting the house ready to sell. I had hoped to have it ready by July 1, and at that time the market was very hot in our city. Now it's slowed down. I have to figure out whether or not to wait until spring, or to sign a three month contract now – take it off the market for a month if it doesn't sell – and then sign a new three month contract which would have it showup as a "new listing".

And I absolutely hear what you're saying about asking too much. What I have basically done is calculated how much money we need in order to pay our monthly bills, how much I still owe on the house, and how much the commission will be for the real estate agent. And that is how much I really need to get for the house. But I also realize that I may not be able to get that much.

We live in an area that is not too far away from people in the music industry, etc. who may be potential buyers.

I'm not wanting to be stingy, I just need to be able to provide for our monthly bills and my husband's care.

Anyway, I'm feeling really excited about getting started this afternoon. First step in a long journey, I guess.

Newlease posted 10/12/2018 10:56 AM

SO and I are in the process of selling our home and buying another. We live in the middle of the country. The home we are selling is one block away from the university, so we missed the fall semester.

However, our realtor said she would be marketing to a law or nursing student who would want to get in before spring semester, or perhaps a professor because campus parking is not good. She had a whole marketing plan which included listing the house right away and if we didn't get anything by Thanksgiving to pause and restart in January because a lot of people use tax return money for down payment/closing costs.

We listed our house on a Tuesday, showed it on Wednesday, and had a full price offer on Thursday. Churn on real estate is really good right now in our area because mortgage rates are rising daily and people are anxious to lock in at the lowest rate.

Subsequently, we saw a home go on the market - got a showing the same day and made a full price offer that night. It is all happening much faster than I imagined. We are in the middle of inspections/appraisals and have tentative closing dates in mid-November. I'm packing like a mad woman!

NL

Newlease posted 10/12/2018 11:01 AM

I forgot to add the most important part. Last year we had a realtor come over to look at our house. She was full of gloom and doom - said it wasn't a good location (we live next to an apartment building), that only landlords would be interested in buying, and they wouldn't give us top dollar. We decided to sit tight.

The realtor we're dealing with now was very positive, came in with a plan at our first meeting, and obviously knows her stuff. I don't know if it was all the different realtor, or just timing, but I would really like to call that first realtor and tell her she was WRONG!!!!

Good luck!

NL

twisted posted 10/12/2018 11:09 AM

Don't mix friendship with business. Use whoever you think can get top dollars for your property.
I have many realtors acquaintances and friends. I've be in charge of buying and selling about 6 properties in the last few years for family.
I've never used a friend, just an agent that has a history with me and worked her ass off to get ME the best deals.

It's not personal, it's business.

WhatsRight posted 10/12/2018 11:14 AM

Newlease...

Great news about your house! Best of luck in getting everything done and everything closed without a hitch!

You give me hope.

twisted...

I totally get what you're saying… But right now, the one that is my friend is the one that is busting her ass to help me. I hope I will know more and get a better feel for what is right after the meeting this afternoon.

Thanks for the heads up.

Too_Trusting posted 10/12/2018 17:29 PM

And I absolutely hear what you're saying about asking too much. What I have basically done is calculated how much money we need in order to pay our monthly bills, how much I still owe on the house, and how much the commission will be for the real estate agent. And that is how much I really need to get for the house. But I also realize that I may not be able to get that much.

WhatsRight,

The comparable sales in your area for similar homes will determine the fair market value of your home. Let BOTH Realtors show you a comparative market analysis of recent sales in your area to determine the value of your home. It doesn't matter if someone offers you $1M for your home; it only matters what it will appraise for (if your buyer is getting a mortgage). Comparable home sales will be used by the appraiser for the mortgage underwriter of your buyer.

I still urge you to talk to the first agent as well, just so you can see what both can bring to the table and what they consider the FMV of your home based on the recently sold comps.

It sounds like you're leaning towards your friend, and that's fine. I just think, based on my previous experience with a realtor friend, you have nothing to lose in interviewing the first realtor or even 2 more. I'm sorry to say that lots of realtors will jump thru hoops to GET a listing; they get paid whether they bring the actual buyer to your home or not. You want the person that has a good handle on the market IN YOUR AREA, and has a strategy and marketing plan to get it sold.

How did the meeting go today?

pureheartkit posted 10/12/2018 18:36 PM

Good luck getting the best for your house. I hope someone buys it who will appreciate it and care for it.

WhatsRight posted 10/12/2018 19:11 PM

Thank you.

The meeting went REALLY well.

I went in with a paper typed up in a "who what when where and how" type format...explaining what I was wanting to find out, and what help I was needing from whatever realtor I chose.

My friends mentor did most of the talking. She handed me a packet with information she got from the tax office about my property, a list of comps that have sold since January of this year, and a list of comps that are on the market at this time.

She said most of what you said, True_Trusting. About the realistic expectations I need to have based on comps in my area.

Already, she and her mentor are scheduling a time to come next week to the house so they can give me suggestions about what things would be worth my money to improve on before selliing, and what things would just be pouring money into the house that I would not get back out of it.

She said that whereas it was true that some homes do much better in the spring, after I showed her some pictures of the log home, she said it really spoke to her as a fall house and she thought we should not wait until spring, but try to sell it in November and December.

After I left, she told my friend that she hoped I wasn't expecting "x" dollars for the home, because she didn't think I would get it. So my friend told her that, no, I really was only thinking of an amount about 1/3 of "X".

And her mentor said, "Oh good, that should be doable!!!!!!!!!!"

At this realty company, the co-owner is consistently in the top 3 to 5 realtors in the city. Also, they have an expert in their company regarding to selling homes on only a portion of the total property, and subdividing the rest of the land to sell separately.

So this really feels like a good fit. I think the thing that I like most is not even that I will be helping my friend – which I am very happy about.

But my friend and I are so close, that she will call me up and ream me out if I am not at the house trying to get it ready. She will stay on my butt and there will be no concern about whether or not I will resent her for it.

And I sort of have square wheels right now, and I need that kind of push.

I'm going to wait until next week when they come to look at the house to make a final decision, but I have to admit that I think this lady and my friend will make a very good fit for me.

[This message edited by WhatsRight at 7:13 PM, October 12th (Friday)]

2oldforthis posted 10/13/2018 09:42 AM

but I have to admit that I think this lady and my friend will make a very good fit for me.


and that's what really matters because it sounds like you all (not meant to sound southern) will have good communication between each other and that also will help to sell it. Good luck

[This message edited by 2oldforthis at 9:44 AM, October 13th (Saturday)]

WhatsRight posted 10/13/2018 11:41 AM

Now I have to figure out what to do about the realtor that I did business with before.

Do I call or text her to let her know that I'm going with a different company? Even though I never signed up with her on this house?

Or do I just say nothing?

I'm hoping y'all will tell me that it's the latter, but I'm guessing that would be very cowardice on my part.

For the record, I am not normally conflict avoidant… But in cases where I'm concerned that I am being disloyal, I freak.

[This message edited by WhatsRight at 11:42 AM, October 13th (Saturday)]

little turtle posted 10/13/2018 11:50 AM

I wouldn't reach out to the first realtor to tell her that you're going to be working with someone else. If she wanted to sell your house, she would have stayed in contact with you.

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