Choosing Your Real Estate Agent!
Six guidelines for choosing the right real estate agent:
1. Choose a professional REALTOR? – a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS and is bound by their guidelines and ethics.
2. Years of experience in the local market
3. One who prices your home realistically based on market conditions (with supportive documentation)
4. One with a dynamic marketing strategy encompassing the new social media techniques, Internet advertising, open houses, if allowed, and mail-outs
5. Referrals from friends are a good source. People don’t usually refer someone unless they’ve had a great experience with them. You are far more likely to hear about a bad experience!
6. Someone you feel comfortable working with. Remember, selling your house is a team effort. Neither you nor your agent can do it alone, it takes both of you doing your “jobs” to get you top dollar for your home in the shortest time.
So you’ve decided to sell your home and it’s time to choose your agent. Being a savvy seller, you schedule appointments with three or four local agents chosen from friend’s referrals or from mailings you’ve received.. Each agent comes prepared with a Competitive Market Analysis and they each recommend a specific sales price.
One agent has a price in line with what you think your house is worth, but the others have come up with sales prices lower than you expected. Although “the others” back up their recommendations with recent sales data of similar homes, you remain convinced your house is worth more. You suspect they are looking for a “quick sale.” If you are like most people, you pick the agent who quoted you the highest price. This is an agent who seems willing to listen to your input and work with you. This is an agent that cares about putting the most money in your pocket. This is an agent that is willing to start out at your price and if you need to drop the price later, you can do that easily, right? After all, everyone else does it!
The truth is that you just chose an agent who “bought” your listing. He “bought” the listing by suggesting you might be able to get a higher sales price than what the market warrants. Most likely, he is quite doubtful that your home will actually sell at that price. The intention from the beginning is to eventually talk you into lowering the price. And if you start out with too high a price on your home, you may have just added to your stress level, and selling a home is stressful enough. And there will be a lot of “behind the scenes” action taking place that you don’t know about.
If you have overpriced your home, fewer agents will preview your home. After all, they are professionals, and it is their job to know local market conditions and home values. If your house is dramatically above market, why waste time? Their time is better spent previewing homes that are priced realistically. Later, when you drop your price, your house is “old news.” You will never be able to recapture that flurry of initial activity you would have had with a realistic price. Even if you do successfully sell at an above market price, your buyer will need a mortgage. The mortgage lender requires an appraisal. If comparable sales for the last six months and current market conditions do not support your sales price, the house won?t appraise and your deal falls apart.
Once your home sits on the market awhile, it is harder to get a good offer. Potential buyers will think you might be getting desperate, so they will make lower offers. By over-pricing your home in the beginning, you could actually end up settling for a lower price than you would have normally received.
Plus, remember those two conscientious agents who got aced out of the listing? If your listing agent routinely engages in “buying” listings, he has probably aced out scores of other agents in the same way. Being human, agents talk to each other. If they don’t like your choice of listing agent, not as many of them will be showing your home.
In short, you may have ended up with an agent who was good at selling you, but not good at selling your house. And you’re going to pay them a commission for it. It is human nature for you to want the highest price for your home. However, when you choose the agent who promises what you want to hear, it often leads to stress and frustration. Most of the time, it will take you longer to sell your home and you will end up selling for a lower price.