The Second Agent Dance

thingsThere is a saying, almost a joke, among many Realtors:

“The second listing agent often wins”

I have heard this from so many seasoned real estate agents who will tell you that the first agent will do most of the work and if the home does not sell, the next listing agent will benefit greatly.

Here is how it works. The first listing agent will spend a great deal of time with the sellers of a property. During this time, they will go though many hours and discussions of preparing the home, staging, pricing the home, getting it photographed and on the market. During this time the seller often digs their heals in, as far as what they are willing to do to get their home sold. This can include price, repairs and even cleaning of the home.

In this above scenario, the seller can easily become adamant about any part of the process, lets use the price of the home as an example, then here is what can happen.

If the home does not get an offer close to the price point the seller is expecting, the seller will not accept it or sometimes the seller will not even counter the offer. The seller will not accept the fact that the market is telling them they have an inflated impression of what the homes true value is. The seller will likely go through the listing period and determine, in their minds, the first agent was not doing their job. They will then decide to re-list with another agent/firm (the second agent).

Since the second agent has not been involved to the prevous discussions the seller had with the first agent, the seller will now be more willing to accept that the market is telling them to lower their price. Many times this is exactly what happens and so the home goes under contract, the second agent, who did far less work that the first agent, appears to be a hero and “wins”.

It is important to note that in most cases, the first agent did an excellent job. The only thing the first agent may have done wrong is to not foresee that many sellers do not understand that the market sets the value of a home, not the agent or seller. In other words, a home is worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

One friend/agent of mine told me the saying with a little spin on it. He said he had heard it this way:

“It is best to be the first son, the second wife or the third agent”

I guess by the time a seller is onto a third agent, they become much more flexible.

When I heard my friends spin on it, I had to laugh!

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Charles McDonald
Charles McDonald
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