Case Study: What did this Realtor do wrong to cost the seller $15,000?


Not all Realtors® are the same. Like all other professionals, Realtors have differences in their marketing and negotiation techniques. The realtor you hire should be able to maximize your profit and above all,  be stress-free. Here’s one case study that will help you spot the difference of two realtors selling the same type of property, both on the same building, same level, and just across each other’s hall. We like to educate our readers by using findings based on facts and we aim not just to compare with other realtors but to help you choose your realtor when you sell your house.

We all know that marketing and selling a property is no easy task. Think back on all of the open houses and online listings that you’ve visited in the past. What stood out to you? Sure, the neighborhood and school districts may have played a role in how you perceived the home. But, ultimately, you thought, “Can I picture myself living here?” crossed your mind multiple times. That’s how staging and professional photography would help sell the house. Staging creates the illusion of reality. When a buyer steps into an open house, they want to be able to picture their lives in that home. Without furniture and home decor, it’s difficult to relate to the open space. The same rule applies to your online listings, using professional photography, it will get more views and schedule of showings.

Take a look at these 2 identical units (#2205 & #2206) at a condo community in Emeryville. For easier reading, let’s call them Unit A (#2205) and Units B (#2206). They are located in the same building, on the same floor, just across the hall from one another. They both share the same square footage and layout and closed around the same time of year (just 12 days apart). In the end, Unit B was sold for $10,000 more than the above price and $15,000 more than the other realtor. In fact, Unit A even had a better view and boasts of natural lighting in comparison to Unit B. So, why did Unit A sell for so much less?

The Cal Agents team represented the seller for #2206 and was able to sell the home in just 13 days. The other local realtor sold #2205 in 45 days, and $29,000 less than the original price. Check out the table comparison below.


We’ve listed out all our observations and found out what the other realtor did wrong that cost the seller $15,000.

The Power of Staging

Staging a home makes it much more likely to sell. Look at these 2 photos, what did you feel seeing an empty living room image compared to the photo with furniture on the right side? When this unit went on the market, we staged it with gender-neutral tones in a modern-rustic setting that appeals to every buyer–man or woman, young or old, coupled or not. Spending that $2,000 on staging resulted in an additional $15,000 sale price to the home.

Mediocre VS Professional Real Estate Photography

After staging, the quality of photographers chosen by the listing agent is crucial in delivering the physical presentation to the buyer’s computer screen. Just like not all Realtors are the same, there is a huge quality difference in “professional photographers”.

On the left image, the “professional” photographer hired by Unit A’s Realtor did the following wrong.

  1. There is distracting variation in color temperature
  2. Vertical lines are not plumb
  3. Narrow field of view of the dining area shot makes the space look small.

On the right image, Unit B’s Realtor’s photographer did the following right.

  1. The photographer took the time to balance the outdoor light color cast.
  2. Vertical lines are plumb.
  3. The wide field of view of the dining area shot makes the space look more inviting and spacious.

The Cal Agents use higher quality marketing techniques and choose a truly professional real estate photographer for the photos to attract far more showings, which is the key to getting offers.

Showcase in the best way possible

“Always allow windows to bring in some natural light.” That’s lesson #1 in listing a home for sale. As the picture shows, Unit A’s realtor failed to highlight the ample of natural light the unit has by not showing a picture incorporating the balcony into the living room. Unit B’s balcony, however, is heavily shaded by trees, so the Cal Agents purposely focused on the unit’s interiors only. We steer the buyers to focus on the best side of the unit, not its shortcomings. 

We put our hearts into every listing!

Every team member at The Cal Agents put their hearts into every single listing. We are a team of dedicated Realtors and Marketers ready to assist you with your housing needs. Take Calvin, for example, who now lives on the East Coast. The Cal Agents orchestrated everything from the home preparation to the handing over of the keys. Just as he’d mentioned, it’s not always about the best “rate”, but the charisma and connection with a business associate. We truly care about the impact that we have in putting ease into the home buying or selling process.

“I shared with Nikki my goals and timeline, and she was able to strategize and execute a plan to meet my criteria. She managed and DIRECTED the entire process of repairs, upkeep and staging to prep my unit for Open Houses. I put my full trust in her ability to make my unit attractive, and she did so in a very cost-effective manner. She also went as far to help me sell some of my personal furniture, since I was not local”, – excerpt from Calvin’s review on Zillow.

There isn’t one single technique that works…

When it comes to home selling, there isn’t one single technique that works every single time. You need all of the above and we are here to help. We offer professional staging services, photography & videography, 3D WALKINTOUR, and we can even create a dedicated website so that you can sell your home quickly. At The Cal Agents, we do it all! If you are thinking of selling your home in 2020, see what we can do for you.

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