Will the 4th Time Be the Charm?

Where: 29xx Quentin, St. Louis Park
What: 4BR/3BA; 3,900 FSF; 1931 two-story home
How much: $264,900
Originally listed: $374,900 (11/2/2007)
Number of Realtors (so far): six
Number of Brokers (so far): four

Scanning today’s newly listed — and re-listed — homes, I couldn’t help but notice 29xx Quentin.

I recalled it being an especially active listing and, sure enough, when I did a little digging, I pulled up a very long listing history. (If this house were a felon, it would have a rap sheet a mile long).

Since coming on the market 16(!) months ago, the owner has dropped the price four times, changed the size of the house once (from 4,505 FSF to 3,902), and switched Realtors four times (they’ve actually had six Realtors working for them because two of the listings were handled by two-person teams).

Even George Steinbrenner — famous for hiring and firing managers — didn’t make this many changes this fast.

The Ex-Files

So what’s going on?

You don’t really know for sure unless you personally know the principals and the home involved — and I don’t.

However, it wouldn’t be the first time that the combination of a declining housing market and an unrealistic seller proved combustible.

One pattern I’ve increasingly seen is that the homeowner insists on an unrealistic price, then finds a Realtor who’ll take the listing at that price (one always will). The owner is then positively shocked — shocked — when the house fails to sell.

Goodbye, Realtor #1, Hello Realtor #2.

It recalls the Seinfeld episode where Elaine thinks she sees her doctor write that she’s “difficult” on her chart, and then tries to get Kramer to track down the chart and delete the note so she won’t be ostracized by other doctors.

Real estate’s equivalent of a medical chart is the listing archive.

When Realtors see a troubled archival history, they naturally think twice about taking the listing (or should).

Unless they can determine why the listing failed to sell — and have a plan for correcting it that the Seller will go along with — the likelihood is that they, too, will be eventually be added to the “ex-files.”

P.S.: For Realtors, it’s decidedly not better to “have listed and lost then never to have listed at all” (sorry, I couldn’t resist)

Next: When to Fire Your Realtor

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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