When you list your house for sale, it almost always starts out hunky-dory and hopeful. But as time passes, and your house isn’t fetching offers, you might start feeling like your agent won’t be able to get it sold.
Once you start to lose faith in your agent, you may start thinking about hiring a different agent to sell your house. You might even speak directly with an agent or two to see if they could step in and save the day. At that point, you’ll probably be told that you can’t list your house with another agent until your listing contract with your current agent “expires,” or they let you out of the agreement early. *Note: Let's clear up this misnomer...in NC, that is untrue! Just FYI, you can decide to sever your listing agreement with your agent at any time and vice versa, however, they may ask for reimbursement, either in full or partial, for the money that they have invested on marketing and advertising items such as photos.
Regardless let's look at some issues that may be affecting your sale objectively.
To be fair, sometimes a listing agent is the problem. But more often than not, the homeowner has some hand in why the house isn’t selling, and a new agent isn’t likely to save the day… unless the owner actually listens to the advice of the new agent. And a lot of times, the new agent is just giving the owner the same exact advice they were getting before, but chose to ignore.
So before you decide to hire a different agent to sell your house when the original one you hired isn’t getting it sold, here are 9 things you should ask yourself:
- Did I price my house in line with what my agent suggested initially?
If your listing agent did a thorough market analysis and recommended a listing price, but you decided to list it for a higher price than recommended, that could be a big reason why your house isn’t selling. The first days and weeks a house is on the market are critical, and if you overprice your house, serious buyers might not even come to see it because it’s out of line with the market value and they don’t want to waste their time.
If you’re going to re-list with another agent, will you just end up listing for around the price your original agent suggested? If so, why not give them the chance to sell it rather than just hiring another agent to swoop in and get the job done now that you’ve come to terms with pricing?
- Did I reduce my price when my agent suggested doing so?
All is not lost if you decide to overprice your home, as long as you adjust the price in a reasonable amount of time. So if you listed your house above what your agent originally recommended, chances are they suggested that you reduce your price after it had been on the market for a little while.
If you haven’t done so already, it makes more sense to start listening to your original agent and get the price to where it needs to be, rather than start anew with another agent.
- Am I making it difficult for buyers to see?
Sometimes a house isn’t selling simply because it’s difficult for buyers to schedule an appointment. If you have strict days and times that you allow buyers to come see your house, there’s not much your agent can do to overcome that; it’s on you to make it easy for buyers to come see. If you relist with another agent and continue to make it difficult to show, you’ll have the same issue once again.
If you decide to make it easier to show, you might as well continue working with the original agent and give him or her a fair shot at selling your house now that you’re accommodating buyers’ schedules.
- Is my house as clean and presentable as it can be?
Your agent also isn’t able to control whether your house is clean and presentable. And if buyers are being turned off by the way your house appears, you’ll either have to change that… or your price. (People will overlook even the nastiest conditions if the price is right.)
If you decide to clean your house, you may as well stick with the first agent and give them a chance to sell your house once it’s truly ready for buyers to see.
- Am I listening to buyer feedback and doing something about their concerns or objections?
After agents bring their buyers to see your house, your agent likely received “feedback” about what the buyers did and didn’t like about the house. Your agent also likely shared that information with you.
If buyers had criticisms that you could do something about, did you listen to their concerns, or ignore them? If you ignored them, perhaps try addressing buyers’ concerns before blaming it on your agent and hiring a new one.
- Is my house just a difficult one to sell?
Houses that are on busy roads, near power lines, or backing to train tracks, are just a few examples of locations that could make a house more difficult for any agent to sell. Even if a house is priced well, and being marketed properly, some houses just take time and patience to sell because only certain buyers will be willing to buy it.
If your agent has even hinted at this being the reason your house isn’t selling, give them the time and patience they need to get the job done. Because that’s exactly what you’ll need to give any other agent you bring in to save the day, unless you drastically reduce your price… which you could also do with the first agent you hired.
- Is it just a slow market?
Sometimes even the nicest house in the nicest location isn’t selling simply because very few houses are selling.
This is another thing that can almost always be solved by reducing the price until buyers react, but sometimes it’s just a matter of waiting until the right buyer is in the market. Again, you might as well be patient with the agent you’re working with, rather than think a new one can do anything to change the economy and local market conditions.
- Have I had an honest and objective conversation with my agent?
Sometimes sellers just keep their thoughts to themselves, perhaps hoping their agent is a mind reader. But if you haven’t brought up how you’re feeling and had an open conversation with your agent, you might be doing them (and yourself) a disservice.
Your agent would rather have a tough chat with you, than just be blindsided with the news that you decided to relist your house with another agent.
- Will the next agent really be able to do any better if I don’t change any of my previous decisions?
This is the ultimate catch-all question of them all…
It’s really not fair to hire another agent, only to finally decide to do everything the previous agent was recommending. If any agent you’re even thinking about hiring to replace your original agent is suggesting the same things as your previous agent has suggested or requested you to do, then you should continue to work with the one you hired from the get-go.
Lesson of the day...Your agent is the expert that you hired for advice, so listen to what they have to say!