Is your agent trying to sell your home – or are they using the listing as “buyers bait?”

Irvington NY Library
The River Towns NY Housing Market Statistics –Second Quarter 2010
September 7, 2010
The Stonecrest - Larchmont NY
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September 10, 2010

money house Buyer's BaitTruth be told, all listings are by their very nature – buyer’s bait.  There is a rule out there in real estate land  that states “you list, you last.”  Although there are a few very notable exceptions to that  saying -for the most part it is true.  i have picked up buyers from listings even if they turned out not to be interested in the house in question  but have subsequently bought a home through me.

These are tough times and in Westchester  NY – listings are GOLD.  Hard to come by but valuable once found.   Agents are scrambling for listings – even though listings cost time and money and tend to stay on the market a long time.  Why on earth would agents be so interested in something that is so time consuming and expensive?   Because that rare – nearly  extinct species – called “the qualified & motivated buyer” is attracted to listings like bees to honey. To capture buyers, most agents count on listings.

On the surface, there is nothing wrong with this.  The listing agent’s job is to attract buyers to the listing.  More traffic equals more offer which equals a better sales price.

However, when the main goal becomes attracting buyers for other properties this symbiotic relationship can morph quickly towards the parasitic.  Agents who will take anything – no matter how overpriced or unsellable  are not doing their sellers a service.   In the name of getting the phone to ring they could be throwing a seller who needs to sell under a bus.

Here are some possible red flags that sellers should be aware of.

1. If the agent walks in and proudly states that he/she has over 50 listings and they don’t have a staff working under them this can be a problem.

Few agents can handle that many listings without a team behind them.  This is a case where you need to know what the success rate is.  If the number of cancelled/expired listings exceed the number of sales over a year’s period that could be a red flag.  There are exceptions – for example if a large percentage of the listings are short sales.

2.  The agent that has listings literally everywhere.  Buyers agents traditionally cover a lot of territory, but listing agents really need to know the area.

In this case, just make sure they know YOUR area well.  Make sure he/she knows the specifics about your area.   If there are new developments planned for your area try to draw the agent out about that.   What matters is that he/she is familiar with your town and its issues and how location and school zoning impacts pricing.

3. If you ask what they are doing to promote the listing and they hem and haw – be careful.  There should be a definitive marketing plan.  If there isn’t – they may just plant their sign and disappear.

4. If hey are willing to take your listing price even when other agents have warned that you are pricing your home too high.

Overpriced listings may not sell – but they can still attract buyers  who will buy a home – just not yours.   Also, you can almost count on this agent showing up just long enough to jawbone you on lowering the price every few weeks.

Bottom Line:  In most cases – quality trumps quantity. As a seller you shouldn’t care how many listings an agent is holding.  But you should be concerned about what percentage of their listings actually SELL and the agent needs to be familiar with your area in terms of neighborhood, pricing and future plans for development.

© 2010 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – – All rights reserved.

Please feel free to contact me anytime to request additional information or to set up an appointment so we can explore your listing or purchasing needs. I am easy to reach by phone, text or email. Or, if you just want to continue your search online, the links below will help you get started.

Phone/Text: 914-374-5529


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