I recently helped a client to buy a single family house in Mountain View, for a price almost 20% lower than the market price. Honestly I felt lucky (for them too); but here are a few things I saw the listing agent did wrong that I remind myself should never do. If you’re a seller, watch out what your agent is handling your home selling!
1) No staging, or even CLEANING house.
- messy house, dirty kitchen – don’t sell a house like this!
We were almost shocked when we first walked into the house at the open house. It smelled. Stuff were piled everywhere. My buyers also quickly noticed how dirty the kitchen sink was. Do you believe that presentation would turn off many buyers? The reason: either the seller or the agent doesn’t want to put any money in front to the house.
2) No clear deadline for offers.
- deadline for house offer
She said “Wednesday”, then she said “whenever you want”. It’s obviously a soft deadline; or she doesn’t have confidence. The latter was proven to be true. From Monday to Wednesday, I called her everyday, trying to figure out whether she actually had a solid offer. She wasn’t a good lier. She kept saying, “I might have some in my email, which I haven’t checked”. That’s a “NO” to me. If there’s no competition, my buyer has a chance.
3) No house inspections done by Open House.
- House inspections before selling
The seller didn’t do ANY inspections for buyers to see. No roof, property, or termite inspections; and they want to sell “as is”. That’s fine; I said. But I HAVE to put contingencies. It took some negotiation for them to agree that we can put these contingencies in the offer; but at the time we presented, they didn’t have other offer to choose, so they agreed. However, I am sure that some interested buyers were turned off by the fact that they had no information about the house condition under surface.
4) Being a jerk after receiving higher back-up offers.
- Keep being professional; don’t burn your bridges
It’s not surprising that they actually got a few back-up offers after the Open House on the second week. That’s why I pushed so hard to get a contract in the first week; I knew it might happen. But it’s incredibly dishonoring to be a jerk and try to screw us up since then. After all, agent should remain the decent professional manner I believe. The listing agent then claim she didn’t get my files, when I actually send FOUR times. She declined all our requests to access the house before closing to have contractors get measurements for remolding. She pushed us to agree on 30 day rent back, and refuse to disclose any possible moving out date, even on the final walk through, one day before close of escrow. And guess what? On the day of close of escrow, she asked the title company (without even talking to me) to return their deposit for rent back, because they were planning to move out “today”. The very next day, the seller moved out of the house.
Here I did not even mention numerous unclear communications, deliberately or not, which caused stress and inconvenience. I have to tell myself; not all agents are like this. Even my broker said: this is the worst and life will get better from here. I am grateful that my buyers eventually got the house they like, given the very unpleasant process. I just would like to remind myself to learn from other’s mistakes and to avoid things that a listing agent should not do.