09 Dec Ep. 35 How Realtors Kill Deals
7:10 Some Realtors will avoid showing a property if they have to call and schedule it 2 hours in advance
8:36 Treat every listing the same no matter how much it costs
10:30 Put down the toilet seat when taking photos of the bathroom
12:00 Bad photos cost seller thousands
13:00 Theories on how many photos to post
15:15 Some agents share too much information about their sellers
18:09 Some agents refuse to show homes if the commission is below their normal percentage
22:24 Don’t improperly set expectations
25:30 Don’t promise things you can’t deliver
26:43 No showings until open house
30:33 How to handle a buyer with a deadline
32:15 Respond to offers no matter how low
35:00 Educate the agent who is holding the open house
37:00 Why don’t agents call back when a buyer is interested
41:12 How are sellers killing the deal
41:28 DIY fixtures that are outdated
42:45 Oiled bronze vs. brushed nickle fixtures
43:28 Peel and stick backsplashes
44:10 A bad looking outlet gives buyers a bad feeling
46:16 The seller is there during the showing
48:19 Pinterest DIY projects are not for everyone
51:16 Carpet in bathrooms
52:00 For sale by owner sellers do not know what is normal
54:51 Original windows
ADAM-Welcome to the St. Louis Realtor Podcast live from the Hermann London Real Estate Group in Maplewood. Tonight’s topic is all about how real estate sellers can kill the deal for themselves or how their agents can kill the deal without them knowing. We have my co-host, Shannon St. Pierre, a Realtor here. We’ve brought in one of our favorite guests, Tony Berra, an insurance expert. We really want to talk about how sellers kill deals. Our hope is that Realtors will avoid doing the things we are talking about.
SHANNON-It’s not just about sellers but agents are sabotaging their deals.
a-Not necessarily on purpose. I’ve got a ton of notes. Let’s start with what agents are doing wrong. Showing Time is the free and automatic method for scheduling a showing for a home here in St. Louis on the MLS. Why are all Realtors not using this?
s-This is a huge pet peeve of mine. I don’t understand why you don’t use something that is the most convenient and free. Why make people call!? It takes so long.
TONY-Is there some old school thought there?
a-The old ways of business are becoming very frustrating. Last week I had to schedule 6 showing and 5 of them were with Showing Time and I was able to click and schedule with Showing Time. I had to call the other company and I had to tell the lady 3 times my name, why I was calling, then she forgot.
t-You got time for all that?
a-When I got off the phone I thought I was done and then I realized 2 hours later she never confirmed my appointment so I called back and I got a different lady. She asks who I am and why I am calling. She asks if I’m Noah from Indiana. NO! This is Adam, the guy who always calls from this number and I’m calling to schedule a showing, the only reason I would be calling. The lady I called earlier didn’t enter my request so this lady tells me I have to give 2 hours notice. In frustration I wanted to hang up but I didn’t. I asked her to call the seller since her company messed up. I’m put on hold while I’m in the car with the client, finally she comes back and I’m allowed to show the property. What is so baffling is that the listing agent is paying this company to do a bad job when she could be using the free service on the MLS.
s-The other problem I hear about is that if they have to call to schedule, the agent won’t do it in hopes the client will forget about the listing or if they are pressed for time they will say they will come back to the home later but then they forget to show it and they never show it.
a-This is not just a podcast about us complaining about stuff.
s-This is serious stuff. We are educating sellers because I don’t think sellers realize this is happening behind the scenes.
a-I bet the agent is getting clients by bragging about the company that requires agents to call to schedule a listing. I bet they provide reports.
s-Showing Time does it as well for free.
a-Other companies make you call their office and the agent that is working on that Saturday morning always says their computer is running slow.
s-Every time! They are a little easier than calling that scheduling company so I don’t mind them as much. They are much nicer but they do have to call you back and you have to wait. I have a complicated name so they can never find me.
t-How many houses have been sold in the time you have to wait.
a-Like Shannon has said, we have heard that some agent will avoid showing those properties.
s-Because of the time constraints, there is a 50/50 shot whether they come back to the property.
a-If you have 10 showings but only have time for 8 you will do the easy ones first. What’s next, Shannon?
a-What’s wrong with taking a photo from your car with the side-view mirror in the frame?
s-That is usually foreclosures. You always preach to us to treat every listing the same even if it is a $50,000 listing.
a-It is representing you.
s-It floors me when people take photos with their cell phone. You can not take them vertically.
t-That’s like a Powerpoint presentation in landscape mode vs a Word Document.
a-Then you see a picture of the corner of a room. This room has walls.
s-I think it’s worth getting professional photos. I’d also advise getting a really good camera. Even if you spend $1,000, you could make that up in ten listings.
a-You might be good at photography but I’m not. I’d hire a professional.
s-I have the software where I can lighten up photos. The other pet peeve is to please put down the toilet seat. I just don’t get it. People comment on it.
a-There was a house I was interested in that I had been in before. The agent took incredibly bad photos and I appreciated it because I was the buyer and I was able to make a crazy low-ball offer and they actually countered me when they should have rejected.
t-Did they take it at 9:30 at night with the flash off the window?
a-It was a bad job.
s-You can get away with it with a nice phone but I can see the quality difference.
a-In this case I think it cost the seller close to $50,000. I personally believe that less can be more. I want my photographer to take 100 photos but I may only post 15 of them.
s-I disagree. I want to see the backyard. I know it has one.
a-Now the MLS requires you to have 1 photo and years ago it didn’t and one time I was watching my buyer go through listings and when he found a home he would go through the photos. He saw one house with a pink bathroom and skip it. Then he got to one with zero photos and say it looked interesting and we went to it.
s-How much time did you waste?
a-I’m sure we wasted a bunch of time but we went to the house. If the people didn’t have the pink bathroom we probably would have gone there. Too many photos gave him an excuse not to like the house.
s-I have a lot of millennial buyers. If they don’t see the 2nd bathroom they assume it’s in the basement and it must be pretty bad. If you don’t show something they assume it must be horrible.
a-You are a buyer’s agent and you call the listing agent and ask them anything. Simply ask what’s up with the house and sit back and listen. Sometimes the seller’s agent will tell you all the gossip about their client and it is amazing. When they give me that much information I am like a shark tasting blood in the water and I can see we can get a really good deal. It’s extremely bad for their client.
s-I do that. I don’t talk. If I’m the listing agent all I say is that it’s a great home and they owners take great care of it. One of the number one rules in sales is to shut up and listen. I will call and ask a question and sit on the phone. It makes them so uncomfortable. Even when they stop talking I’ll say Okay and. They feel like they have to fill the silence.
a-They are not necessarily killing the deal but they are not representing their seller the best they can. They are bringing in low ball offers.
t-They are wounding them.
s-Commissions are a hot topic. There are agents that refuse to show homes because they are only offering 2%. The industry average is 2.7% or up. That’s what they pay to the buyer’s agent. I’m seeing this 2.4% or below and it’s a huge turnoff. I’m not against showing those houses but I’m not going to work as hard for it.
a-This is a bad agent and a bad seller getting together and having a party.
s-I don’t think the seller is aware.
a-I don’t think the seller’s know about the repercussions when they are trying to talk the listing agent into taking less. It’s okay for the agent to give a discount but then they force the discount on the buyer’s agent.
s-Or they do it for a friend or a family member.
a-We should say there is no standard commission. The problem is that the buyer’s agent is not friends with the seller. The buyer’s agent has done nothing to deserve less than the average commission.
s-I go out of my way to work with agents that are great to work with and fair and will talk up the listing. I really think it’s on the agents.
a-It is on the agent. I have a friend who says she splits it in half no matter what and won’t take less than the buyer’s agent but then gives a discount to the seller. Why does she punish the buyer’s agent? I think agents can often do a bad job on how they present an offer or pricing to the seller, and by doing that wrong, they are setting improper expectations or setting the seller up to fail. If you go to a seller and say the home is worth $200,000 but the market is hot so let’s list it at $250,000. The client then thinks that’s what they should expect and are using $250,000 on what they are going to use to buy their next house. When an offer comes in closer to market price the seller will then get mad.
s-All of a sudden they feel dejected. Overpricing is one of the number one things that kills deals.
a-Overpricing is huge problem.
s-An agent will go in and sell the overpricing.
a-One thing that is frustrating as an agent is when you agree to a price, do all the good stuff, and then the house doesn’t sell because it is overprice, the seller will fire you and hire a new agent who simply lowers the price and gets the home sold in a week.
t-I had a neighbor up the street with a house listed for way too much for 45 days, fired that agent, the next agent lowered it $5,000 grand, fired him, went through 3 more agents. It was a Christmas house that had Santas everywhere year round. They ended up pulling it off the market.
a-Pricing is a problem.
s-Just because it is a hot market doesn’t mean you can overprice a house.
a-I try not to give a price guarantee. We talk about under promise and over deliver.
s-I don’t think you can ever predict. It’s people’s homes and emotions.
a-Most of my real estate fails have come from times when I knew a property was worth X and we listed it for a much higher price because that’s what the client wanted.
s-No showings until the open house.
a-Let’s argue about this. What don’t you like about that?
s-I’ve had clients say they have obligations on Sunday and can’t do it.
a-My caveman thought about this by saying coming soon no showings until Sunday, and if I’m smart I’ll say all offers to be reviewed by Monday at 5pm.
s-I think that’s an older school thought and it was started after the bubble to create that excitement. That is no longer necessarily needed. I think the smarter twist on that would be showings start Saturday. All offers in by 8am Monday morning with a time deadline of noon on Monday.
a-The important part is to show it whenever you want.
s-Show it all weekend long. All offers to have an acceptance deadline of midnight Sunday.
a-What we are trying to avoid is to have someone put in an offer and only give 3 hours to respond. We want multiple offers.You are saying to make time to get these people over and you will have multiple offers.
s-Why not allow all weekend long.
t-Is it a seasonal thought process?
a-You have to be in-tune to the market to know if you are going to get multiple offers or if you’ll be begging. Shannon, how are you going to handle it when someone submits a full price offer and gives a deadline.
s-I would tell them that the seller is unavailable.
a-You would say sorry, it’s against what we agreed to. I think that’s fair. An agent that tries to get you to change the rules…
s-…that person is a bully and will probably be a bully throughout the process.
t-Bullies are killers.
s-That is one I said I wasn’t going to bring up.
a-People don’t necessarily like dealing with bullies. One of our agents went to an open house and the agent that was holding the open house said the sellers are motivated. Our agent submits a slightly low offer and the listing agent calls him back and says the sellers are not going to respond to his offer. What do you think about that? I don’t like it.
s-There is no reason for a seller not to respond even if the offer seems insulting. They can at least counter back.
a-The buyer wants this house. He went to the open house and the listing agent’s person that was there said the sellers were motivated so our agent it testing to see just how motivated they are. He could have offered a dollar. The seller needs to come back and let him know how motivated they are. The sellers are letting their ego get the best of them.
a-You have a live buyer and you just turn away from it? That agent should be pushing them to respond.
s-Even if you want to respond with the list price, just respond.
a-Always counter and keep the deal together if you can. This agent is letting the seller kill the deal too early.
s-Before I was an agent I was at an open house and if you have someone other than the listing to hold the open house, please educate the agent about the home. I was asking questions about the house and he had no idea. Me an my husband walked away not knowing anything about the house. We wanted to know about the specifics regarding the systems.
a-I am guilty of that. I like to let other agents hold my open houses.
s-Just tell them what they know.
a-The problem with the motivated guy is they gave information that was not accurate.
s-You should get out of the business if you do this one. My number one thing is I will give feedback and ask a question on behalf of my buyers and the agent will not respond. Why wouldn’t they be on the phone within 5 minutes?
a-What do you think they were thinking? I’m going to twist that one. The agents are being too aggressive or lackadaisical. I’ve given feedback where I said the home smelled like cat pee then the agent calls back yelling about the home being in a gold star school. You are talking about agents that are not doing anything. They are probably thinking that if you are interested then you would make an offer.
s-I once had an agent ask me for feedback and I told her the buyer’s thought the house was priced too high. The seller’s agent sent me legitimate comps and then we bought the house after some negotiating. Now I think when I say my client is interested, you had better call me.
a-How are sellers killing the deal for themselves?
s-The list goes on and on. The DIY projects. The outdated plumbing fixtures that I don’t think cost that much. Update those or the first floor.
a-I showed a $600,000 home the other day with gold doorknobs and fixtures. This seller could spend $500 to update these fixtures. By fixtures I mean lights, faucets, shower knobs. What are we thinking now? Brushed nickle?
s-In that price point range buyers get fixated on that stuff.
a-I tell the buyers that they can go to Home Depot and get these fixtures for $8.
s-I see a lot of DIY that is not done well like those peel and stick back-splashes where you have the switches not lined up. You are better off having nothing or outdated.
a-Buyers are interesting and they are all different. One time I had a buyer looking at the kitchen and he saw that one of the outlets was improperly installed and assumed everything else must be wrong. I couldn’t stand there and convince him because I didn’t know for a fact the other stuff was up to code.
a-What about smells.
s-Smoking, pets, terrible air fresheners.
a-I want to stand up for them. What are the smokers and pet owners supposed to do? I can’t stand the people who buy 10 Glade Plug-Ins.
t-…without cleaning the stale cat pee on the carpet.
a-Don’t go to extra efforts to make the smells worse.
s-There are things you can do. Every home has a scent and you need to air it out prior to putting it on the market. Take down the curtains and throw them in the dryer with dryer sheets, vacuum, wash the pet beds, clean out the traps, throw baking soda and vinegar down the drain.
a-Have the carpets cleaned.
s-I showed a house and they buyers liked it but they couldn’t get past the smoke smell.
a-Another thing they seller does is that they are there.
t-That is awkward.
a-The seller being there is awkward but please don’t give us a tour and show us around and tell us how you taught your son how to play basketball on that hoop.
s-I’ve come across elderly sellers and they go sit in their chair. We need to get rid of the tour guide.
a-The seller that sits in the corner is bad but it’s partially on the buyer’s agent to communicate with their client that this is okay and normal and give instructions on how to respond.
s-You don’t know if you are supposed to tip.
t-You are thinking about that person the whole time.
a-The buyer does not want to picture you living in your home. The agent should tell them to leave.
s-Pinterest lovers. Sellers that love to make their home Pinteresty but it doesn’t quite fit. There was a house on the market that is the perfect example of everything a seller should not do.
a-Is this different from the whole DIY thing?
s-This house was in a hot area and the price point fits every first time home-buyer. I don’t want to give too much detail. When you walk in you see hand-painted vertical stripes. You walk around the corner and see horizontal stripes. In the kitchen there are chevron stripes. They need to do a paint job.
a-Paint your house. Make it neutral.
s-They also never de-cluttered. I think all this agent did was put a sign in the yard. They did not take anything out of the closets or clean it. Even kitchen cabinets.
a-Is it okay to have boxes in the garage?
s-I’m okay with that or in the basement. Buyers look in closets and cabinets to see if their stuff will fit in your house.
a-Let’s get two more things each. You go first.
s-Carpets in bathrooms.
t-I hate it.
a-What’s better than carpet in the bathroom?
t-If you like mold because you constantly step on it wet. It’s nasty.
a-Get rid of the carpet in the bathroom. Anything is better. I don’t care if it’s plywood.
t-You could polyurethane the plywood and make it look fancy. Make it look like a loft.
a-For sale by owners. When you are a buyer’s agent and working with a for sale by owner, they are killing the deals because they have no one telling them what’s normal or they don’t read the contract. They do weird stuff and get mad at weird things. They will say they won’t do the municipal inspection or let the appraiser in even though they agreed to it. I guess I’m going to have to send over a loan denial at this time. If you want to be a for sale by owner, please don’t. Get an agent. Go with the process. You really need someone telling you what’s normal.
s-They are making it too personal. Selling a home is business.
a-The house I am buying right now is scheduled to close in December 22nd and the seller emailed and said they are moving on the 22nd and the cleaners are coming on the 26th. I had to tell them that the locks will be changed and they will not be accessing my property. I’m forced to be nice and tell them what’s normal in a sweet way. She said she is sending cleaning overs so we are going to let her. This is a good situation but I’ve dealt with for sale by owners who don’t let normal due process happen.
s-That’s always been the case with FSBO’s.
a-A for sale by owner does not want to pay a commission and in most cases the deal dies because they are so unreasonable.
s-Windows will kill deals with the millennials. It’s been interesting to walk in with these younger first time home buyers and they don’t like to see original windows.
a-This is interesting to me.
s-I have to remind them that there are lots of window companies and I can help them with this. I think more than anything they are intimidated by old windows that are not energy efficient. If they are old windows it may be time to update them.
a-I’ve had clients that didn’t care about the new windows. I had to remind them that the sellers just spent $8,000 on new windows.
s-Millennials are aware that it will cost them more and they factor that into their bills. I have a friend who’s home is so inefficient and they pay more than me in bills but my home is 4 times larger than theirs.
t-A simple fix is to blow more insulation into the attic.
a-I think the green thing passed over my generation and millennials care more.
s-The whole new initiative is to make homes more energy efficient and tout it.
a-I feel like people haven’t cared the past 8 years. Maybe they are starting to care more.
t-It may be specific to zip code.
s-I would say younger families in certain areas.
a-This is officially our longest podcast ever and maybe one of my favorites. We are going to wrap it up. Thank you for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, YouTube, and HermannLondon.com. If you have any questions please email PODCAST@HermannLondon.com and if you have real estate needs, call the office or Shannon St. Pierre directly. Call Tony with you insurance needs.
t-Contact me at AntonyBerra@LibertyMutual.com, 3149224912, or 3145804284.
s-Only call Tony if you want to save money.