A Real Estate Discussion Blog


Who To List With? Agent Who Comes In The Highest Or Lowest?

This morning I was reading a script that the Chicago Assn of Realtors  released about what to say on a listing presentation if you coming in at a lower listing price than another agent.  It brought me back a year ago, when I hired a Realtor to sell a home in Florida.  I interviewed three people and all three had very different ideas as to what they thought my home was worth.  Their range in listing prices varied $150,000 from the lowest price to highest (about 30% of the value)!  In their defense, there weren't a lot of comps available, as there aren't a lot of buyers in the area and price point right now. 

So now, the million dollar question, who did we go with?  The person who was being the most realistic and coming in the lowest?  The one in the middle?  Or the one who was recommending the highest price (yes, I knew he was overpricing)? 

Yes, I admit, we went with the highest.  But not because of the list price!  We went with him because he exuded so much confidence in what he said to us.  He sold us on himself.  He was very articulate.  He sold us on that price.  We thought, if he can sell US on that price, surely he will be able to sell others!  His enthusiasm for the house and the area will be infectious.  He painted a full vision of what the area would become over the next 10 years and how lucky someone would be to get in right now, while prices were still affordable.  He not only sold us on our home, he sold us on the future of the community.  He got us so excited about our house again.  He got us excited about Hudson, FL.  He got us excited about the lifestyle a future owner could have while living in our home. 

I honestly don't remember anything about the middle person.  Not memorable, not good. 

The lowest bid was probably the most realistic.  I am sure the agent was a good agent, he had a sales history to prove it.  He was the most technologically savvy and had a great eMarketing campaign, which is why I initially interviewed him.  But he just didn't come off as a sales person to me.  He used language in his presentation that was so unmotivating and depressing.  His efforts to sell himself to me fell short.  I wasn't confident that his language or demeanor would get any more upbeat when talking to a buyer.  He just phrases like "I'll try to, but" and "yes, it could maybe one day be a lively community, but it was going to take 10 years". 

One person's "ONLY 10 years" is another person's "it is going to take TEN years". 

Two agents had good marketing plans, but it was the difference in language, attitude and specifically confidence that made one agent stand out from another, not price.  Yes, it was nice to hear that higher number (we actually ended up listing a little lower than he recommended).  I am sure the scripts are a nice technique to have in your back pocket and can be a good guide post when talking to a seller.  But whether you come in high or low, being confident in your presentation can mean so much more than the number.  At least it did for me!




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Comment balloon 13 commentsSara Bonert • June 04 2008 08:55AM


thanks for the post. It is interesting to see it from the seller's point of view.

Posted by Michael Sahlman, e-PRO - Miami Beach Florida Luxury Homes (www.HomesForVIPs.com - Keller Williams Realty) almost 12 years ago


How interesting, sorry to say you are not the only person that will justified your choice of selecting an agent because of price. Lets be honest, you made the decision, and it is your decision to make, but it was based in part on price, and oh, yes, he sold you on the idea, that he could sell this home for the listing price. A great book to read is called the Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini.

Posted by Lorraine or Loretta Kratz, Certified Negotiation Consultants (Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions.) almost 12 years ago

Confidence is key!    If you believe it, you can achieve it :)

Posted by Kara Casamassina, Boomers and beyond (International Property Management Group, LLC) almost 12 years ago

There is no substitute for a positive attitude.... think of "the little engine that could"  "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can"  My favorite entry level motovational book!  Send it to all of your friends that think the glass is half empty.... you will always get a reply!

Posted by Robert Rauf (HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ)) almost 12 years ago

I agree that confidence is key.  Take a look at the first attempts at putting together a video on AR vs what they look like after a few of them under their belt.  Typically they start out without any confidence and work toward being vary natural and positive. AJ

Posted by Alan 'AJ' Nisen California Contra Costa Mortgage Officer (A Large Bank in America) almost 12 years ago

Hey Sarah - is this the house you wrote about before that did not sell and that you are renting out now?  I might have my bloggers confused.  If it is, do you wish you would have went with the more realistic priced agent? 

I always tell people that there are agents out there trying to "buy your listing" by over stating what the home is worth - you know the old saying, "You can't reduced the price of a listing you don't have."  Would you do things differently now?


Posted by Carol Spengel, Wheaton IL (Prudential Rubloff ) almost 12 years ago

You got it (good memory!).  The answer to your question is a whole blog post itself.... 

Out of the three people I interviewed, I do think he was the best of the three.  He had such enthusiam for what the area could become, which is why we bought.  Maybe it was ego thing for us that someone else thought what we did?  However, we ended up firing him about a month later, and I still can't believe this is the reason, because we were very unhapppy with the photos online and he would not change them out after we asked him to repeatedly.

We ended up finding someone else (who btw came in in the middle of the $150,000 spread) and I HIGHLY recommend him.  He did end up finding us a renter, but there is no question who we will use when we go to market again.

If the whole picture thing wouldn't have happened, I still liked the guy's tenacity.  If only he could have delivered more on service.  When I think about the three personalities, his was the one I would have wanted giving a tour to a potential buyer. No, I wouldn't have hired the lower priced person.  I just didn't believe in his sales skills.

To say that price didn't matter at all, probably wouldn't be a fair statement, if you can back up what you put out there.  However, a marketing plan and his personality mattered a whole lot more.

I was thinking more about this later today.  Interestingly, I don't think I would have hired him if I was looking for a BUYER's agent.  Personally, I have always had a tendancy to hire very aggressive SELLING agents and more nuturing, less in-your-face BUYER agents.  I guess being so aggressive isn't my personality, and you spend more one-on-one time with a buyer's agent and I want to be with someone I enjoy. 

You make a good point in the second part of your comment.  But I guess if there is a big price differeince and you don't think you can sell it at the inflated price the Seller (or competivite pressure) is making you list at, you would just be wasting your marketing dollars and time. 

Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) almost 12 years ago

Sara, I hate to say it but it is piece of cake to sell a seller at an inflated price. Enthusiasm exudes when we know we are "buying" the listing. Why wouldn't the seller listen to us and be excited about our services when we are agreeing with their figure? The key of course is to exude confidence AND still be honest on pricing. That is a winning combination.

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) almost 12 years ago

Yeah, you are totally right.

Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) almost 12 years ago

Sara .... In the final analysis, the home did not sell. 

In a soft market, sometimes no amount of confidence, positive attitude, marketing or salesmanship will get a particular property sold. In a soft market, price is everything.

Not to be a downer, or anything like that, its just the way it is.  And it can be a tough lesson to learn.

Posted by Cheryl Johnson almost 12 years ago

Great post and very thought provoking. It just reinforces that people buy from people they like. I find it interesting that you thought the one with enthusiasm would be a great sales person, but wouldn't want him as a buyer's agent. I agree with you that I don't like to have a sales person in my face when I'm trying to buy anything.

Posted by Retired Notworking almost 12 years ago

Sara, a good lesson is to know that even a person with a great personality might not know how to do their job properly. Like someone else stated, it is all about having a great personality and being honest about statistics. It shows knowledge, confidence and character. Isn't that what everyone wants?

Posted by Len McGuirk (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Nevada Properties) almost 12 years ago


I believe that selling a home is a huge function of proper pricing.  But real estate has always been and will always be a reltionship business.  A positive attitude is paramount.  With confidence comes the ability to make your clients understand that you cant battle the market.

Posted by James Wexler (wexzilla.com) almost 12 years ago