Making the most of a market on fire: A Saskatoon home seller’s story

You may have heard me chirp once, or even twice about a practice which is occurring all too often in this fast-moving Saskatoon real estate market.I’m talking about MLS® listings which magically sell before they’re even submitted to the MLS® system. It seems that every day there are several new listings which have been sold before most of the market is even aware that the homes are for sale. It frustrates the heck out of buyers who only want to have a chance to view a home and consider making an offer. It’s an out and out rip off for sellers who would like to sell their homes at the highest possible price.

I wanted to share an experience that I think clearly indicates how the market can work for both buyers and sellers when agents take their duty seriously and actually make an effort to provide a seller’s property with adequate exposure to a very hungry market.

I had listed an attractive property that would be considered to be in fairly high demand. Together, my seller and I arrived at a price taking into consideration both recent sales and other similar properties which were being offered for sale at the time. We completed a listing agreement on a Monday afternoon. Based on his motivation and the time frame in which he wanted to sell we agreed that the listing would be marketed as follows:

On Tuesday I would return to the home to take photographs. I would prepare a nice internet ad which I would post as soon as I completed it. I would follow that posting up with a mass email to more than 300 local real estate agents informing them that the property would be on the market the following day and that they were welcome to call to arrange an appointment to show the property to their buyer. On Wednesday morning, I would submit the listing to the MLS® system. That’s what I did. Here’s what happened.

  • 579 people viewed the listing on the Internet.
  • The listing was viewed 185 times on the Saskatoon MLS® system by other real estate agents.
  • 23 viewings occurred between 11:30 am and 7:30 pm on Wednesday.
  • I made or received 137 telephone calls through the course of that day, most of which were related to this listing.
  • Several buyers expressed interest and more than one agent attempted to pressure my seller into accepting an offer before other buyers could see the home.
  • My seller took my advice that it would be reasonable and fair to review offers later in the evening after the others had had a chance to see it and consider the home.
  • At 8:00 pm, I presented 12 offers to my seller. Not a single offer was for less than the asking price.
  • My seller accepted an offer which was well above the asking price, and a back-up offer which was almost as strong.

Happy seller, a happy buyer, exhausted but very happy seller’s agent.

Now, it’s important to me that you understand that I don’t see myself as a hero in this story. It seems to me that this is what should be expected of me as the seller’s agent. After all, agency law demands that the agent protect and promote the client’s interests and only the client’s interests.

Am I “the Donald” of Saskatoon real estate? Am I smarter than other Saskatoon real estate agents? No. This is not a terribly complicated strategy. I’ve used it and other similar strategies many, many times. Any agent who has negotiated more than a couple of dozen transactions knows that this approach or some variation of it would be effective for his or her client, especially in this market.

Delivering on your promises and actually doing what you’re being paid to do doesn’t make you special. It’s just the way that it should be, and that’s really all that I did.

Now, consider for a moment another approach that I might have taken, if I didn’t give damn about my client and I didn’t particularly care about the promise which is inherent in an agency relationship; to promote and protect the client’s interest. If that were the case, I could have slipped that listing into my briefcase where nobody but me would be able to see it. Then, I could have gotten on the phone and called the most motivated buyer who has contacted me expressing an interest in such properties. I could have quietly arranged a showing. That buyer likely would have made an offer which probably would have been decent, perhaps just a little lower than the list price. My seller, reasonable guy that he is probably would have accepted it. I would have pocketed a full commission.

Most likely, I would have had a happy seller and a happy buyer. My seller may have even patted me on the back for getting the job done so quickly and effectively. Sometimes, through the smoke and mirrors, you just don’t know that you’ve been screwed.

One thing would have been very different though, had I decided to go that way. I would have felt like a failure as an agent, unworthy of the trust and confidence that this client placed in me. I would have known that I could have done more for him, had I not been so interested in helping myself.

Do you have a home to sell? Make sure your agent understands that you expect him or her to be working for you, protecting and promoting your interests. There are many very professional agents working in this market who wouldn’t think of pulling such stunts. You just need to be sure that you’re working with one of them. You deserve no less.

Ask questions and hold your agent accountable. It’s really that simple.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions. 

Norm Fisher

Royal LePage Vidorra

Norm Fisher, TeamFisher

About Norm

Licensed in 1993, Norm brings a wealth of experience to TeamFisher. He has worked in every imaginable capacity including sales agent, office manager, team leader, broker and now, broker/owner. Norm has written a weekly review of the Saskatoon real estate market for more than 750 consecutive weeks which may make him the most consistent industry blogger in the world.Less...

Licensed in 1993, Norm brings a wealth of experience to TeamFisher. He has worked in every imaginable capacity including sales agent, office manager, team leader, broker and now, broker/owner. Norm has written a weekly review of the Saskatoon real estate market for more than 750 consecutive weeks which may make him the most consistent industry blogger in the world.

Norm is known for his passion for technology and can most often be found exploring and experimenting with the next big thing in real estate marketing. He was the first Saskatoon real estate agent to promote a home online and has been an early adopter of new technologies ever since. “Everything about this business has changed over the past 20 years, and it will happen again in the next ten. An open mind and a curious attitude are all that’s needed to continue to find new ways to serve our clients by delivering a faster, smoother, worry-free transaction,” says Norm.

In his spare time, Norm enjoys Crossfit and cycling, some years accumulating over 2,000 kilometres on the road. He’s a strong supporter of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation and enjoys raising funds by joining fun, fitness-related initiatives like the Grouse Grind for Shelter. In 2015, he trekked the Peruvian Andes to Machu Picchu. In 2017 he walked the southern highlands of Iceland across mountains, sand, snow, ice, lava fields and forest for seven days. Collectively those initiatives raised over a million dollars for Canadian women's shelters.

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