In this housing market, breaking up is hard to do

by Kate Lewis Torok

I just got out of a six-month relationship. It was an awkward break-up, that ultimately turned into anger. We weren’t communicating. My needs weren’t being met. I was wasting time trying to find some kind of light at the end of the tunnel. But, in the end, we just weren’t right for each other.

I met someone new. Full of pep, hunger, ideas, creativity, and hopefully, a portfolio full of clients just like her.

Oh, I’m sorry. I should have started this differently. I broke up with my old realtor, and just signed on with a new one.

As I’ve mentioned previously, my adorable, charming, updated, 3-bedroom home in a very attractive and sought-after neighborhood in Kenmore, NY still has not sold. Our old realtor was not as aggressive as we would have liked, and she didn’t offer us much guidance or counsel. Really, she didn’t need to sell our house in order to put food on her table.

The break-up got nasty. It happened right before Christmas when our contract expired. So, technically, we didn’t break anything. We just let the contract come to an end and told her we were not going to be working with her moving forward. She was less than thrilled and told me I could come pick up our keys at her office or send our new agent to do so. She was holding our keys hostage! I got on the phone to call her manager, and after a little communication, our keys were in the mail to us.

So, we found someone new. Someone younger, more outgoing. She is full of positive energy. She has a Blackberry! I think I’ve talked to her more in the past couple of weeks than I spoke to our other agent the whole six months we were with her.

We didn’t like the photos she took, so she went out and bought a new camera and had the new pictures online within two hours of our conversation. Now that is customer service! We wanted to list it at a certain point, and she was brutally honest with us about the market conditions and where it needed to be priced if we wanted this to happen quickly. She assured us she would not get a penny less than that. We already feel better.

My advice to anyone looking to put their house on the market, or looking for a realtor:

1. It’s all about the vibe and connection. This is a business transaction. If you get a good feeling from the agent, chances are, things will go smoothly. Go with your gut.

2. Do your own homework. Agents will tell you a lot of things; some of it is BS. Make sure you’ve done your own comparables in your neighborhood. See what other houses similar to yours are selling for.

3. Ask about contract terms and commission. There is wiggle room in most cases.

4. Ask them how many other listings they have and when their last sale was. If they are working with you and 12 other people trying to sell their homes, that’s stiff competition for the agent’s attention, never mind the rest of the market.

5. Have a fully stocked bar. There will be many nights of stress, hard conversations, tears, and worry.

Selling a house is NOT fun in this economy. But if you have to do it, try to keep the faith and hopefully it will happen.

Kate Torok is a pissed-off, married mother of one—pissed off not because she’s married or a mother, but because she can’t sell her house. She works as a communication specialist at a small liberal arts college in upstate New York.

3 comments on “In this housing market, breaking up is hard to do

  1. Wow, you must not know Mat Quaglino to well. Try reaching him, its nearly impossible and he doesnt return your phone calls. And thats after you sign with him. Just because he has alot of listings doe not mean he is a wonderful agent. I’m not alone when I say this, check with other customers.

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