6 minute read

June 21, 2012

I’m raging right now.  I’m crabby, irritable, and short-tempered, and I just spoke with this ridiculous agent who set me off.

There’s nobody here at the office to complain to, so I’m going to blog about it, and hope I don’t regret this…

I usually don’t blog when I’m angry.  It’s generally not a good idea.

Sometimes, when I blog late at night, and write something controversial, I go to bed knowing that tomorrow morning will produce some nasty comments from readers.

So when I blog angry, I usually have to give it some time, read it over again, and decide if I want to proceed.

It’s Wednesday afternoon – 12:18pm.

I’m tired, miserable, and over-worked.

I’m stressed.

I need some time off but I can’t afford it.

There is a Bosley pool-party tomorrow, but I’m not going, because I have far, far too much to do.

I’m slamming away on my keyboard right now and I’m sure they can hear it on the third floor.

I broke my desk-lamp.  Smashed it with my fist.  Whatever.  I don’t need it.

I’m already through two coffees, which probably doesn’t help matters, and I haven’t been to the gym in a week.

I’m like a bomb ready to go off.

Or, should I say, I was like a bomb ready to go off.

I reached my boiling point, and then something happened that set me right off, and I picked a fight with somebody, simply because I needed to take out my frustrations.

I was on MLS a few moments ago and saw a “new” listing for a house (can’t divulge info – because I’m really going to tear into this one) that I had shown last week, in an area I have shown in forty times in the last two months.

The “new” listing was for $1,799,000.

The problem with this situation is that the house was listed at $1,599,000 last week.

The bigger problem is that I felt that $1,599,000 was over-priced.

The biggest problem is that the listing agent set an “offer date” at $1,599,000, didn’t get any offers, and then re-listed at $1,799,000.

I want to punch myself in the head.

Before anybody reads half of this post, a quarter of every other post, and then accuses me of being hypocritical, given that I wrote about my own multiple-offer situation last post, please acknowledge the difference here.

Yes, I had a listing, set an offer date, and got multiple offers.

But this situation I described above is entirely different, so please don’t compare the two.

This goddam house was listed at $1,599,000, and I laughed.

I laughed because there are four other houses listed on that street, all of which are sitting on the market week after week, one of which has been reduced to well, well below its intrinsic value.  There is a comparable house that is a downright steal at $1,649,000, and I feel bad for the sellers, who could have got $1,750,000 in about two days had they listed in February.

I laughed because I saw “Offers Reviewed On XX-Day” on the listing when it came out two weeks ago, at $1,599,000, when it’s probably worth $1,500,000 and then some.

I laughed because the agents are not from the area, in an area where likely 80% of the houses are listed by one of three local brokerages, and usually by one of a half-dozen agents.

But I wasn’t laughing this morning when I saw that the house was re-listed at $1,799,000.

I was pissed.

I brought my clients through last week when it was listed at $1,599,000, and told them, “The agents are not from the area, they have no clue what they’re doing, and this won’t get offers on ‘offer night.’  Let’s wait it out, and then decide how to proceed.”

Now, my clients aren’t exactly in love with this house.  It’s a great house, but it’s dated.  The decor is off, and it shows some wear.  There are other houses up the street listed at $1,649,000, $1,699,000, and a few others around the corner if you want to go off the street itself.

But overall, it’s an option.  Just not at $1,599,000.  It was over-priced, and we figured that after not getting any interest, the sellers would eventually reduce the price.

So upon having a terrible day, being short-tempered, and looking to explode, I saw this re-list, and picked up the phone.

I called the listing agent, and I was a cynical jerk.

“Hi, it’s David Fleming from Bosley Real Estate,” I started.  “I see that 123 Smith Street has been re-listed at $1,799,000.  Is that a typo?”  I asked.

“No,” the listing agent replied, “That’s right – $1,799,000.”

“I’m confused,” I feigned.  “It was listed last week at $1,599,000, right?”

“Well, have you been following the listing,” the agent asked me.

“I follow every listing in this area,” I said.  “I’ve shown every house in this price point for the last six months, and I’ve shown the other three houses on this street, multiple times, as they’ve all sat on the market.”

“Well,” the listing agent explained, “You have to understand that this house was set up for multiple offers.  The price of $1,599,000 was a price that was supposed to bring in multiple offers.  You see?”

I wanted to reply, “Well I was supposed to be born a 6-foot-6 perfect physical-specimen with a rocket-arm and a quarterback’s brain so I could play in the NFL and make $20 Million per year, but that didn’t happen did it?”  Alas, I chose not to go that route.

“What do you mean it was ‘supposed’ to bring in multiple offers?”  I asked.

“Well the price was low, you see.  That price was low and there should have been multiple offers.  So they’ve re-listed at $1,799,000 now.”

“But, if that house truly was listed artificially low, so low, in fact, that it should have set off a bidding war, then shouldn’t that scenario have played out?” I asked, hoping to get something intelligent in return.

The listing agent paused, and then the lightbulb went off: “Exactly!  So that’s why we re-listed at $1,799,000.  The market didn’t respond the way it should have.”

Finally, I dropped the act.

“That house is worth $1,500,000,” I bluntly stated.  “Maybe $1,550,000 on a good day.”

The listing agent paused, a bit confused.

“How many offers did you get on your offer night?” I asked.

“Well, none,” he said.

“So then something is off with your logic, don’t you agree?”  I was here to pick a fight, and pick a fight, I did.  “You listed at $1,599,000 thinking you were drastically under-priced, even though there are far, far better houses sitting up the street at almost the same price, and you didn’t get a single offer.  So what makes you re-list at $1,799,000 when you can’t even sell it at $1,599,000 or less?”

I think I added, the words “respectfully disagree” in there somewhere, but I was just tired of being the nice guy all the time.  I’m always the bigger person, I always keep my emotions in check, but this situation just pissed me off to the nth degree, and made me blow my top.

I don’t know if it was the arrogance of the sellers, the BS-games off the listing agent, or the fact that the agents truly have no clue how to work in this area.  Maybe I was just having a bad day and I was going to snap at anybody.  One of my colleagues could have sat down next to me and said, “Mmmmm, I love Empire apples!”  And I probably would have foamed at the mouth while screaming, “EVERYBODY KNOWS GRANNY SMITH ARE THE BOMB!!!”

At this point, the listing agent was a little confused as to why I called him, and I said, “Well I was going to show the house to my clients again, thinking maybe we’d make an offer in the low-$1.5’s, but there’s no point now, is there?”

That’s when things got really confusing and he said, “Well I think they’d look at an offer of $1,650,000.”

As if this couldn’t get any more illogical, I asked him, “Then why are they listed at $1,799,000?  Why aren’t they listed at $1,650,000?”

He had no answers.  He just said, “They wouldn’t take $1,550,000.”

I asked him, rhetorically, “Do you know how many houses in the $1.5 – $2 Million price point in this area have received multiple offers so far this spring?  ZERO.  Maybe one, but I don’t know of it.”

“Well, this is where we are listed,” he said, with nothing left to add to the conversation.

Man, this bothers me.

It’s such a monumental waste of everybody’s time.

And it’s embarrassing to our profession.  When something like this happens, we all look bad.

Why would an agent take business like this?  If this were my client, I would never let it happen.  If they wanted to go this direction, I’d say “Best of luck,” and let them play games with somebody else.  But that’s precisely the problem!  Incompetence AND desperation are a bad combination!  These agents clearly have no clue how to sell real estate at all, let alone in this area, and they’re holding out hope that something magical happens in the market and they get paid.

I’d rather take out a client and show him $210,000 bachelor condos than waste time on a $1,500,000 house that was listed at $1,599,000 and then re-listed at $1,799,000.


I may rant and rave on my blog, but this is my private (actually, public) place to do so.

In person, I never talk smack to other agents.  What’s the point?  You catch more flies with honey.

But today was like the perfect storm, and I finally lost it.

I went looking for a fight, and I got one!

I only wish the agent on the other end of the line cared….

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

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  1. Ralph Cramdown

    at 7:43 am

    This has happened so much this spring that I just naturally assumed it was the new standard operating procedure. Comes on the market at one price, and 7-8 days later the price increases.

    C’mon David, when’s the last time you put in a stink bid? You can’t let skills like that get rusty — you may need them sooner than you think.

  2. Katherine

    at 9:57 am

    Great rant!

    “The market didn’t respond the way it should have” is the best line. The agent will just have to work on training the market to be better behaved…

  3. Joe Q.

    at 11:04 am

    “Why would an agent take business like this?”

    Because there is one TREB-affiliated Realtor for every 60 households in the GTA, and they’re all looking for work?

    1. Ralph Cramdown

      at 3:01 pm

      So well put.

      Because the standard listing contract, as written, doesn’t give the seller an out for agent incompetence, save to wait out the listing period plus holdover period? Agent “buys” listing, on purpose or inadvertently. Agent waits a decent amount of time, then recommends that seller lower the price. What’s the upside to losing the listing because of realistic pricing? Oh yeah, pride.

  4. Vlad

    at 11:39 am

    “You have to understand that this house was set up for multiple offers…You see?” LOL

    David, this happens far too often now. People hoping to win the lottery and then trying a different tactic when no suckers bite the bait. The jig is up. Agents and sellers are actually embarassing themselves out there.

    It’s been said a million times before: “A house is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.” (No matter what pricing games RE agents and their clients want to play.)

  5. Moonbeam!

    at 12:28 pm

    The other agent obviously is not a reader of your blog… because you have written about this (re-listing at a higher price) many times.
    Everyone thinks they are sitting on a gold-mine, whether real estate, furnishings or other treasures, until they need to find a buyer….

  6. Floom

    at 1:10 pm

    Hey David,

    Your rage appears to be justified…seems like a number of mistakes were made here. But I can sympathize with the sellers & the inexperienced, possibly under-the-influence agent. If I were to list my condo, thinking it should sell in the mid-$500’s (based on comps) and an agent convinced me to list for $469k to spark a bidding war and then for whatever reason, there were no offers on offer day (traffic, a parade, a run on the banks)…I probably wouldn’t feel that my only option is to adjust my price point to below $469k. At that point, what I’d want to do is call a mulligan, re-list for a reasonable price to start a negotiation (say $550), and let it sit on the market -hoping that in a few weeks, the memory of that offer day will be forgotten and a whole crop of new buyers won’t associate it with ‘the offer date that never was.’ OR maybe, at the very least, I’m hopeful that someone comes in and makes a low-ball offer of $485k that’s still well above that silly original listing for $469k. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking -and you know better…no offers at $469k (or whatever) is a sign that can’t get any clearer. Also, are you related to David Geffen, the music executive or David Suzuki, the noted environmentalist? Just asking – you never know.

    1. David Fleming

      at 11:01 pm

      @ Floom

      David Geffen?

      This is tremendously ironic.

      I was just listening to Nirvana’s “All Apologies” from Unplugged in New York, where at the end of the song, Kurt Cobain says, “This guy representing the Lead Belly estate wants to sell me Lead Belly’s guitar for $500,000. I even asked David Geffen personally if he’d buy it for me.”

      Literally – as I was reading your comment – I was listening to this song, right as he mentioned David Geffen! Scary! What are the odds?

      Anyways…..soo……what do I have to do with Geffen/Suzuki?

      1. Vlad

        at 11:24 am

        David, sadly I got Floom’s joke right away because I have the same lame sense of humour. Let me explain: He was playing on the fact that the Davids he mentioned have the same FIRST name as you. Had he asked if you are related to Ian Fleming, for example, you would have understood right away why he asked. Get it?

        1. David Fleming

          at 11:50 am

          @ Vlad

          That’s some very cerebral humour…

  7. Rachel Vanderveen

    at 2:58 pm

    You guys are lucky! You get “offer dates?” We don’t get offer dates. Well, I mean, we can invent our own offer date and put it in the agent’s private comments, but then other agents are all like “Wha whaaaaa? Who do you think you are? Look at my offer now, dammit!” Only times I see offer dates are on rock bottom foreclosures where the lister knows they’re going to be inundated and they want 12 offers to take to court.

  8. JC

    at 4:07 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one having a bad day.
    Another agent wrote to a friend of mine who is listing his house suggesting that I was unsuitable because my brokerage isn’t downtown but his is. He then went on to say that my friend needs a professional job done (but said that he wasn’t familiar with my work).

    So to clarify:
    There are Realtors from brokerages everywhere that don’t know what the heck they are doing.
    There are Realtors that work for Brokerages that have offices out of town or outside the downtown core, but work in the core, that are both professional AND know what they’re doing.

    But a good Realtor won’t “bash” another Realtor to potential clients – friends or not.

    What you’re doing here is different as you aren’t mentioning any names, and yes, the Realtor in this case is covering his ass. If they weren’t willing to accept 1,550,000, they shouldn’t have priced it there. This is a problem I have with all of this “pricing for multiple offers” b.s.

  9. George

    at 4:12 pm

    McIntosh is way better than Granny Smith.

    I bought a chinup bar just for those types of stressful moments. I’ve become really strong, and I find I no longer have to buy any replacement lamps.

  10. Honey

    at 4:33 pm

    Ha! Exact same situation happened to my friend, only we’re talking around the 500k mark. House listed at $499, offer of $500 not accepted. Relisted at $529. One week later, down to $519, and now it’s back to $499. She bought a street over, a week later. People were being crazy, and greedy.

    1. Honey

      at 4:34 pm

      Forgot to mention, a month later it’s still not sold…

  11. Alex

    at 7:18 pm

    Maybe I should list my small 2 bedroom condo @ $1 mil to start a bidding war:-)

  12. Anna

    at 5:42 pm

    525 Broadway?

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