Wondering how to cancel a listing or purchase contract? Below is a previous post on another site written by partner Elizabeth Weintraub. What is so interesting — it’s as relevant today as when written, more than a decade ago. These questions are asked often by the public when visiting our website about: Sacramento Real Estate.
“It’s too bad that you can’t just rip up a contract to terminate an association or an agreement, but that’s not how it works. To find out if your contract can be canceled, the first step to take is to read the contract. Contracts typically contain a provision for cancellation.
Fortunately, as the second listing agent, I do sell those listings. And I sell those homes at top dollar; it’s not like I list them for less than the previous sales price, because usually the price stays the same. What I look for is what are the challenges to selling the listing. All listings contain some kind of challenge and there are no slam dunks in this business. It’s easy to pick out the attractive selling points but it’s much more difficult to address the challenges, isolate the drawbacks and make those bad things appear insignificant. But that’s a specialty developed through decades of experience, I guess. It’s why my homes for sale in Sacramento tend to sell for more money –well, that, and I tend to play well with others.
I just closed a home on Friday that had previously been listed by another real estate agent for 5 months without selling. The first thing I do is scrutinize what the other agent has done and then, as the second listing agent, I don’t do those things. That’s an oversimplification but my goal is not to duplicate failure. Looking up the first agent’s listings, it was clear that most of that agent’s inventory is languishing on the market for an extremely long period of time. You’d expect to see long days on market for a short sale but not in a bunch of equity listings.
I studied what I did not like about the photographs and marketing comments and eliminated those negatives from my marketing strategy. Further, the previous agent did not hold open houses. Some mega real estate companies do not support agent open houses. Lyon Real Estate, where I work, is a big proponent of open houses. It’s true that most buyers don’t buy directly from an open house but the publicity does help to sell that home. Lyon Real Estate is the market leader in the Sacramento Valley.
My charming group of dedicated real estate agents on the Elizabeth Weintraub Team worked diligently with me to sell that home. I kept in constant communication with the seller, advising her of our efforts. I’m happy to report that the home sold. For all cash. There was no appraisal to contend with, so the seller got exactly the price she wanted — which was excellent because the comparable sales were few. The home is situated on a busy street but I worked around it. It was also overbuilt in comparison to other homes in the neighborhood, but I worked around it.
Most of my clients call me first, thank goodness. But it’s OK if I am the second listing agent. It’s not that difficult to cancel a listing contract. If your home hasn’t sold and you’re shopping around for a new Sacramento real estate agent, call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. I don’t mind being the second listing agent. I will get the job done for you.
I share this particular story in hopes that some other home seller in Sacramento will be spared. First, let’s set some misconceptions aside. In today’s Sacramento real estate market, often the first offer is the best offer you’ll ever get. You should negotiate with that offer and not shrug it away because you didn’t like the sales price. Sellers can harbor futile hopes that another buyer will pay more but that and a quarter won’t buy a Starbucks. The first offer you receive might be the only offer you will get.
Second, after you hire the best Sacramento real estate agent you can find, you should stick with that agent. Don’t listen to those who will try to persuade you that you can pay less and get more. Where in the world does that philosophy work? You tell me because I’ll go to that store. There is always a tradeoff.
A seller begs to go on the market. Needs to sell because she is getting a divorce and cannot afford the house payments. She has equity. The problem with her home is she bought it thinking she was moving into a certain neighborhood, a desirable neighborhood but, for whatever reason, she was misled. She bought a home in a neighborhood that was not so desirable, yet still close to the more popular area.
These types of homes on the outskirts are very difficult and challenging to sell at prices within the skirts. Although an appraiser who is unfamiliar with the neighborhood will use comparable sales in the more desirable area, buyers often won’t make offers in that price range, and therein lies the problem. Besides, there are real estate agents who know the boundaries of neighborhoods, even if the buyers do not. A home on the outskirts could be worth $25,000 up to $100,000 less than other homes located within that 6-block radius.
This seller received an offer that would have paid off her mortgage, all of her closing costs and give her a little pocket change. She refused the offer. She was indignant. A short while later, she asked to cancel the listing. Big home seller’s mistake. I will always cancel a listing for a seller, though. I am not one of those agents who hangs on to the listing with her teeth and makes everybody angry. I just let it go. Besides, people have their reasons. Maybe they no longer want to sell. Or whatever.
Which is what this seller told me. However, soon after the listing was withdrawn, it was back on the market with another agent. The seller said her ex-husband wanted to hire a different agent, but it was difficult now for me to trust anything she had to say. The relationship between a listing agent and a seller is a fiduciary and built on trust. If the trust is gone, the relationship does not exist. She also mustered the nerve to ask if I would give her my photographs because she did not like the photos taken by her new agent. What?
In any case, her home is now pending as an approved short sale. She could have walked away scott-free but chose this path herself. It makes me wonder why people do this. I take no pleasure in her misfortune. In fact, it breaks my heart. I hope it never happens to you. Because you know what they say, you can learn from your own mistakes, but it’s much better to learn from somebody else’s. Don’t make these kinds of home seller’s mistakes.
Immediately, the agent apologized for her former client’s behavior. As though what had happened carried a stigma of some sort. I didn’t even recall the transaction. I searched for her name on my computer and found a sale in which she had submitted an offer, but I could not recall any details. It was a few years ago, and hundreds of real estate closings later. Whatever happened was water under the bridge.
I don’t believe it’s the other agent’s fault when a client cancels. Maybe that’s because I have sold hundreds of homes in Sacramento and, as a result, I realize that stuff happens — stuff that we can’t always control. Once, I had a seller start to cry when I brought him an offer. It was full price, everything he wanted. But that’s when the reality hit. He was too emotionally attached to his home and had relied on other reasons, things he had used as an excuse to sell, and he had talked himself into putting his home on the market. However, when it came right down to it, he didn’t really want to sell.
Was I going to beat him over the head and say: See ya in court, buddy? To a man who is in love with his house and made a mistake? That’s incredibly stupid on so many levels. I released him from the listing.
Agents we remember who “did us wrong” are agents who are unprofessional. Those who don’t return phone calls or, worse, scream into the phone, or refuse to submit required documentation, intentionally thwart transactions. Not agents whose sellers or buyers cancel an escrow. Sacramento real estate agents tend to hold other agents accountable for honesty, ethics, and doing the best job that they can. Not for how their clients react.
Agents this Sacramento agent remembers are those with whom I close escrow, not the others. Some agents who work with me end up in multiple transactions with me. They know I will be professional. That’s a good thing.
Like yesterday, a seller contacted me to say she wanted to buy a home in East Sacramento. Apparently, she is selling a home in Natomas and has decided that she and her husband should try to buy a short sale in East Sacramento, a home priced around $300,000 to $400,000 that would actually be worth $500,000 to $600,000. Yes, I know what you are thinking right now, dear reader. You are thinking that I should have hung up the phone or not corresponded with this particular person, but President Obama says we should be nice to people who have mental deficiencies. That a mental disease is not a reason to shun people or pick on them or discriminate against them.
I wanted to make sure I heard this person correctly and to double check if she had indeed put her home on the market in Natomas. So I queried as to whether she was asking me to list her home in Natomas and buy a new home East Sacramento. She replied that her home was already listed by an agent but her agent was too busy to help her buy a home in East Sacramento.
That didn’t make sense. Agents are rarely “too busy” to help a client. It’s what we do for a living. We sell real estate. Even if an agent was otherwise occupied, perhaps taking a vacation, for example, an agent would refer the client to another agent who had time. There must be something else going on. So, I asked the person to give me her agent’s name and phone number.
That was the last I heard from her.
Generally, I will call other agents before accepting a listing. Just to hear the other side of the story and to assure the agent that I am not in the business of soliciting other agent’s clients. That’s not how I do business. I don’t swipe somebody else’s clients. Most of the time what I discover is there is a lack of communication. Sometimes, the relationship terminated due to agent ineptness or carelessness or inexperience. But rarely is it malicious as people sometimes suspect.
If I spot a listing that is on the market for a few days and then canceled, generally, that’s not a listing I want to take. It’s a clear signal there is something wrong, and let’s just say it’s not the agent.