Boy Is It Hard to Find A Listing Agent/ Realtor in VA

This is part 1 of a new series on picking a Realtor to list your home in Virginia. Make sure you subscribe to the blog.

Wow, do I feel for you! It is REALLY hard to find a good Listing Agent/Realtor… anywhere (not just Virginia).

How do I know? Because I’m going through it right now! I’m helping my brother pick a Realtor to sell his house in Texas (yep not doing FSBO since I want him to net more).

Overcoming his hesitations are EXACTLY like customers here. It is HARD to cut through the BS. Here are some typical questions he had and my answers. (He was amazed that I had a blog post for everything. Also I apologize for jumping around.)

1) I taught him to not fall for the oldest trick in the Realtor book… the Buying a Listing Trick (recommend a high price to win the listing, just to drop later, which nets the client even less). He got that, so he warned the agents he was talking to that he wanted real pricing and he would NOT pick based on the highest price.

2) When he mentioned staging, one Realtor’s reply was Sure we can do that, or we can list, wait two weeks and then stage it. That might save you some money.(more…)

  • 9
  • March
  • 2009
Posted in Listing Advice., Staging | 19 Comments »

Don’t Buy Our Listings! Staging Required

Don’t Buy Our Listings!?
Because they are Too pretty. Too staged. Too well marketed.

Our listings NET sellers more (not buyers). Many agents will tell the sellers, “I can get you top dolla‘ “ (or they BUY a listing) and then turn around and tell buyers “this is a great ‘deal’!”

Well, you can’t have it both ways.
Is it a good deal for the seller or the (more…)

  • 5
  • August
  • 2008
Posted in Listing Advice., Staging | 18 Comments »

Dec vs. Jan. When to LIST Your Home.

Part 2 to my: Current Sellers “Wait Till Spring”? Yeah Right. Lose $10,000, which focuses on sellers that put their home on the market around September and whether they are better off trying to get a deal done in December, vs waiting until Spring to get a higher price. My data showed that they got $10,000 LOWER if they waited until Spring.

The question that I still have is:

If you have a home for sale that is “ready” (a fully staged Arlington Virginia Home), are you better off (more…)

  • 27
  • November
  • 2007
Posted in Listing Advice., Staging | 11 Comments »

THROW-UP listings. Do it “RIGHT,” Not “RIGHT NOW!”

Ever heard the phrase “Hurry up and wait”?

How about the bastard cousin: “If you hurry up, expect to wait.”? Not as catchy?

Anyhow, the fastest way to sell a house is to slooooooow doooooooown and do it right from the beginning. A rushed job will NET you less and take 3 times longer (more…)

  • 21
  • July
  • 2007
Posted in Don't Miss Best Of, Listing Advice., Staging | 42 Comments »

Bidding Wars? It’s The Staging Stupid!!

First of all, a shout out to Megan ( Realtor) for her most recent bidding war in Old Town Alexandria. Sold in 3 days, $13k over list. Photos at One key to her success… Staging! (see bottom for before & after photos)

So, a buddy of mine in Chicago wanted to sell his place and he wanted my help deciding the best route to get the highest net.

He, like almost every person (more…)

  • 1
  • May
  • 2007
Posted in Listing Advice., Staging | 38 Comments »

Excellence Comes Standard. Frankly Client Bill of Rights, From The Real Estate Gadfly

Gadfly,” 1) a person who upsets the status quo by stimulating innovation by proving an irritant. 2) any of various flies, like a horsefly, that bite or annoy livestock.


First JetBlue left customers on the runway for 10 hours. After this disaster they came out with a JetBlue Bill of Rights.

Then a class action lawsuit was brought against C0ldwell Banker (Article) for violating RESPA laws for steering clients to profit-sharing “partners.”

Before there is a further disastrous out lash from consumers against Realtors, we must adopt a new standard. All shadiness needs to be removed from the industry and excellence should come standard. will start in Virginia, DC, MD and I envision shortly other firms will subscribe to the “Frankly Client Bill of Rights” throughout the country. This is not trademarked, go ahead copy me. You’d be an idiot not to.

Who will join us? Who runs a real estate firm that is willing to follow our lead and offer a new elite level of service and disclosure?

While I’m honored to be the first to come out with this, I’m also embarrassed at the same time that this isn’t already the default. Consumers might read this and say “d’uh, seems obvious,” I agree! But why is it that not one real estate firm in America subscribe to this? YET!

Introducing the Frankly Client Bill of Rights:

#1 No ABA’s, Affiliated Business Arrangements

We make our money on the commission, we don’t need to make a few hundred bucks steering you. No “One Stop Shopping” filled with partners filling our pockets. (blog on ABAs)

#2 No Admin Fees

These $200-$400 junk fees were invented by large real estate firms for both the buy and sell side. No more having clients sign confusing disclosures unknowingly. We don’t charge them, never have. (blog on Admin Fees)

#3 No Dual Agency

Dual Agency is ILLEGAL in some states. I wonder why? Dual Agency is when there is only one Realtor between a buyer and seller. A Dual Agency Realtor can not help both sides. So legally they are not allowed to represent EITHER SIDE, and instead “represent the contract” only. That makes the agent a mere worthless paper pusher. We don’t do that. We will only represent our client, the buyer OR seller. In the case where a buyer comes without an agent, they will be an “unrepresented buyer” (like a FSBO) and will sign a disclosure saying who we w ork for. (new blog soon)

#4 No TELLING you what to pay

We won’t tell you what to pay for a place. Ever! We won’t even answer the “What if you were me” question, since… We aren’t you! It is your money, and your risk tolerance. Instead of telling you a price, we will go over a ton of data to consider and conclude with our “VEGAS ODDS SYSTEM” on what the other side MIGHT do and separate it into three categories: Accept, Counter or Walk. Ultimately you decide how aggressive you want to be. (No “selling” blog)

#5 No Home Warranty Insurance Kickbacks

Even though it is illegal to receive a commission for selling insurance (unless you are a licensed insurance dealer), the Home Warranty companies have figured out a way to give agents and firms an “admin fee” of $60 to sell their goods. Why bother? We won’t accept that commission as we feel that is illegal. Instead we will pass that “admin fee” to the buyer/seller. This might seem like a small amount, but the principle is what matters. Again we make our money on the commission, we don’t need to upsell you to make another $60.

#6 No Buyer Agent Bonuses/Bribes

We outline our compensation up front in our Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement (Don’t Sign Them Yet blog). If there is a bonus to the buyer agent, the buyer gets that in a form of a rebate on the HUD1. We can’t be bribed to push you into a particular listing. (blog on 10% agent bribes)

#7 30 Photos & Custom Domain Name Website Per Listing

It boggles my mind when a $900,000 listing posts 3 photos taken with a camera phone (see Sucky Agents) and then wonders why it didn’t sell for 200 days. And this is from a “Top 3” large company, not a “discounter.” They even allow agents to check a default button to allow the MLS to dispatch a high school photographer to take a free exterior shot. I call this the free drive-by shooting option.

Simple new requirement: Each listing must have at least 20 photos taken with a 22mm wide angle camera (like the v570) or from a professional photographer.

Each listing will also have their own domain name. No need to point prospects to “” just to get lost looking at another 10,000 homes. Instead prospects can go directly to the photos of the listing with their own domain like: 2001OdysseyUNIT

#8 Professional Staging

We won’t list a house unless we can make it look better than a model home. Why? It works. It gets you more money and the house sells faster. (See Bidding War blog). Just yesterday we got 3 offers in 3 days for $20k over what other Realtors said would be the seller’s top price (referrals available).

#9 You’re High Tech, We’re High Tech

How about 100% paperless transactions from start to close? No unnecessary “meeting to sign” papers or trips to Kinkos. We also use instant messaging, cell text messaging and of course email… from our phone. Prefer  paper? We can do that too.

Thank you for following as we recalibrate the real estate industry! Sign up via for updates or email this to a friend.

Are you a buyer or seller? Print this out, have your Realtor sign the Frankly Client Bill of Rights? (Tell me how it goes)

Are you a Realtor with another firm that can’t promise the above? Then switch or start your own, maybe I’ll even help you!

Thanks for all the comments, keep em coming. And if you like this blog, please pass it on! Oh and tell me if you find typos, I don’t like looking dumb.

Written by Frank Borges LLosa- The Real Estate Gadfly

Virginia Broker/ Owner Featured in BusinessWeek, CNBC, WSJ etc.

p.s. #10 As with JetBlue, we also promise not to leave you on the runway for 10 hours.

  • 6
  • March
  • 2007
Posted in Listing Advice., Shady Agent Tricks, Staging | 48 Comments »