How to Choose a Realtor to Sell Your Home
It’s December. This is the time many sellers start to think about listing their home for sale in the next year. This is also the time a lot of agents begin to consider whether to stay in the business.
Are you surprised? Don’t be. In 2016 there were 5,250,000 sales of existing homes, another 510,000 sales of new construction homes, and about 2,000,000 real estate licensees. (Source) That averages to 2.88 sales per licensee. It’s hard to stay in business with less than three sales when it comes time to pay MLS dues, state dues, licensee fees, continuing education tuition, Errors & Omission insurance premiums, advertising expenses, automobile-related expenses, brokerage fees, state and federal income taxes, health insurance….. And that doesn’t count one’s mortgage, loans for auto or education, food, etc.
Many people believe that all real estate agents are the same. These folks are quick to demand commission reductions while assuming that the agent they’re interviewing can afford to advertise their house. Thankfully for these sellers, they never end up paying a commission! Unfortunately, it’s because their home never sells since their agent has no money to advertise their property.
How can you, a home seller, choose an agent who is far better than this (horrible) average? Consider the following ideas. No one item should disqualify any agent, but a number of problem areas should be a warning sign.
- Ask for a list of the potential agent’s prior sales. What type of homes have they sold? How many days on market? Where do they commonly sell? (Remember that no one area should be an automatic red flag. A small number of properties with high days on market, especially vacant land, should not automatically disqualify any agent. Consider too whether a seller may have grossly overpriced the property. After all, the best agent in the world cannot successfully sell a property above what any market is willing to pay.)
- Every agent can give you raw data. Can your agent analyze and interpret the data? Can they make it into useful knowledge that benefits you and your situation? Can they develop a plan based upon your property and market realities?
- How connected is the agent? Do they have a list of qualified repair contractors who do quality work at reasonable prices? Do they know enough buyer agents to directly market your house?
- Use the Internet, but never rely totally upon it. Consumers frequently fall for Trulia and Zillow’s slick advertising. They rely upon these sites without considering their accuracy. What do you think about agent ratings? Why do you trust them? Do you think your agent’s ratings are affected if they pay Trulia and Zillow for additional advertising? (How do you think those agents you see become “featured agents?” As a former Zillow-paying agent, I assure you that we do not get “featured” out of the kindness of their hearts! Here is something else to consider: the Redfin/WAV Group Study of 10/03/2012 found that Trulia and Zillow missed one of every five MLS listings! This study also discovered that 36% of all homes listed on these portals as “available” was no longer for sale, had already sold, etc. If you believe that their agent information is completely reliable, what gives you that confidence?)
- What is the agent’s marketing plan specifically custom-tailored for your property? Real estate should never be a one-size-fits-all affair!
- Is your agent telling you what you want to hear or what you need to hear? Plenty of real estate agents “buy listings.” Buying a listing is when an agent purposefully accepts a seller’s price, even though it is totally unrealistic. After (predictably) no market action, the agent beats the seller down to the price point that the agent wanted to see in the first place. Another issue is when an agent glosses over problems. Sellers need to know if carpeting is too worn, if there are pet odors, or if repairs must be made. Agents who do not provide honest feedback are doing a major disservice to their sellers, even if it makes their sellers feel better.
- How are showings scheduled? Does the agent insist on doing it themselves, or do they have a special service to take showing requests? (Hint: Instead of allowing the agent to become a bottleneck, insist on the showing service. This gives buyer agents easier access to set showings. Remember to make it easy for buyer agents to bring buyers to you!)
My name is Mike Kwiatkowski and I am a Broker Associate with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. I want to be your home seller! Please call or email; let’s talk about your wants, needs, and goals! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my direct cell phone number is 414-207-2938. I look forward to hearing from you!