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The above photo is from a recent newborn session of mine. It was my first since we moved to the Orlando area. The baby in the photograph was thirteen days old.

When we put our house on the market in January, we were completely overwhelmed with how to choose an agent and who to choose. In the end, we ended up listing our home with the agent that sold our house to us originally (but as the seller's agent, not ours, as we were moving up from the southern end of the Bay area). Our own realtor constantly complained about him and how 'lazy' he was — how she basically sold his house for him. But we didn't listen to that little nagging voice in the back of our heads, because up until this year, he had great results in our neighborhood. It seemed everyone listed with him. In the five years we lived in that house, he sold the house across the street three times. In 2005 he sold it the week he went on the market. He sold the house next door once, also the same week it went on the market. When he was with RE/MAX, he sold several others up and down our street since 2001. And researching his stats for 2006 after he created his own agency, he had the highest rankings in our county.

Well that was 2006 when houses sold themselves in "Florida, the land of the flippers" (and we're not talking the ones on dolphins and manatees) — when you had less than 48 hours to decide on a house or it was already sold. Now you have 48 days to make your decision and chances are you can still find it (and 500 of its closest friends) on the market...

Our current realtor has been unable to adapt to the current housing collapse. Rather than work harder, he just quit working. We have done all of our own marketing as he has not delivered on what he promised at all. We've made our own fliers to go on the real estate sign. Sent out postcards we designed at our own expense. Placed ads in the paper ourselves out of our own pockets. Put up a website about the house. Put our house on Craig's List. Catered our own open house (which his agency failed to get a single person to show up to, and the host showed up over 30 minutes late, I might add). This man actually asked my husband to quit calling every two weeks for updates on our house-sale progress. Not once have they checked the sign-in sheet on our dining room table and followed up with a showing realtor, unless it was by our request. Then yesterday, the absolute last straw...

We have been collecting information this week on other local realtors as our contract with our current realtor expires on June 1st (ironically, also the date of our anniversary - fighting for the right to fire him is the best present we could give each other). Without our even saying who he was, another local realtor gave us a tip last night on why he hasn't returned our voicemails all week long. He just up and left on a two week cruise with no notice to other agents or his clients. Because he owns his own agency, and recently let his secretary go, anyone that calls him goes straight to voicemail right now. And he's not checking or returning the messages that are left. (This particular agent was trying to show one of our realtor's homes, couldn't get in, and called him to get the code.) He just up and took off with no means of contact or no advance warning at one of the busiest times of year in the real estate game.

So basically if someone has trouble getting in our lockbox right now, tough — and if they can get in and theoretically wanted to place a bid, they wouldn't even hear back from our agent until he was through sunning himself on deck.

. It's no wonder the sound "" makes up the first half of his last name.

And now the reason for this post / rant (other than setting up a future bitchslap the likes that have never been seen on this blog when our contract with our current realtor ends)...

This week I found the site HomeGain. It works much in the same way "Lending Tree" works (if you're familiar with their commercials - "where lenders compete for your business"). Only in this case, it's real estate agents competing for your listing. You fill in all of the information about your home, type out a list of expectations for you realtor — and then the marketing strategies and personalized proposals start flooding in. The realtors are ranked, including client reviews and sales stats. (Thus far, I've received a dozen fifteen proposals in less than 24 hours.) You can weed out the realtors you don't want and then e-mail or phone the ones you'd like to talk to further. We're this close to settling on a new agent after a lengthy phone interview last night. We know what to look for this time. It's been a long, ulcer-inducing ordeal to get to this point. But for the first time in months I finally have a glimmer of hope again.

This site is perfect for those of you, who like me, hate people. Hate the phone. Would rather get all of your information together online first where no one can hear the wails of your two toddlers on acid in the background...

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a voodoo doll to work over in order to insure our current agent is on one of those rampant-Norovirus cruises.

Happy Mother's Day weekend!

posted on 05.11.2007 @ 9:52 AM :: mail a comment  
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Original images and works ©2001-2007 to Todd and Robyn
Orlando and Tampa area newborn and maternity photographer

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