Vail Daily column: Does your listing have a ‘fatal flaw’? |

Vail Daily column: Does your listing have a ‘fatal flaw’?

Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

My house is listed for sale with a real estate agent/friend of mine, and I am becoming disappointed in the lack of activity from buyers. This agent has my property in the paper and has done several open houses, but there have not been any offers yet. I don’t know what I should do since this person is a friend. This situation is becoming very uncomfortable for me. What do you suggest?

Dear Seller,

You definitely need to have a talk with your friend/agent as soon as possible. Retaining your friendship should be the most important factor to keep in mind. If you think your friend is not doing a good job, then ask for a frank discussion of what marketing they are doing and how they feel about the progress or lack of progress with the sale. If you don’t feel any better about the situation after this conversation, then ask your agent if they would give you a recommendation for another agent, so as not to strain your friendship. Bear in mind that you may hear some frank message(s) that your friend/agent was too polite to tell you when they first took the listing. There is a chance it may be your property and not the agent. So, if your agent is doing an excellent job of marketing on the Internet as well as local networking, along with the marketing you spoke of, then maybe you should check to see if your property has one or more of the three “fatal flaws” that will keep a property from selling.

Possible ‘flaws’

The possible “flaws” that your agent might now bring up are as follows:

• The property is priced well above today’s market pricing.

• The home has an unpleasant odor such as cigarette smoke, pet odor, etc.

• The property is messy and/or dirty.

These three factors make it very difficult to sell in today’s market. A lot of sellers think it is smart to start high with the asking price as “you can always come down.” Actually, in today’s market, buyers won’t even look, let alone make an offer if the property is significantly above market value. Check your pricing with a comparative market analysis from your agent.

As far as an odor goes, that can be very challenging to rectify, but well worth the effort. If the smell is unpleasant to the majority of buyers, then the only solutions are to fix the odor issue or sell for well below market value.

Easy fix

Lastly, it is good news if your agent recommends cleaning and staging. If this is the case, let the agent help you find professional help and do this right away. This is an easy fix and can make a huge difference in how long it takes to sell your home and the ability to get the highest price possible.

Be sure to take action soon; waiting is not going to help in your situation. Best of luck to you in keeping a friend and getting your sale accomplished!

Joan Harned is an owner-broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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