Rookie Diary: Lori Moreno Gets Her First Problem Listing

In the second month of the series, the rookies face challenges as they try to increase sales and develop a niche.

March 1, 2004

Lori Moreno, 30

ERA Sunrise Realty
Cumming, Ga.
Lori.Moreno@era.com

March 2004

I’ve got my first problem listing. This couple called last month—they got my name off my billboard ad—and asked me to sell their house.

The house has been on the market since August. It’s a nice house: 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a big lot. The price is $154,900, which is low for the neighborhood. But it’s not selling.

I just don’t understand it. I’ve done ads and flyers. I even had the owners pressure wash the exterior because it looked a little dirty, and I thought that might be the problem. Nothing has worked.

We can’t cut the price because the owners owe $151,000 on the mortgage. Do we just wait it out? Would changing the MLS number help? I have no clue what to do. Any suggestions?

Other than that, though, it hasn’t been a bad month. In addition to the house above, I also scored four other new listings.

Two are referrals from a past client and one is a buyer who is interested in one of the referrals’ listings but needs to sell her current house first. (I’m sensing that I could get all three sides here if I play my cards right!)

The fourth one is a guy who saw the photo on my billboard and decided to list with me because “You look hot.” Well, a listing’s a listing, right?

I’ve also run into a snag with my billboard company. The board I’m on is three-sided, which means the panels flip every six seconds. I have one side. Last fall, the billboard company rented one of the other sides to another real estate practitioner.

They weren’t supposed to do that. In an effort to correct the situation, they offered to move me to another board and give me a deal on the lease. So I did. This was three weeks ago.

I thought the new location was better or at least comparable, but I’m not getting anywhere near the volume of calls I got from the old one.

The company told me I can try another board if this one doesn’t work out. Again, I’m not really sure what to do.

I’m not happy with the response, but it’s a hassle and a waste of time to keep moving. At this point, I’ve only got another six months or so to go on the lease. Do I stay or go? Has anyone else had to deal with this kind of situation?

Finally, I’ve got a few buyers I’m working with. The more I work with buyers, the more I think I want to get away from that.

It seems like the more houses people see, the more they want to see. I can’t seem to control the process. This past week, a couple I’ve been working with for the last few months finally signed a contract to buy a house. And I’m happy about that.

But when I consider how much work went into that sale—I showed them at least 70 houses—I start to wonder if it’s worth it. There has to be an easier way, right?

Robert Sharoff is an architectural writer for The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Chicago Magazine. With photographer William Zbaren, he has produced books highlighting the architecture of Detroit and St. Louis. He is a former senior editor with REALTOR® Magazine.

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