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Q: Bad luck with real estate agent ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Bad luck with real estate agent
Category: Business and Money > Advertising and Marketing
Asked by: jacksondnj-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 18 Jul 2006 17:57 PDT
Expires: 17 Aug 2006 17:57 PDT
Question ID: 747567
I own a beautiful log home in Commerce, Georgia valued at roughly
$180,000.  My real estate agent stopped returning my phone calls over
a month ago.  I must come up with a game plan to replace the agent!

Specifically, I would like to know the best way to go about finding a
good realtor in the Commerce Georgia area (I live on the West coast,
so I can not visit in person).  Once I have a handful of good agents
on my shortlist, what questions do I ask to make the final decision? 
Finally, what should I
expect of them in terms of listing & advertising my house, keeping me
posted, etc.

I had a very bad experience with the first agent; I want to make this
one a good experience.

Thank You!
Subject: Re: Bad luck with real estate agent
Answered By: umiat-ga on 19 Jul 2006 16:59 PDT
Hello, jacksondnj-ga!

 I can certainly understand your frustration! 
 My husband is a building contractor and we have built, lived in, and
sold many houses and properties over the years. We have been extremely
fortunate to have a very good real estate agent work with us for the
past fifteen years. However, when we travel to other locations to look
at properties, we are often appalled at the lackadaisical attitude of
many real estate agents. They do not return calls. Many seem to put on
an air that they do not "need" to sell anything unless they have the
time. It is often surprising to find out how little many of them know
about their own listings!

 You have every right to expect the utmost attention from your
realtor. After all, it is the sale of your property that is providing
their income! It does not matter that you live across the country.
Your realtor should go out of their way to represent you, advertise
your property, know all there can be to know about what makes your
house stand out, etc.  I will say that I would not expect a realtor to
contact you more than once every week or so, unless there has been
interest in your home. If there is no activity, it is not unreasonable
to let a few weeks go by. However, the fact that your agent has not
returned a phone call in a month is extremely rude! It certainly does
not inspire confidence that the agent has your best interests at

 Let me start off by stating that I could NOT find any log homes
matching your description on one of the most well-known real estate
listing sites on the web - With a basic internet search,
I found one log home for sale in Commerce, Georgia within $8,000 of
the price range you quoted. I searched under the description you
provided in your question. The home I found was buried on a real
estate website but I could not find it on a publicly-available
multiple listing service. I may be wrong, but I assume the home I
found is yours. Unfortunately, the listing is NOT readily available to
the public and I don't know the reason for this. It may be that your
agent does not want to open this listing up to other brokers, which
can be unfortunate from your standpoint as the seller.


The first thing you must do is terminate your contract and take the
house off the market before you sign up with another realtor. I do not
know what your current contract states, but you must abide by whatever
timeframe you have agreed to, even if it means suffering through this
agent until the listing rights have expired. You never know - the
house might sell in the meantime!

 See the following Q/A from AskanExpert:

Q. "My husband and I signed a contract with an agent to sell our home
and we stupidly didn't look at the length of the listing. It's for 180
days. Is there any way to get out of the contract after 60 or 90

A. "Probably not. These are written to protect the agent and their
commission, not you their customer. Next time, read the contract
before signing, and/or scratch out what you don't want and add what
you want in the contract before signing. You do not have to sign a
contract as presented by the agent!"


 While you are waiting for the contract to expire, I would do a little
legwork. First, if your real estate agent works with a large firm, it
might be prudent to call one of the head honchos in the brokerage and
voice your concerns about this particular agent ignoring your phone
calls. Perhaps you can get another agent to take over the listing if
it is within the same company, or at least ignite some passion from a
little peer pressure.

 I would immediatley ask if your house is listed in the multiple
listings. I would also inquire whether there has been an open house
and if there was any feedback about the price or the condition of the

 To see if your house is listed on the internet, go to

 Searching by price and location is self-explanatory.

 However, the following link will show you the houses available in
Commerce, GA, between $150,000 and $200,000. Can you find your house?


 Finally, I think you should consider whether the price you are asking
is within the right ballpark. Have a look at other listings in the
area and compare your house with other listing within the same price
range. You might even call a few local realtors to ask their opinion.
Perhaps you are asking too much - or, on the other hand, you might be
asking too little. In any case, don't simply trust your agent. You
would be surprised at how often they don't know what other comparable
houses in the area are selling for (especially if they are not local)
or how much they can be swayed by the promise of a higher commission
on an overpriced house.

 I would also recommend that you ask your agent what comments
potential buyers have made about your house (what they like and don't
like). It might give you an idea if there is something about the house
that is causing people to back off.

 At the very least, your agent should be giving you some idea about
how many people have walked through your house!

 See "House Pricing Basics - How to Price Your House," by Elizabeth Weintraub.


 There is no way I can endorse one real estate agent over another.
Even if I lived in Georgia and had a working relationship with an
agent, I could not endorse an individual or a company in a public
format like this. However, after looking through, (which
many potential buyers preview to get an idea of properties available
before they contact an agent), I can tell you the realtors that stand
out as having several listings in your price range.

 Before I list some names, you might want to read the following
articles which provide some excellent tips on finding a good realtor.
Read "How to Find a Listing Agent," by Janet Wickell

Interviewing Agents:

* "Ask agents to explain the marketing tactics that will be used to
sell your house, including print, Web and other types of advertising
(you'll already know much of this if you've done your research)."

* "Will the agency place your house in the Multiple Listing Service
(MLS) immediately? Making your home available to every affiliated
agent greatly increases the buyer pool."

* "Find out if the agency belongs to more than one MLS. In some areas
there's an overlap of popular neighborhoods, making multiple
memberships important."

* "What's their commission rate? How does it compare to that of other
agencies that offer the same services?"

* "Find out how long they want you to list with them, keeping in mind
that the time is usually negotiable."

* "What's the average length of time it takes to sell a house in your
area? What is their company's average?"

* "How long has the (potential) listing agent been licensed to sell real estate?"

* "What percentage of the agency's listings sell during the initial
listing contract period?"

* "Buyer feedback is an important tool. If everyone makes the same
negative comment, you should consider working on the problem. How
often can you expect to receive buyer feedback? Weekly, twice a month,
after every showing? Will the feedback be written?"

* "Will the agent hold an open house for other real estate agents? For buyers?"

* "How are showings handled? Will you receive advance notification
that someone is coming? How much notice is typical? You can put
restrictions on showings--certain days or times are off-limits--but
that may cut down on the number of times your home is shown."

* "Does the agency use lockboxes? Many agencies place a key inside a
box that is secured to your home. Ask the agents to explain how it

Also read:

"Finding a good real estate broker," by Gerri Willis

"Top 10 Mistakes Sellers Make When Choosing a Realtor," By Crissie Cudd

"Real Estate Listing Agreements," by Janet Wickell


I have highlighted some of the realtors that appear to be most
prominent for the Commerce listings near your price range on By no means are these the only ones in the area, and this
does not constitute an endorsement!

C/21 Community Realty  (This is the Commerce office)
Office: (706)335-0021

Commerce listing agents


Norton Mountain Properties has several listings

Their property search page

* Note that I did not find your house on their property search page
either (under parameters for Commerce, single family home, $170,000 -


Re/Max Select C
Office: (706)335-1981

* See their listings for Commerce

* Agents


Prudential Georgia Realty
Office: (706)654-2086

****  Note this listing agent's awards **** 


Cannon Realty Inc.
Office: (706)367-2775

* See their active and sold Commerce listings

** Take a look at their listings and get and idea whether your asking
price is in the  ballpark.


 Many sellers have decided to to forgo the traditional Real Estate
brokers for a company called Assist2Sell. I noticed that several
listings from the Georgia office are on the MLS for Commerce, GA.


"Instead of offering just one, expensive marketing program like most
real estate companies, Assist-2-Sell offices offer sellers a "menu" of
services. From a paperwork-only low "flat fee" to a full-blown
Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) marketing program, sellers can choose
the program that they feel they want and need to sell their home."

Athens, GA Office:

 Assist 2 Sell Buyers & Sellers 1st Choice Realty
 (706) 353-1054 - 3706 Atlanta Hwy, Athens, GA 30606

 From their homepage, you can search available properties listed by
ANY realtor throughout the Athens area. NOTE that your home cannot be
found under the Jackson County listings here, either (unless I have a
wrong descripton)!!

"You can also access information on all homes for sale with any real
estate company in the Athens, Georgia area. Simply click on the button
labeled "Athens area MLS" on the left side of your screen. Finding
your house with a mouse has never been easier!" 

Some Assist2Sell offerings in Commerce in the same price range as your
home can be found on the following links:


 This should be a good list to get you started. In my own experience,
I would have to say that it is usually best to go with a local agent.
They know their community the best and they tend to be the best
sellers of their own locale! They know the intimate details of what
their town has to offer, what might make your house special (only log
house for miles, etc!). You really don't want an "out of town" agent
representing you who can't answer a question about what the local
schools are like, whether your house is in a safe part of town,
whether the school bus comes down the road, and why Commerce is a
nicer town than the one adjacent to it!


 I cannot stress enough how important it is for your house to be on
the internet (if you are agreeable) and in as many local papers as
possible. I cannot tell you how many times I have searched for
properties online. I am especially frustrated when there is a listing
with no picture!

 Most communities have local real estate publications available for
free to the public. If Commerce attracts tourists, it is important to
have your house listed. I have become interested in many properties
this way throughout the years. If it is not advertised, no one will
know about it - right?


 In any case, I hope I have provided some direction for you. Don't
forget - your realtor works for YOU - not the other way around. The
commission from the sale of your house will provide part of their
annual salary. If they are not anxious to work for it, find someone
who will!

 If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

 Otherwise, I wish you the best of luck!



Clarification of Answer by umiat-ga on 01 Aug 2006 11:30 PDT
Please let me clarify the incorrect statement made by wordsmth-ga
below. Although he/she implied that I suggested you "fire" your agent,
I did NOT say that at all. I believe I was very clear that you MUST
ABIDE by the terms of your real estate contract!!
Subject: Re: Bad luck with real estate agent
From: wordsmth-ga on 01 Aug 2006 08:47 PDT
A couple of quick thoughts. Umiat's advice is all good--just a couple
of additional points.

One good (though not infallible) way to find an active, productive
broker is to look at who has a lot of listings in the neighborhood or
town you're in. Go with winners. And in Commerce, there's one who has
listed most of the properties. If you're not using him, you should put
him at the top of your list for consideration. There's another agent,
also with some listings; I'd also look at her. I'm not saying to
select one or the other, but put them on your short list.

A second way is to call an agent you know and trust in your geographic
area. Explain your situation. Your local agent will suggest some
agents in or near Commerce and probably will receive a referral fee or
a portion of the commission for the referral. That's fine. It won't
cost you any more, and you'll be getting an insider's suggestion of
who to go with.

Make sure you've cancelled or terminated your listing agreement with
your current agent. And you can't just "fire" him/her. Umiat's advice
is incorrect. A listing agreement can end in a variety of ways. A
listing agreement ends when a property sells, when the listing
expires, when one party voids the agreement (but this can be a gray
area), by mutual consent, or in a number of other situations (your
death or bankruptcy, for instance). If you've got more than a few days
to go on your agreement, contact your agent and request that the
contract be terminated. Explain why. If he won't return your call,
then call and ask to speak to the agency's broker. (He/she is the "big
cheese," the "head honcho." Actually, your listing agreement is with
that person, the broker; your agent is a representative of the
broker.) Explain your situation and ask that the listing agreement be

An agent should explain to you his/her marketing plan for your
property. He/she should also do a CMA (competitive market analysis) to
guide you in setting a price to sell your property. And he/she should
be in regular contact with you. If you want to be contacted daily, say
so and make that part of the agreement. That may be overkill, but I'd
say twice a week is less than once a week. And the
agent should tell you what he/she has done to market your property,
the feedback received from potential buyers and other agents, what the
selling environment is like (average days on market, etc.), and
similar information.

Hope that helps.

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