Last Thursday, as usual, I was in my office checking the MLS hot sheet for the day. I do this every morning as it helps me stay in tuned with what's going on in my market and also so I can prepare my expired listings mailer for the day. Anyway, as I was scrolling through the new listings for the day, I suddenly stopped. "Hey, that's my listing! Why has another REALTOR® just loaded an active listing that I already have on the market?" Now first, you can't do that. The system will kick the property back. Unless of course you manually change the legal description AND put in Drive instead of Lane. And second, what's up with my Seller? I just spoke to him the day before.
Well, I guess I need to call him and find out what's going on. "Good morning Mr. Desperation Has Cloudedmybrain, how come I saw your property listed with another REALTOR® this morning? You do realize we have an agreement don'tcha?" "Oh, hey Broker Bryant,we spoke last week and I mentioned to you I was looking for a management company to find a tenant for my property." I said "Well of course I remember that, I'm the one that had suggested it and I was also the one that recommended a company that could handle it for you. But you can't be listed "for sale" with two REALTORS® at the same time. Listen, I'll make it easy for you, I will deactivate our agreement right now. Continue on with the new company and hopefully they will be able to find a tenant for you. Good luck and call me if I can help in the future. By the way, I have some bills I have been paying on your behalf, I will fax them over today so we can settle up. Again, good luck. I truly hope this works out for you!"
So, did I fire him or did he fire me? Don't know, don't care. I truly just hope that he is able to get the house rented or sold so he can stop the financial bleeding.
I had actually had this property on the market for about four months. When I took the listing, it was an expired listing, the property had already been on the market for six months. The Seller, a very nice elderly man, had bought this home brand new in late 2005 with the intent of flipping for a profit. Even though he bought at a bad time, he did OK, he only paid $135,000 and the house is worth $215,000. Now when I took over the listing it had been priced at $235,000 with no action at all. The house was disgusting. It was full of dead love bugs and the lawn had not been cut in months. When I first met with him I told him I could sell his house at very close to $215,000 and I could sell it very quickly. He was adamant that he wanted at least $220,000. Anyway, since we were pretty close on pricing, I agreed to Range Price it from $209,000 to $229,000 trying to get as close to $220,000 as possible. I also told him I would have my cleaner and my lawn man come over and I would have the utilities cut on. My goal was to get it cleaned up and get it sold to get him out from under a $1,200 a month payment.
Well, to make a long story longer, I implemented my plan and REALTORS® were knocking the doors down to show the property. Within a week we had our first offer. Negotiations came to a halt with the Buyer at $215,000 and the Seller stuck on $220,000. So we moved forward with finding another offer. Two weeks later we negotiated again with the same outcome, Buyer stuck on $215,000 and the Seller not willing to budge. Anyway, the Holiday period came and went and property values continued to decline. Even though we were still getting quite a few showings they weren't interested at that price any more. In my market, four months can mean a 5% to 10% decrease in property values.
So that brings us up to last Thursday. After trying for two months to get the Seller to reduce the price, I guess his desperation kicked in, and he made another bad decision. He now has an out of area company that is trying to rent for too much money. Plus they raised the price of the house $10,000 and lowered the co-broke. Unless something drastic happens, he is screwed. The house will now sit on the market with no lawn service, no utilities, no one watching the property and not much hope showing.
I'm over it. I tried my best. I brought two really good offers to the table that were declined over $5,000 dollars, which by the way he has more than spent in the three months since the last offer. He could have sold three months ago and made a nice $40,000 profit on his flip. But he got greedy and took the stance that "I'm not giving my house away."
Hopefully, I'm wrong. Maybe they will get it rented or sold and my ex-Seller can get out from under this house before the values decline even further. But, I'm afraid I'm right. I've been doing this too long and I know my market like the back of my hand. Maybe I failed by not being persuasive enough. Maybe, he'll call me back in a few months and he will be ready to listen. Of course, by then it will be worth even less. I guess I can't help everybody. So what do you think? Was I fired?