There are a few agents out there saying that Test Sell Your Home is a new concept-this is not a new concept here in the Inland Empire…like test drive a car, or test ride a horse, and the list could go on and on. This blog is my take on it as a realtor. When it comes to your house, why would you want to test sell it? Why wouldn’t you want to really market it so that you can get buyers. Test sell your home is nothing more than an agent having what is called a “pocket listing” meaning they don’t share it with other agents. They keep it to themselves so they can get both commissions from the selling and buying side. Then we get into other concepts when a listing agent is representing both a buyer and seller-who are they most loyal to? There is a fine line representing both buyer and seller as far as agency is concerned. With this concept of Test Sell Your Home-they say:
They developed this to see if it’s worth the seller’s time time to sell the house. They work around your schedule, they market to get the best price for your home, should you decide to sell, no lockbox, no open house, no broker’s open unless you want them. They have less pressure, with no gimmicks and no commitment. But, all agents can do this for you. All agents can test sell your home. All agents can do the above for you. Like I mentioned before, this concept is nothing new and it basically is a “pocket listing.”
When sellers put their home on the market, many are test selling their homes anyhow. I have sellers tell me, “Let’s try to sell our home for this price, we know you said it should be this amount, but we want more.” So, that would be test selling their home. They still can cancel selling their home if they don’t want to sell (providing that they are not in escrow or negotiating over an offer). As far as Test Sell Your home claiming that a market analysis does not say a lot, well it does say a lot if you run the comparable homes sold in the area. You then will know for the most part what a home is worth. And, of course, the home has to appraise when the buyer gets their loan (and then you can still back out if the price agreed upon does not match up with the appraisal). That is one of the buyer’s contingencies. If they have not removed the appraisal contingency they will get their deposit back. So, the buyer does not have to buy either. That is another way to Test Sell Your Home. Also, the seller can pay for an appraisal to see what the value is before listing it. I have had sellers do that if it is hard to price. This way the sellers can not run into snags when the house is listed regarding price. We sell homes with no gimmicks either, and we don’t need to have a lock box on your home either. We also don’t have broker’s open houses or regular open houses if you don’t want them. We also work around your schedule. This is standard practice for us.
Sellers have been Test Selling their homes for a long time, if an appraisal does not come in where the seller wants to sell, then the seller can cancel. This would be considered test selling your home. If the buyer does not like the physical inspection or the seller does not want to fix items that are important to the buyer, the buyer can cancel as well, so this would be considered test selling the home too. The buyer may not like the termite report or feel uncomfortable about something about the house and back out. This could be considered test selling the home as well.
You can still Test Sell Your Home and still put it in the MLS. The Multiple Listing Service is here for your benefit as a seller. It behooves you to have your home in the MLS as most buyers are going to look at Zillow, Redfin, Realtor.com, Trulia, or have an agent send them homes from the MLS. Most buyers are going to come from the buyer’s agent and not the seller’s agent. I have never had a client tell me that they don’t want their home the Multiple Listing Service. In fact I have the SELM form from C.A.R. right here in front of me (Seller Instruction To Exclude Listing From the Multiple Listing Service 7/13). This form talks about the impact of exclusion of property from the MLS. If property is excluded from the MLS, Seller understands and acknowledges that: (a) real estate agents and brokers from other real estate offices who have access to that MLS, and their buyer clients, may not be aware that Seller’s Property is offered for sale; (b) information about Seller’s Property will not be transmitted to various real estate sites used by the public to search for Property listings; and (c) real estate agents, brokers and members of the public may be unaware of the terms and conditions under which Seller is marketing the Property.
This also talks about the impact/reduction of exposure: Any reduction in exposure of the Property may lower the number of offers made and negatively impact sales price. So, not putting your home in the MLS can negatively impact your sales price.
The MLS generally requires brokers participating in the MLS to submit all exclusive right to sell and exclusive agency listings for residential real property or vacant lots to the MLS within 2 days of obtaining all necessary signatures of the seller(s) on the listing agreement unless broker submits to the MLS an instruction signed by Seller (such as the SELM form) excluding the listing from the MLS.
Listing property with the MLS exposes the property to all real estate agents and brokers who are participants or subscribers to the MLS, or reciprocal MLS, and potential buyer clients of those agents and brokers. The MLS may further transmit the MLS database to Internet sites that post property listings online.
It seems that there are many more “pocket listings” right now. Agents are saying that the sellers don’t want their homes listed in the MLS and only want the listing agents to show their homes. Interesting. Sellers need to be counseled on not putting their homes in the MLS. Some agents are saying it’s a matter of privacy and security for the sellers. Okay, so this is how you solve it. Make sure it is shown by appointment only with the listing agent (because that’s what will have to happen anyhow even if the listing agent gets a phone call they will have to set up an appointment with the seller-no different than a buyer’s agent doing it, only you have the listing agent present as well. You also have the buyer’s agent send over the buyer’s pre-approval letter, proof of funds, FICO scores etc BEFORE you let them see the home. There are many ways to protect a seller’s privacy. Many…if you need more information as a seller, please contact me direct at 951-204-1864.
My buyers NEVER want to write an offer just because…if a home says DRIVE BY ONLY, make your offer…sorry Charlie. I am not having my buyers do that. This seems like a TOTAL waste of time. Want to know why? This is why…because what happens if a buyer has their agent write an offer based on drive by only. Then they get into the house to find out they really don’t like it at all and then need to cancel their contract. This is not only a waste of time for the buyer, but the buyer’s agent, the listing agent the sellers etc. Such a waste of EVERYONE’S Time.
I have heard things like, “My client does not want a lot of traffic coming in the home because his mother is elderly and also for security reasons.” Okay, so schedule a few open houses so everyone can come through in a few hours and have the sellers possibly take their elderly mother somewhere else for those few hours.
I have never had a seller tell me they don’t want their home in the MLS. If there was a problem showing it, I would do it by appointment only. I think really in most cases who benefits from it being excluded from the MLS is the listing agent. They can double end it meaning make both commissions instead of just the listing side the also get the buyer’s agent side. It makes it hard for agents to work together and accomplish the goal of selling homes. This is why there is the MLS. Remember privacy can be handled still with the home going into the MLS so buyer’s agents can show homes, the listing agent can accompany the buyer’s agent with clients into the home. This happens a lot on many high end homes where clients are concerned about security and privacy.
One of my questions is how are these other agents marketing your home? How are they trying to sell it when the MLS is designed to take your home to thousands of agents all over and buyers. The internet is a fabulous thing. It is far better than print advertising or just putting a sign up in the yard. What does an agent do to market your home if they don’t put it in the MLS, they don’t do a broker’s open, they don’t have an open house, they don’t let buyer’s agents show your home…they don’t they don’t they don’t…that’s all I hear, and their don’ts are supposed to be beneficial to you? I would like to understand how that is-really and truly.
I think agents are not educating sellers on what other options are out there to help them list, use the MLS and still have their privacy handled. Agents have a fiduciary duty to do their best for their clients and not for themselves. This is called being ethical. This is called integrity, doing what is right for our clients and not for ourselves.
So, with all agents, you can Test Sell Your Home with any agent. If you want your agent to keep your home out of the MLS I think you should really think again. The MLS really benefits you the most as a seller with thousands of agents having access to the MLS for their buyers. How is your agent going to find you a buyer if they don’t put it in the MLS? A sign certainly won’t generate many buyers unless they “happen” to be driving down your street. The internet is where home buyers look now. This is the place to be. When I list your home with my team, we make sure we do the best we can for our clients. You come first.
Joan Patterson, B.A., G.R.I., Realtor, License #01431647
Keller Williams Realty