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Beyond Listing Agreements – Where the Diamonds Are in Real Estate

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By Marylyn B. Schwartz

RISMEDIA, Dec. 2, 2008-What a concept: making money from listing homes. It seems to be a viral concept that has caught on in a myriad of markets. Not sure how these misconceptions got started, but there they are-adopted en masse.

How wrong can we be? There is no money in listing homes. The minute an agent signs a listing agreement, they are in a negative cash flow. By virtue of his/her signature, they are committing time, his/her company’s marketing and brand expertise, their marketing expertise and all the peripherals that go along with that.

A listing agreement is nothing more than a promissory note. It is a commitment to perform certain obligations with the promise of remuneration at a date in the future. If that promissory note is flawed at the outset, it will never come to fruition and bear revenue for the agent. In such case, it is nothing more than an indenture.

The industry talks about wanting to shore up the real estate market and return to some semblance of normalcy, whatever that might be when the dust clears. That is not going to ever happen unless we follow the most logical course of action: immediately quit bringing properties to market that have no chance of energizing a reticent consumer, and to either reposition the existing inventory (marketing readjustments across the board) so that the properties are absorbed, or cancel the listing agreements. Yes, they may list with someone else post cancellation, but that will put the foolish companies out of business. No loss to the industry there.

We must follow the money. Where are the diamonds to be harvested in the roads we travel daily? The money is in short-sales, expireds and inventory that gets a kick into reality, repositions and voilá, sells. No matter where I am presenting, I hear the same thing again and again. When it is priced to inspire a jaded consumer, it moves.

Expireds are out there-desperate for an agent with true marketing skills to come along on a white charger and rescue them from the sea of misinformation, ineffective marketing, misleading pricing, etc. When a skilled pro comes along and meets face-to-face with a motivated seller… BAM!

Every time I hear an agent advising his/her current or prospective client to pull their property and wait to re-list (or list) after January, hair rises in clumps everywhere on my head-oh, the folly and foolishness of not taking every possible opportunity to find that proverbial needle-in-a-haystack buyer.

We don’t need more-of-the-same thinking. We need quantum-leap thinking. What good is standard evolutionary process? If Darwin were to take a hard and fast look at the way we continue to do business, that is employing Paleozoic-age reasoning to Stephen-Hawking level problems, he would be able to intuit that it will be millennia before we dig our way out of this quagmire. Who has that kind of time to earn the money needed to feed, clothe and house our families? If looking at our frighteningly diminished SEPs is not proof enough that we need to move at the speed of light, then there is nothing that will compel us toward new paradigms.

This is the right time for a motivated buyer and seller to be in the market. This is the best time for a well-qualified individual to acquire a dream-come-true home. This is the right time to kick the lookers and the “listers” to the curb. (Okay, stay in touch with them, if you will. Just don’t cling to them for dear life) This is the right time to demonstrate our expertise to those who have serious financial challenges, yet must find a way out of their present situations. That is what we do and who we are.

We help people not only to make dreams come true, but also to find new lives and to make fresh starts. There are so many out there that need us for just those reasons. If this is not who you are, nor what you are ready, willing and able to do, then I respectfully request that you please get out of the way, and let the pros through!

Marylyn B. Schwartz, CSP, is an expert in real estate and corporate sales training/management and team development. She is president of Teamweavers and a trainer for Leader’s Choice.

For more information, visit www.marylynbschwartz.com, or e-mail teamweaver@aol.com.

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