i turn REALTY into REALiTY

Is it my agent’s fault? (Part I)

A question was asked on Trulia.com recently from a seller wondering about the lack of showings on his home. Was it the fault of the agent that only 6 people in 6 weeks had viewed his home? Isn’t the job of the real estate agent to get eyeballs on the property?

My answer was a qualified “YES”. I qualified my answer because when a seller signs an agreement with a real estate agent to list and eventually sell their home, they are entering into a partnership with that listing agent. What do I mean by partnership?
As a Listing Agent, I have the responsibility to represent my clients’ best interests by marketing, advertising, and eventually selling their home. However, I don’t have the authority to make certain decisions, and that’s where the partnership comes into play. For instance, I have the responsibility to take photos of the home and put them on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), and many other sites on the Internet where they will gain visibility by the general public. But, what if the photo looks like this?
This is where the partnership comes in. As a Listing Agent, I have no authority over the seller with regard to the property condition. The seller is responsible for making the home presentable. If this photo was on the Internet, would you want to go and see the home in person or would you immediately eliminate the property from your list? Sometimes, sellers view their homes differently than agents (and buyers). I always explain to my seller clients that how a person lives in their home is not how they market it to sell.
The photo to the left is what buyers want to see. This photo was taken from a client’s home just prior to putting it on the market for sale. This is a dream come true for many agents – a client who understands what is needed and takes appropriate action.
Now of course, not all sellers are at the extreme ends of the spectrum as noted here. Most are somewhere in-between. This is where my role as Listing Agent is to educate and advise the client on what should be done to make the home as marketable as possible. However, as noted above, the final responsibility (and authority) rests with the client.
Now, what if the client does what is asked, but the agent takes a photo that looks like this? Here is what appears to be a clean home, ready for showing, and yet the photo is poor, not only in exposure, but in drawing the buyer’s interest. This is clearly the fault of the Listing Agent (btw, I didn’t take this photo). If this photo were on the Internet, would it spark your interest? Maybe, maybe not. It could certainly be better though. As a seller, I would ask my agent to re-take the photo.
I had to do this recently when I listed a home. At the time I took the listing, the weather was overcast and had been all winter and spring. Here is what I had to initially use:

I didn’t really like the photo, but our MLS requires a photo of the front of a property when listing a home. At the very next opportunity I had, I replaced it with this:

A much more enticing photo, don’t you think?

Bottom Line: If you think your agent isn’t doing his/her job in marketing your home, first take a look at yourself. Are you following the advice that has been given (assuming you have a competent agent who is providing you with advice)? Marketing and selling a home is a partnership, and both partners need to carry their weight.

(Update) – Read part II of this article here

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