Lamenting the Listing I Didn’t Get … Or Not

Jonathan Dalton, Phoenix Real Estate AgentWhile my listing presentations have changed over the years, one sentence has remained virtually untouched the entire time. I don’t compete for business based on my suggested list price because I have no control over the market. All I can do is tell a homeowner not what their home is worth empirically but what price they need to place upon it to sell.

So when I learn today that a homeowner selected the “other” real estate agent because I was “hesitant” about the listing price he wanted, I can do little more than shrug, move on and add this story to the litany of over-pricing stories I use in every listing presentation.

When the seller says they believe my marketing plan is superior, that ought to be the determining factor. It doesn’t seem to make sense to vote both for an inferior marketing plan and an inflated sales price. It brings to mind John McKay’s old line following one of many losses by his Tampa Bay Buccaneers: “Well, we didn’t block real good but we made up for it by not tackling.” 

If I had a nickel for every time I heard a seller say “I know what my home is worth.” Well, maybe you really don’t. As I told a fellow agent today, many sellers regard the escalation in prices in early 2005 as reality and the decline as a myth. Yes, my home’s value really did increase 50% in seven months. No, there’s no way my home’s value has fallen 10% over the past year.

When talking about paper gains and paper losses, property values are determined by what a ready, willing and able buyer is willing to pay. No more. No less.

Not to say the county assessor’s numbers always are right but, as a rule, if the assessor says your neighbor’s home sits on a larger parcel than yours, odds are they really do have a larger parcel. If your neighbor has a fully landscaped backyard, that likely will be more attractive than a backyard filled with dirt.

And if there are less-expensive homes on the market, regardless of the interior upgrades you have added and regardless of the marketing that has been done, those homes are that much more likely to see ahead of yours. It’s the way of the market in 2007.

I could have bent and not shown any hesitance about the sellers’ desired price but that would have been a disservice to them. Their home will not sell at the price the second agent quoted them unless there’s a major turnaround in the market. Of this I haven’t the slightest doubt.

In such circumstances there’s no sense in hand-wringing. Taking the listing for a home that is unsaleable makes no sense – not for me, not for the homeowners. It’s little more than trafficking in false hope. And that’s not how I roll.

Consider it a rule of thumb … if someone is telling you what you want to hear contrary to all the evidence in front of you, find someone else to listen to.

[tags]Phoenix real estate, real estate marketing, real estate pricing[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Thomas Johnson 10 years ago

    Jonathan: We did this in Houston ca 1985.
    No fun. Last man standing wins.

  • Jennifer Kirby 10 years ago

    The last two homes that I gave a presentation for were won by another agent because they gave a higher listing price. I told both sellers to keep my card and call me in six months when the home doesn’t sell. Sure enough, both of them have called me and asked me to come list their home, for less than I originally quoted them. They just wasted six months priced too high in a declining market, and they refused to reduce their price until six months went by. Now they are losing at least $30,000 because they got greedy. Who says Karma doesn’t exist?