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Why Realtors® Sometimes Turn Down Listings


Dear Phyllis,

My husband and I were married for five years before he passed away.  Both of us were married previously but neither had children. As the home was solely in his name and he didn’t have a living trust, the home will be sold through probate.  I don’t yet have the authority to list, but I have been talking with local Realtors® to get an idea as to how much I can sell for.  Although my home needs some work, it is on a very large lot and was built by a noted architect.  I want to sell for $5,000,000.  Both Realtors® told me they thought my home would sell nearer $3,000,000.  They each told me they don’t want my listing.  I am hoping you can help me understand why a Realtor® would not want a $5,000,000 listing.     Perplexed

Phyllis Harb is a
Realtor® with Dilbeck Real Estate.
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Dear Perplexed,

I am sorry for your loss. It is unfortunate that your husband didn’t have a living trust and you need to go thorough the extra burden and expense of probate.

Most likely the real estate agents are turning down the opportunity to list the home because they feel the price is too high.  Depending on the caliber of real estate agent you hire, there are numerous out of pocket expenses a Realtor® might incur when marketing a home of your caliber.

Some of the out of pocket marketing expenses might include:

  Home Biography:  This is a popular listing tool, when the home has a pedigree of some sort (notable owners and/or architects)

  Professional Floorplan: As you indicate your home needs work, a floorplan will enable potential buyers to easily visualize how they can remodel and possibly rework your floorplan.

  Professional Photos: Always a must.  Your first showings are online.

  Site Plan: Being located on a large lot, a professional site plan is also an excellent marketing tool, to show the potential of the grounds.

This is not taking into account your Realtors® time and effort in helping you prepare the home for sale. Your agent will be hosting broker’s open houses and depending on the marketing plan, open houses to the public.  Likely there won’t be a lockbox and your agent will be there for private showings.

Possibly both real estate agents are taking into account that probate listings can only be for ninety days.  They can be renewed for additional ninety-day periods.  But I think you can understand that because of a Realtors® initial cash outlay and time invested; they are reluctant to take on an overpriced listing for just ninety days. Don’t forget that Realtors® don’t get paid until we close escrow.

I wish you success on getting your home sold and starting the next chapter of your life.