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Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       03-25-2011, 6:15 AM Reply   
We are putting our house up for sale, and on the verge of firing our current realtors before it even goes up on the MLS. Anyone else been browbeaten by their realtors over staging? I swear these folks have forgotten who is paying their commission.
Old     (hatepain)      Join Date: Aug 2006       03-25-2011, 7:48 AM Reply   
Mind expanding on what you mean when you say brow beaten regarding staging?
Old     (awf_axis)      Join Date: Aug 2002       03-25-2011, 8:03 AM Reply   
We have a couple of family members in the RE game. Regarding the staging thing, this is something that most agents consider important.

The issue these days is that it makes no sense to list a house if its not sellable. Would you try selling your boat without at least detailing & cleaning out the beer bottles and chip crumbs from the interior?

Realtors & agents are hungry these days, and they need the income to survive. A house just sitting on the market does nothing for the bottom line.

Now, if your agent is just obnoxious or insulting, I would agree to move on. No one needs that.

However, you might just consider what is being recommended about the staging. In most cases, it requires getting a public storage unit, and moving many personal things into it during the selling phase. I would not consider this as extreme. Replacing all the furniture with rental furniture is a bit much. Hopefully, you can find something in-between.

Old     (nauty)      Join Date: Feb 2004       03-25-2011, 8:08 AM Reply   
My in-laws just went through this same scenario with their house they were trying to sell. The realtor was very full of herself and all but guaranteed the sale of their home if they turned over full control to her. The realtor's first move was to gut their home of many of their belongings (furniture, etc.) They ended up having to rent a storage unit and roped me into moving all of their crap there. In my opinion, my in-laws house was empty to begin with. My mother-in-law is a clean freak and keeps a very UN-cluttered house. If anything, their home could have used some additional furniture as opposed to removing most of it.

After gutting their home the realtor brought in her own furniture settings to stage throughout the house. The stuff she brought was cheesy and didn't flow with the other furnishings already in the home. In addition to furniture staging, she had them re-paint several rooms in the home to a beige color (the rooms were white before). The difference in appearance was negligible and the only noticeable result was the bill from the painter.

The end result of all of this was 2 showings in 3 months. I feel that everything the realtor did made their home look empty and cold. I understand wanting to make a home look larger by removing furniture, etc, but their home is 4500 sqft to begin with. It already looked spacious because it was. Realtors aren't always as smart as they think they are. I sold my last house myself and also took care of all of the paperwork for the buyer at no charge. In addition, the buyer liked the way my house was decorated so much that she bought it as-is, furniture included.

With the internet at your disposal there is really no reason to even use an agent these days unless you just don’t have the time to show the house. Unless your state prohibits it, all of the paperwork you need can probably be downloaded from your states real estate website. There is really no reason to pay someone thousands of dollars for something that is no more difficult than refinancing your mortgage. It's very much the same process and you don't need a realtor to refinance as the mortgage and title companies take care of most of the work for you. All you really need to do is get your listing on the MLS and there are several flat rate websites that will do that for you. To all of the realtors out there, sorry to step on your toes and I'm sure you'll disagree with me and I understand that. This is just my experience and opinion.

Last edited by nauty; 03-25-2011 at 8:11 AM.
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       03-25-2011, 9:09 AM Reply   
On their first walkthru, when they got to the kitchen the first thing out of their mouth was "you're going to want to install granite counters in here". I laughed and told them that was WAY outside of our budget. That was about 3 mos ago. We've spent the last 3 mos ripping down wallpaper and texturing/painting the kitchen, a general light remodel on the master bath, decluttering, etc.

Our house is pretty clean and neat to begin with, and it is one of the bigger and nicer houses in the neighborhood. We have already moved out several pieces of furniture and done quite a bit of decluttering. We have a 3 year old too. We also sold two houses in the past, which we staged and sold fairly easily, but had nowhere near this kind of experience. It's probably also worth saying that we are in no way desperate to sell our house, but if someone is willing to pay what we want for it, we'll move.

They work with a staging "expert", who is regularly condescending in her communications with us. We had been trying to schedule a final walkthru with for two weeks now. Suddenly they drop in a couple days ago with no warning to do the walkthru, so the house was not exactly ready. They actually moved our furniture and other things around themselves without asking, very presumptuous IMO. They arranged the den furniture so the loveseat blocks the TV. We had boxed up books and just left a few behind, but they rearranged them on the shelves into different little stacks that they liked. They took a serving tray and put it on the counter, and said "leave it exactly where we put it, and keep fresh fruit in it." Basically just one person's opinion kinds of changes. They also want us to pretty much empty out all of our closets, no laundry hampers or trash cans in the bedrooms, no shampoo in the shower, hello, we still live here? They also want us to replace all the siding on one end of the house and paint the entire outside of the house, replace all doorknobs, etc.

They are also trying to hold the listing over our head, saying they won't schedule the photographer until we're done with the (largely absurd) punch list. Sorry, but remind me who is paying who for a service here? All of these things are easy for the realtor to tell you to do and doesn't cost them a thing, but expensive and disruptive to our already busy lives.

We called them this morning and told them that we were going to spend this weekend doing a few more things on the punch list, having our maids come next Mon or Tues, so to schedule the photog for next Wed and we want the house listed immediately thereafter.

Last edited by trace; 03-25-2011 at 9:16 AM.
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       03-25-2011, 9:22 AM Reply   
I tried the FSBO thing with my last house for a while. I have a great RE lawyer that could handle all the paperwork, I just couldn't generate any serious bites. Maybe I wasn't advertising it correctly or something, but I only managed a couple showings in like 3 mos.
Old    SamIngram            03-25-2011, 9:25 AM Reply   
The granite part is pretty funny and extreme... painting the entire house is too...

To me is sounds like you have a communication issue!

It's probably also worth saying that we are in no way desperate to sell our house, but if someone is willing to pay what we want for it, we'll move.
Does the Realtor know this??? Why would they be working so hard if they did? This entire scenario sounds absurd to me!

On the flip side... I'm a broker (going on 12 years now) and among others have a Masters Degree in Real Estate Development... I usually hear about how bad Realtors are and how they do nothing for their commission... here it seems that we have the opposite... a Realtor trying to do their job and bring the top price for a house and the seller complaining.

This entire deal sounds really weird to me. Where do you live, Detroit? Is this all customary? I know in rural IL and in the Phoenix valley area this doesn't happen. The last house I sold was $5.2 million in Clearwater Hills in Paradise Valley about a year ago. We did zero staging...
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       03-25-2011, 10:09 AM Reply   
It's really weird to me, too. I'm all about them doing their job, until it gets to the point of costing me many hours of free time and thousands of dollars.

We live in a suburb of Austin, TX. They were told that we are not desperate early on, and that we would be firm on the price.
Old     (magic)      Join Date: Mar 2002       03-25-2011, 10:11 AM Reply   
We went thru something like over the last couple of years. Had our house up for sale for a long time. Did the stagging deal, did the re-painting deal, did the minor curb appeal over haul.... and I'm a maintenance freak married to a house cleaning OCD wife... So tidy house in tip top shape. We should have fired our agent within 6 months. Turns out we were just chasing the market around here down. He did not have the $#@ to tell us price sells and to get ahead of the dropping prices.

Fast forward a bit, we put the house on the rental market. Get's rented in under a month. The tenants (super nice/cool older couple) have a crap ton of older people $#@ in the house. Really changes the feel/vibe of the house. I also noticed that when we were looking for the new to us house we closed on only a few things really mattered:
- price
- location
- 'hood (we wanted parks and walkways)
- overall condition of the house (move in ready? Or needs work?)

I get the idea of staging, but when I go back into our other house that being rented, I'd still buy it again even with the current old folk decor. I find I tend to look past the furniture and crap pretty quickly. Do remove your family photo's and any other very personal items from view. I found those very odd to see in a house when you thinking about living in it. Keep your flat surface clutter free too, makes the rooms seem really big. Pet smells killed a house for me, not wanting to deal with getting those smells out.

Pictures for the MLS make a huge difference too. When we were trying to sell our house, we had some killer pics taken. A matching house (same builder, same floor plan, about the same sized yard...) down the road was for sale part of the time too. We got 4:1 traffic over them. Same house, all most the same price, but their listings looked someone had used a kid's camera to take the pictures. People sit online surfing the web for houses, presenting it well with pics is key (IMO).
Old    SamIngram            03-25-2011, 10:40 AM Reply   
Off topic tip of the day...

You can get rid of ANY smell in less than one day with an ozone generator. I mean any smell! I sold the neighbors house after the owner died in it and decomposed for two weeks. The smell was horrible and I almost vomited on first entry. To top it off the guy had lots of cats. Anyhow, I rented two ozone generators and let them run for 24 hours and the smell was gone. You have to let the house air out a big after the ozone is generated but after that the smells are gone!
Old     (ottog1979)      Join Date: Apr 2007       03-25-2011, 10:52 AM Reply   
I second Sam. I'm a real estate broker (albeit commercial) and believe you have a communication or perhaps style issue. It's important to listen to the professional advice you are given especially if you believe that the agents are good. That's why you've hired them - they do this every day, 100's of times over their career. However, in the end, you're the customer (and boss). You need to explain yourself and have them interact and work with you to find the best solution to sell the house at a price that works for you. Just because they have recommendations doesn't mean that you automatically have to do them all. A good broker will explain the options, explain the benefits and consequences of the options and then let you choose while further advising you along the way. Be assertive about voicing your needs/thoughts but also listen to their feedback. If the broker can't do this with you, find another one... because, it's your sale transaction (not theirs).

I've had experience with super high volume brokers that due to their success think they're above all and in charge. In the last house that I bought, the listing broker (not mine), a big name in the area, had her assistant call a day or two after the signed contract rather forcefully demanding proof of down payment, copy of loan application, etc. immediately. I politely reminded her of the several week time frame we had to provide such and to go away. I explained that when we were in violation of the contract they had their rights, but until then, I didn't want to hear from her. We didn't get any more calls like that and closed the sale just fine.

Listen to the advice (you're paying for it), but it's your sale.
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       03-25-2011, 11:59 AM Reply   
We definitely have a communication problem; that's why we had our little "reality check" phone call with them this morning.

I started this thread not so much to argue my case, but as a bit of a poll to see how many others experience this. I think all the Sell This House type shows out there now have placed undue importance on staging, both in the minds of realtors AND sellers. Sure, it's important, but price, location, and condition are what really matter IMO. These folks seem surprised that we question / ignore any of their recommendations.
Old     (scotthons)      Join Date: Mar 2010       03-25-2011, 2:43 PM Reply   
We have slowly started to look for houses. One of the homes was professionally staged and even had signs in certain rooms that had the staging company's name. The house was beautiful, but it almost gave the impression that this house was too nice for us. I know that sounds weird, but it felt too mature for us. I guess it was hard to imagine our crappy furniture replacing the stuff they had in there.
Old     (stanfield)      Join Date: Mar 2004       03-25-2011, 4:18 PM Reply   
I had a similar experience. Quit working 2 or so years ago to go back to school. We figured we'd put our house on the market to see what happened and rent while I was in school if it sold. We could afford the house on 1 income so we weren't desperate to sell, but would've if it worked out. Hired a "highly recommended" realtor for our area. I guess it should be noted that we're talking about a cheap 3/2/2 sort of starter home that was built in the 70's. I've since remodelled it while we lived here. New cabs, granite, stainless, tile in the kitchen, both bathrooms completely gutted and done up nicely, a walk in shower in the master, granite in the bathrooms, etc....There aren't any other of the homes in our neighborhood like ours. Our weak point would be our back yard. Puppy tore it up and we haven't gotten to that yet.

Anyways, when we met with this lady she sort of told us what she could sell it for. It seemed very par for the course with other houses in the neighborhood that had sold and had original 30 year old everything. We settled for a few grand more and listed it. We did the whole storage unit thing and moved just about everything out. The house really looked awesome, I wish you could actually live in them that way. I have a nice camera and took some great shots of every part of the house and sent them to her to get it listed on the MLS. A day or two goes by and she calls telling me that it's listed. I go and look at the listing and there's pictures of the interior of the house from when it was listed WHEN WE BOUGHT IT! I'm not even sure how that's possible that she could find those from years ago. I ask her WTF and she said that the pics I sent her were "too dark." They were anything but, it was obviously something on her computer. I'm no stranger to photog and editing. She said she would have "her" photog come out and take the pics. He/she came out one day when we were not there and then apparently "refused to shoot" the house because there were things like shampoo bottles and toothbrushes out. These are probably the only two items left out in the entire house as we picked everything up every morning before work because we were getting showings every day.

We only had it on the MLS (with these whack pics too) for 2 weeks and were getting multiple showings a day. I'm pretty sure an offer was right there, but the bia7ch just pissed me off one too many times and I told her to pull it down and to have a nice life. We didn't need to sell and my experience with her only reassured me that the smart play was to keep it. I'm glad we did, we like our house and in the next year or two when we buy our next, this one will become a rental since we've paid it down so quickly.

She could've easily sold the house, made her thousands, and walked away, but no, everything had to be done exactly HER way, she refused to listen to us. I have to believe that there are good realtors out there, but the only experiences I've had with them (one when we bought and one when we tried to sell) have totally sucked. I personally don't understand the need for them in this day and age with the technology that we have to be honest.

Flame away
Old     (nauty)      Join Date: Feb 2004       03-25-2011, 5:03 PM Reply   
"Staging" seems to be the "in" thing to do these days if you buy into that type of stuff. While driving through my in-laws town the other day I saw an SUV with a graphics wrap that advertised a design staging comapny. I bet that's a pretty good business to be in these days, but just wait until the market changes and businesses like that will be few and far in-between.The furniture company I work for has 5-6 interior decorators on staff that decorate our stores. I can tell you that there are no bigger egos in our company than our "designers". Since when did an interior decorator become a "designer"? I guess about the same time stewardesses became flight attendents.

The fact of the matter is that the real estate market sucks for the seller right now. There are far too many choices out there for a buyer at below market prices. My neighbor has had his house up for sale since October and has only had 6 showings. His house is in immaculate shape inside and out. and he's priced $10K under market value. Leaving a tray of fruit on the kitchen counter positioned just right is not going to sell his house. If someone's house is in disrepair then that's one thing, but if it's in great shape I think "staging" is a waste of time unless it's free.

Last edited by nauty; 03-25-2011 at 5:08 PM.
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-13-2011, 12:32 PM Reply   
Just a quick update... We blew off most of their staging silliness, and got a near full price offer on our house on the third day it was listed. We now have a done deal - inspection complete and all repair requests agreed upon, and we are still ending up well within 2% of full asking.
Old     (jeff_mn)      Join Date: Jul 2009       04-13-2011, 2:36 PM Reply   
Congrats Trace.

Sold mine FSBO to the first person that showed it, less than 24 hours after I listed it for sale. Closing in 9 days.

The market is still good for the right product
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-13-2011, 4:00 PM Reply   
Nice, and a big congrats to you. FSBO would've meant a s/load more net for us. Really, we should have tried that since we weren't in a rush to sell. How did you advertise it?

I should've learned my lesson by now - I end up holding my nose every time I deal with realtors. And an ozone generator can't get rid of that smell. LOL
Old     (bakermatt)      Join Date: Mar 2012       04-10-2012, 2:17 AM Reply   
It was interesting to read about your experiences with realtors. It's so difficult to find a trustworthy one... We also plan to sell out house, but we're not sure where to start yet.. and I don't want to have the bad luck to find a bad realtor. Maybe I should buy him over a port and cheese hamper *haha* well if somebody has recommendations of which I should take care of when I choose one this would be great!
Old     (bftskir)      Join Date: Jan 2004       04-12-2012, 12:14 AM Reply   
If you're not serious about selling your house then don't list it. realtors are paid on commission: If it does not sell they do not get paid. So do you want to sell it or not? Don't waste their time and they won't waste yours.
Old     (smitty1258)      Join Date: Jun 2009       04-12-2012, 6:45 AM Reply   
I would like to chime in a bit here about realtors and FSBO.

I have an investment property that we bought first of the year, and spent considerable amount of money on renovating and updating, I called every realtor that would come look at the house, I would say 25+ offices, out of those 25 offices, 4 showed up to look at the house, we are offering 3% to the realtor if they bring a buyer in, we are listed on the MLS and various other sites, out of the 4 offices that came, about 7 realtors in total, only 1 has brought anyone through to show the house, and none have made any follow up calls about the house, or about listing the house themselves.

We are priced well below the market, have more land than other comparable homes in the price range, and are along the river.

Most realtors here just seem to want there sign in front of your house, and could care less about selling it.
Old     (psudy)      Join Date: Dec 2003       04-12-2012, 10:00 AM Reply   
How much are you selling the house for? if you are only giving 3%, it may not be worth their time listing and marketing it, especially if a buyers agent gets involved and they have to split that 3%.
Old     (brettw)      Join Date: Jul 2007       04-12-2012, 2:19 PM Reply   
I've never had a hard time with realtors. I've bought and sold several properties. The only bad realtor I had cost me some time on a purchase, but that was one of the 1st purchases I made. People may have luck with fsbo, but many may also have trouble with the transaction, and especially when selling may end up selling for much lower than they could get with the exposure from using a realtor. With my experience, I personally would not buy or sell without a realtor - unless I had my own realtor's license and could do things myself. It's just not worth the risk imo.
Old     (smitty1258)      Join Date: Jun 2009       04-17-2012, 5:37 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by psudy View Post
How much are you selling the house for? if you are only giving 3%, it may not be worth their time listing and marketing it, especially if a buyers agent gets involved and they have to split that 3%.
$170k. 3% is standard when selling FSBO. The agent has no money involved in the the listing or marketing of the home. We paid to have it listed on various places, such as MLS,, and various places. The only thing the agent needs to do is be the buyers agent, and find there buyer a home the fits the needs/wants of said buyer, so there is no splitting of any commission. Its pretty straight forward, and from my point of view pennies from heaven if my job is to find a house for my client.
Old     (psudy)      Join Date: Dec 2003       04-17-2012, 9:32 AM Reply   
Oh. I missed the FSBO part. Thought you were just trying to dictate commission.


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