mee081224

Am I being too impatient on the sale of my home?

Mass Imo
May 9, 2015
last modified: May 13, 2015

I listed my house 2 weeks ago and have had great interest on zillow. We had open houses where people showed up and adored the house. But we have had no buyer agents call us (except one who didnt even show). We priced the house around what the best houses in the neighborhood got sold in the last 60 days + a small premium for having solar panels that save $1,200 a year in electricity. I listed the house on MLS using a flat fee broker which I will admit has been a horrible experience using as it took 4 days for it to show on the MLS and another 6 days for my open houses to show. This weekend was our first open house on realtor.com. It seems we had more luck when from our open house on zillow last week. Any ideas? We have one room that is pink, but it cant be the reason it is not selling. I do hate having the best house in the neighborhood as I know it contributes. The house is move in ready. Multiple houses as big as mine have sold for $205k and mine is in much better shape. So am I being inpatient and no need to freak out yet?


Comments (86)

  • tcufrog

    You've made the cardinal mistake. You have emotionally separate yourself from your home before you put it on the market. You haven't done that yet so you are taking people's comments personally instead of considering them with an open mind. The only thing your home is worth is what someone is willing to pay for it. It doesn't matter how much you think the home is worth. To figure out what others are willing to pay for your home you have to look at comps. No one is willing to own the most expensive home in a neighborhood because that's a bad investment.

  • Mass Imo

    i actually have. just priced it wrong. i wish ppl would just tell me what they would pay for it, to help me instead of stabbing me more.

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  • Mass Imo

    fyi - your math is wrong you assume electrical costs stay the same for 20 years

  • Suzi AKA DesertDance So CA Zone 9b

    gwlake is correct. Agents won't show your home if they aren't getting their 3% commission. They feed their families on that commission. You take it away, they ignore your property. Selling FSBO is a big limiting factor to selling your home. An agent can explain the value of solar to his /her clients, but the trust factor is different with an owner.

    There are two kinds of solar.

    One you pay for the system (not just the panels) outright and you now own them. They don't have to go with the house. You can take them and the system to your new home, and maybe you should. This is the best way to deal with solar. We did ours this way. Our bill monthly is now $1.75, BUT there is this fee the electric company sends once a year for about $1000. We will recoup money after $10 years because our system will be paid off and compared to pre-solar monthly electric bills of $600-900, we are way ahead!!

    The other kind of solar is the kind you rent. They come and install it all for FREE! WHEE! Now you have monthly rental to them and the system is stuck to anyone who buys your house. There is no choice. This is not a good thing in the eyes of a buyer. They are stuck with the rental fee AND they still pay an electricity bill.

    Good luck with your sale. I am NOT a realtor.

  • jn3344

    Looks like the exact same model is for sale for $199,900 by a "motivated seller." It seems like you need to compete with that or wait for the sale to clear. Side by side, your home may be more attractive to a buyer. But then you need to get side-by-side with it. Price yours at $199K even and see what happens? You will probably sell closer to $190K.

  • Mass Imo

    I am offerin 2.5% to a buyer. I am thinkin of repricin to 205k, does that sound better?

  • C Marlin

    Be honest with yourself regarding your house, if it is worth less the $200k, price it below that number.


  • Mass Imo

    its not when others in worst shape sell for more. Thanks ill keep you posted

  • Suzi AKA DesertDance So CA Zone 9b

    What made those houses in worse shape sell for more? Interesting. Something is missing here.


  • melle_sacto is hot and dry in CA Zone 9/

    I just thought of something else: if this is generally the type of home that first-time buyers would consider, they are probably using an agent. So the PP who mentioned that you are limiting the buyer pool makes a very good point...offer the agent the $ rather than the buyer.

  • tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

    I wish I could tell you what price would be good but that would be impossible, as I am not in your area. I can tell you what some of my concerns would be so that if somebody like me were looking at your house, you could figure out how to talk to them. I would love to have solar, however, if I were a young family purchasing your house, I would have to take into the fact that I am financing that cost and that financing includes the cost of interest, eating into the savings of the $1200 per year (although the interest would possibly be tax deductible). If the home were to be my forever home, it might be worth it, but that home style is not well suited for older knees. I also think separating out the price for solar at 17K is a mistake; it is too easy for someone to look at that and say it is not worth that to them. Further even though the paint may be in good condition, the pink room would not be considered by many as move in ready, unless they have a child who really likes pink. The hardscape in the backyard is lovely, but it strikes me as quite hot right now. An umbrella may be a good thing to make it appear more of a retreat. Good luck in your sale.


  • tcufrog

    How much do realtors charge for commission where you live? Here they charge 3% and the seller pays for the buyers and sellers agent. If I was a buyer here and saw that the seller was willing to pay 2.5% to my agent I would be unhappy since that would mean I'd have to pay the 0.5%.

  • bry911

    The buyer doesn't typically see the 2.5%. Nor do they usually have to make it up. It simply means the agent will get paid 2.5%. In our area the standard is 6%, yet often the seller's agent takes 3.5% and buyer's agent gets 2.5% and this often happens without the clients ever knowing.

  • Mass Imo

    buyers dont pay any amount just the seller pays to the agent

  • Ziemia

    Are these details correct?:
    Your house: House: 1,741 Sq Ft Lot: 7,946 Sq Ft ($219,900)

    House across street: House: 2,055 Sq Ft Lot: 4,356 Sq Ft (sold in January 15 $165,000 ??)

    Similar listing (nearby): House: 2,055 Lot: .28 acres = 12,196.8 Sq Ft (listed for $199,900
    granted it's kitchen - well, I can't look at it for long in fear of getting a migraine. Larger yard


    Of the three, clearly you've upgraded your kitchen and yard compared to the others by quite a bit. (Guessing the lack of yard photos for nearby house doesn't include any yard photos means ho-hum yard.) It does look like you have "the best house on the block".

    Why not contact one of the authors in the study you linked - who is very close to you:
    "The study involved more solar property sales than previous research,
    making this sample particularly “robust,” said Sandra Adomatis, an
    appraiser in Punta Gorda, Fla., who is considered an expert in “green”
    valuation and is one of the study’s authors."

    Do lenders in your area reflect solar in their appraisals? (from further in that article: "Fannie Mae has
    acknowledged the growing proliferation of solar. In December, the
    government-sponsored institution issued a guideline specifying that if a
    house has an owned solar system, the appraiser should analyze the
    system and the market to see if it adds value."


  • Mass Imo

    Yeah you hit the nail on the head. Houses that are crap are sold to investors at dirt cheap rates. Those that maintain sell at high end. Its no Rainer. I just went too high.

  • C Marlin

    Yes, the buyer doesn't see the commission amount, nor is it discussed with the buyer. 5% is customary in my area.


  • Mass Imo

    5% for both selling and buying agents, 5% for buyer agent sounds like a total ripoff.

  • ncrealestateguy

    Bry911, I would be very surprised if anyone's listing agreement does not spell out in what percentages that the buyers agent will receive vs. the selling agent. Here, it is very clearly spelled out in the Listing Agreement.

  • bry911

    I wasn't saying that it is not in the contract, (I kind of worded that badly) I am just saying that I think a stunning majority are still clueless to it. I doubt very seriously that most people read that far into the contract. I may not be giving people enough credit, but seriously, I think most people get three things out of a listing agreement - The contract is for Y months, we will list it at X, if it sells for X, I will have to pay Z amount of commission. Pretty much I think that at that point many people are nodding there head and thinking about commission on every possible price they can sell for after that.

  • AtomicJay007

    Since you've asked for a price, I agree with the sub $200k list price. I think a lot of people who are looking for homes in your neighborhood probably search for listings in the $150-200k range. With yours above that point, you are not showing up on a lot of online searches (which these days is the way many people locate homes they want their agent to show them.) You need to adjust the price so you're showing up on these searches. I love the idea of solar and living in the SW it could really be a cost saver so I might pay a small premium - say $5k for a home with that system. Not much more. Your situation is made more difficult because in a starter home no buyer will pay a 10%-20% premium for the solar, no matter the savings. They won't be in the house long enough to recoup the purchase price and they probably have more pressing needs - furniture, paint, etc. they'd rather spend their $$ on. I would dismantle the system to take to your new home and price your current home in the $180-185k range.

  • C Marlin

    I meant total commission in my area is 5%, not 10%, sometimes 4.5%, with 2.5% still going to buyers agent. In my area if commission is below the norm, the sellers agent takes the cut, not the buyers. Both the seller and their agent knows it is not good to cut a buyers agent commission and reduce showings.


  • ncrealestateguy

    But Bry, in earlier posts, you have cited that listing agents have unethically kept a higher % split for themselves than to divide it equally between them and the buyers agent. I am saying that if the listing agent puts it in the listing agreement that 4% goes to them and only 2% goes to the buyer's agent, then it is the sellers fault for letting them do that. After all, a listing agreement is only about 6 pages long and not that technical of a write - up.

  • C Marlin

    Of course we all know some people don't read their contracts, but as NCREG stated, the split is clearly delineated in the listing contract.

    As I stated earlier, in my area if the split is not equal the BA usually gets the higher split, what area are you in bry911, are you a broker who is intimately familiar with many listing contracts, in many areas?

  • bry911

    NC, either I misspoke or you misunderstood, We didn't sign with her, she just skipped that piece of information in the marketing plan as we were interviewing her. I didn't want to pretend it was common everywhere. And we didn't sign a contract so the information may have been revealed in the contract. But, having sold half a dozen homes I didn't realize until recently that agents didn't split commissions equally, being the kind of person who reads contracts, I assume my agents all split equally rather than not being in there.

    From purely anecdotal evidence I think many people don't realize it is something that is regularly done, or so I have been told. To be completely honest I got it from Zillow, so it could be made up crap.

  • weedyacres

    I just met with some realtors who all told me their commission is 7% (this is on a starter home, so it may be lower with higher priced homes) and they give 2.8% to the buyer's agent. They said in the area the standard split is 60/40 seller/buyer. One told me that if it's sold in house they split the commission 50/50 instead of 60/40.


  • jn3344

    Ours was 6% with the split 2.5/3.5 in favor of the agent who brought the buyer. Smart, I think. Want to sell the house fast? The buyer's agent has an additional interest in showing your home and shepherding it to completion. Our house had multiple offers and sold in 4 days for more than listing.

  • bry911

    I have been told, and NC can jump in here for some expert advice, that increasing the buying agent's commission above market levels doesn't really help. A realtor acquaintance says that realtors will show any house they think meets the needs of a client. While offering commissions that are too low is dangerous, because they can talk a house down, they have a lot less power to talk a house up.

  • jn3344

    I don't know, our agent seemed pretty damned competent and he's been in business for a while. He's not a part timer or one of those who lists 3 properties a year. I doubt he would willingly reduce his income if he didn't think it made a difference in the end. But...what do I know...

  • Linda Doherty

    I don't ever even look at the commission until I need to write an offer and fill in that blank on the contract.

  • ncrealestateguy

    Exactly, Linda.

    Most of the time these days, the buyer has already chosen a list of homes that my auto system has sent them; which is matching homes with their criteria.

    Again, agents do not sell homes... we expose them and we market them. But when it comes down for a buyer to choose or not to choose a home over another, do you really think they care what the agent has to say? I have yet to have a buyer ask me to choose a home for them.

    I have always splitted the commission 50/50.

  • Linda Doherty

    Me too re the 50/50. On occasion I have offered 4% to BA on a home I need to sell, and had no difference in the amount of showings, so I stopped doing that. Instead, I just increase my advertising.

  • Megan

    We have an agreement with our realtor - she gets 3% on the purchase of our new home, whether that be from the sellers or from us. I wouldn't look at your home unless you were willing to pay her the 3%.

  • Mass Imo

    Your agreement with the realtor doesnt make any sense. the buyer 99% of the time never has to pay commission. Only the seller. So as i stated before if a buyer agent comes to us we will pay 2.5% as they are doing the workload on the buyer side. 2.5% is becoming standard and not the 3% as the work load for a buyer agent has decreased with the age of the digital age.

  • Linda Doherty

    2.5 is not standard BA commission here. 3 % is.

  • Suzi AKA DesertDance So CA Zone 9b

    Our standard commission is 3% also. It's possible that Realtor services may disappear with the digital age, but not for a long time. I had a sales job with a manufacture of silver recovery equipment. Film is loaded with silver, and this equipment had a ROI and extracted the silver during film processing. I could see the writing on the wall. Digital cameras made the need for film much less. Therefore I found a sales job in a more permanent industry. I do not see that same writing on the wall for Realtors.

    There is a lot of selling power in the RE industry. Very few FSBO sellers will take out ads targeting buyers with color photos in local magazines. Very few FSBO sellers will pay for professional photography or a billboard. It's all about marketing and knowledge of the paperwork. There is a comfort level for a buyer with a RE professional, and for a seller, the knowledge that their home will be marketed by a vast network of Realtors.

  • bry911

    Your agreement with the realtor doesnt make any sense. the buyer 99% of the time never has to pay commission. Only the seller. -

    This is an oversimplification - The seller pays with money he gets from the buyer. And, usually, he doesn't even pay, separate checks get dispersed to the realtor, the banks and the owner at closing. This is basically saying you don't pay sales tax if the prices on the McDonalds menu include taxes.

    There is significant data that FSBO's bring less money. There are two popular explanations that I have found for this, the first is that buyers perceive more risks in FSBO's and insist on better deals. The second, that they simply discount the offer by some amount that they perceive is the commission.

  • Mass Imo

    true that bry. so it is true then including an RE makes the buyer pay more for a property. is what I am hearing ? lol ;)

  • Suzi AKA DesertDance So CA Zone 9b

    Unfortunately, Mass Imo, unless you price your FSBO minus a commission, buyers will not want to pay an unlicensed seller the same commission they would pay a professional.


  • weedyacres

    There is significant data that FSBO's bring less money.

    This "data" is problematic. It's not meaningful unless you can take the same house and know what it sold for with and without a realtor. And that data doesn't exist. Taking average selling price for FSBOs and comparing it to average selling price for represented is meaningless. A lower average for FSBOs could be because the average FSBO home is smaller.

    As a buyer I would not pay more for a represented property than a FSBO. The fact that the seller has to pay commission doesn't make me willing to fund that via a higher price. I'm not scared of dealing directly with a seller.


    Very few FSBO sellers will take out ads targeting buyers with color
    photos in local magazines. Very few FSBO sellers will pay for
    professional photography or a billboard.

    Because these ads and billboards aren't what sell the houses, they sell the agents. It's the MLS that's the best marketing tool. As a FSBO I definitely sprung for professional photos. I've actually been disappointed at how few realtors do, at least in the areas that I've needed to sell homes.

  • Linda Doherty

    weedy- they are comparing sales using price per sf for each area...not sales price. So comps reflect accurately.

  • SaltiDawg

    "The fact that the seller has to pay commission doesn't make me willing to fund that via a higher price."

    Of course it does. Given that the majority of sales involve Realtors, any sense of property values includes an imputed 5/6% hike to pay the commissions.

    Hope springs eternal that one will find a FSBO wherein the seller deducts that 5/6% from his selling price.

    Good luck with that. lol

  • bry911

    Salti is right, the market not only prices it in, commission recovery can drive market values.

    As far as the study goes, there are many well designed studies that support it, and if you feel like testing it yourself just do a poll and ask if people consider an FSBO more risky than a traditional commissioned sale. We know that people price in risk.

    Salti I will go one further than you and say any seller who deducts 5/6% is silly, since the buyers are still going to consider it a higher risk. He is essentially lowering his profit, while increasing his risk.

  • SaltiDawg

    bry911,

    I agree completely with you. Psychologically, I suspect the ideal situation would be where both the buyer and the seller thought they were saving, say, 3% off Fair Market Value.

    However greed likely will enter the mix from both sides.


  • nosoccermom

    I've been looking for all cash, non contingency buys in an area where there is a lot of action and lots of comps. Should be easy, peasy. Sadly, the FSBO properties are WAY overpriced to the point where you wonder where these people get their asking prices from.


  • sushipup1

    Probably Zillow.


  • Suzi AKA DesertDance So CA Zone 9b

    nosoccermom, many FSBO sellers are invested in the memories of their home and their perceived values. It's hard to step away from memories and be objective. If they used a RE professional, they would get the truth about the value of their home.


  • SaltiDawg

    " If they used a RE professional, they would get the truth about the value of their home."

    I agree with the first half of your post, however I do not buy the above. I typically have been told my home is worth more than it is worth when I was interviewing agents - they wanted the listing and played to my greed.

    I think this thread has run its course, agree?

  • weedyacres

    weedy- they are comparing sales using price per sf for each area...not sales price. So comps reflect accurately.

    Again, there's too much variation in $/sf based on neighborhood, age and condition of house, etc. so self selection could still drive this number. I don't think you can control enough for all the variables to come up with a good, clean comparison.

    That said, it's net proceeds to the seller that matter, not sales price. Do these studies include that?

    BTW, I would be very interested in the detail behind these studies. All I've ever seen is the realtor propaganda that cites the summary statistic. If anyone can point me to a behind-the-scenes-facts link, I'd love to read it.

  • bry911

    Your position is that no matter the sample size of FSBO the data would not be normal. The problem is that samples get normal very fast. I originally wrote a long section here about the confidence interval, confidence level and sample size needed to get a good result. It is not nearly as complicated as you think. You don't need to run every home just pick a random sample in every market and ask, "on average did FSBO's in this market sell for X% more?" Then you repeat that for a number of random markets. Most of the things that you are worried about are taken care of by randomness. There are some biases in there - For example, there is a serious confirmation bias, since we are using home sales, it discounts the homes that don't sell as either FSBO or commissioned. But as far as studies go, this one is not even hard to design. Since you are studying a market and commissions are fairly standard in a market, proceeds to the seller is a function of sales price and would never need to be separated.

    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac track data on realtor vs FSBO and house prices. They make that data available to researchers, in fact, if you fill out the forms and have some analysis software (which you can probably get for free) they will make it available to you. Go conduct your own study.

    All of this is unnecessary, you can do the same thing with a simple poll. Just go to surveymonkey and create a poll. Ask only two questions - "As a home buyer - rank these types of home sales from least risky to most risky." Then give four or five options. And then ask it again only rank them most risky to least risky. Find some people to take it, preferably random but whatever. We know that all people price in risk, therefore if FSBO's are perceived as having more risk, they will get less money.

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