58 The Cabots Are Listing

R.M. rapped on the door of the Cabots’ unit; it was slightly ajar, as if in welcome.Chapter 58 The Cabots are Listing

“Come on in,” Sebastian called out. “Nice to be able to leave your front door open. Seems like the good old days, doesn’t it? Matthew says to not wait for him this time and to just sign you up but I have a few more specific questions, first.”

“Fire away,” said R.M., as they sat down at the breakfast bar.

“If I do the FSBO route and you bring me a buyer, what do I have to do, or pay you for?”

“Depends on how much of the work you want to do. If you want to manage the title work, for example, the commission you pay will be reduced. If I do all the work, the commission would increase by a few percentage points. If you decide on a full listing contract and I sell it, I can also work for a bit less. You’d know that up front because this would all be spelled out, before you sign.”

“Can you promise me a buyer, in either case? I mean, do you already have a pool of them?”

“‘From your lips to God’s ears.’ The buying pool is a little thinner, lately. There are sellers who do select an agent with a ‘following,’ thinking that’s the track to a fast sale. I’m working with a couple I will recommend see your place.”

“But there’s nobody you know for sure?

“Even if I thought I knew a good match, it wouldn’t necessarily be the choice made by the buyer. I try and show the buyer as many reasonable alternatives as I’m able to in the time frame in which they’re looking. Of course, currently available choices are always in flux. That’s why I keep up with the market.”

“Even if you had this place listed, you wouldn’t push it?” Sebastian asked, sounding a bit peeved. “Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do, sell your listings?”

“I do see what you’re asking, and yes, there are agents who do only that. I just don’t push, is all. I talk about my listings and answer questions. I point out the advantages when there are some, and certainly suggest showing it to anyone for whom there might be a good fit. I make sure that other agents active in the condo market are aware of the listing, and have them tour through it. But I don’t ‘sell’ anything, if selling means that I strong arm people to buy what they don’t want.”

“And where will it be advertised?”

“The listing is picked up on a host of websites, including the prominent real estate ones. It will be on mine. Exposure is typically not the problem. Nowadays, it’s finding a qualified buyer to begin with, and then one who prefers the unit. And don’t forget, they have to like what the building offers, too.”

“Well, who wouldn’t like this building?”

“They might like it well enough but not want to pay the condo fees, or want different amenities. Or, they might like the building but want a unit facing a different direction.”

“I can see that, I guess.”

“I work to find the right buyer and see how it goes.”

“The other agents I interviewed seemed to promise a lot more.”

“Well, I have to hope that you won’t mistake promises and enthusiasm for getting the job done.”

“You sound like Matthew. How do sellers usually choose an agent?”

“Sometimes it’s a relative, or a family friend, or a neighbor. Often it’s because they’ve seen a yard sign with a name on it where there was a relatively quick sale. Occasionally it’s for name recognition, the cachet a seller wants of a ‘prominent’ name associated with his property, a big lister doing a lot of glossy advertising. That can backfire if busy agents delegate their work to their associates or team members.”

“I got the feeling that you were the only one who came prepared to talk about pricing the unit based on the research you’d done, instead of about how wonderful you are.”

“Ah, yes, the ‘brag book.’ No end of marketing ploys, usually broker driven. There’s the company website to tout, as well. Bragging is just not my style. And speaking of price, we’d set a reasonable listing price to begin based on comparison sales, the “comps’ as we call them in the trade. However, as I mentioned yesterday, I do advise sellers to be prepared to revisit the price if there is no offer made. It’s a poor strategy to leave a property unsold at an unrealistic price. The market just passes a seller by.”

“You work at keeping up with the market.”

“Yes. And I follow-up with sellers.”

“What else is necessary to get the place ready to sell?”

To show unit features to best advantage, it's best to tidy before the photos are taken.

To show unit features to best advantage, it’s best to tidy before the photos are taken.

“You’ve done the lion’s share, already. I assume that you want to show it empty, or with minimal furnishings. The degree of staging is up to you. You need to decide items included for sale, and excluded. ‘Seller’s personal property’ is just the catch-all term.”


“These pendant lights above us and the granite breakfast bar we’re sitting at are normally included – think of them as being attached – but not necessarily these bar stools we’re sitting on. You also have the option to offer any furnishings for sale, though this is usually separate from the listing. The final step is de-cluttering and cleaning before the photos are taken. You’d be surprised how many sellers miss this point, I suppose because they don’t see it. When they do, it’s often a case of, ‘I can’t believe I lived this way!'” Better to see it before rather than after the photos are taken.”

“Like that pile of laundry sitting over there, or the mail stack on the counter here.”

“The camera doesn’t lie and there’s only so much photo editing one can legitimately do after the fact. The photos should be taken before the listing goes into MLS. New listings tend to get a bit more attention and potential buyers expect to see photos with a listing, and lots of them. I include pictures of common amenities, as well as the building itself. We can attach relevant listing documents as well, like the property condition report. It’s a lot of work to prepare a listing, to do it right, right from the start.”

“So what’s the timetable?”

“It’s good to plan ahead for a picture shoot on a bright day for the best light, to show unit features to best advantage. When the photos are edited and tagged, the documents are complete, and the listing contract is dated and signed, there are only a few days allowed to get it into MLS. And speaking of shooting, a ready, then fire, then aim approach just won’t do.”