Kill the messenger that will fix the problem!

A study by the California Association of Realtors shows a decrease in the number of consumers who say they would use the same real estate agent again to 22 percent in 2009 from 79 percent in 2004. When asked why they would not retain their previous agent, 64 percent said their homes languished on the market and 51 percent were upset that their house fetched less than they had expected.

The study findings show that sellers with unrealistic expectations blame their agents when a transaction does not go as planned, but agents often are indeed at fault for failing to inform sellers about current market realities when it comes to pricing and financing. See my blog postings on this.

In the short term, agents can expect consumers to prefer working with individual agents, believing that a large brokerage cannot provide the personal response and service they so desire. Agents also need to drum up the courage to turn down overpriced listings that likely will not sell. See my blog postings on this issue.

Over the long term, Realtors must focus on skill, hard work, and the use of technology to provide personal service and deliver the information of most interest to clients. Moreover, agents should immediately respond to calls and e-mails, listen to their prospect’s wants and needs, and make good on their requests.

I have posted before that picking the right agent is just like picking the right doctor. In these turbulent times, a professional "bedside manner" is critical. And this survey demonstrates why professional pricing help is also so critical. You, the seller, are not in the business and have emotional ties that will cloud your ability to price the home to sell. The last 3 homes I have sold have only averaged 4 weeks on the market.

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