When I talk with home owners who have their homes up for sale, usually I ask them how they found their Realtor. Did they use the Realtor in the past, was the Realtor referred to them, is the Realtor their friend or family member? I’m shocked to hear that no, they didn’t use the Realtor in the past, no, the Realtor was not referred to them, no, the Realtor is not a friend or family member. They hired them simply because they saw their signs in their area so they figured they must sell a lot of homes in the area. I just cringe when I hear that.
I also find that most people do not even know what the difference is between the selling agent and the buying agent. So, lets start there. Get out pen and paper and get ready to take some notes. Are you familiar with the Consumer Notice? If not, its time to become familiar with it BEFORE you hire a Realtor and put your home up for sale. Here is a link to the Pennsylvania Real Estate Consumer Notice: http://www.dos.state.pa.us/bpoa/LIB/bpoa/20/10/recconsnotice.pdf. You need to familiarize yourself with a few terms such as: Seller Agency, Buyer Agency, Dual Agency and Designated Agency. Not knowing or understanding these terms could wind up costing you thousands of dollars.
Once you understand the duties of a selling agent, you are ready to start looking for the best Realtor who will meet your needs.
Just because you see a bunch of sale signs in your area with a particular Realtor’s name on it, does not mean that they will sell your home. In fact, now that you understand what a selling agent does, you now know that the selling agent DOES NOT sell your home. If you see a bunch of sale signs in your area, all that means is that those homes have NOT yet sold. What you should be looking for is Realtors who have actually SOLD homes in your area. How do you do this? Simple, by interviewing Realtors and asking them how many listings they have and for how long they have had them. Now, it is quite normal for a Realtor to have listings but red flags should go up if the Realtor has more than 7 listings in my professional opinion.
Think about it for one second. If a Realtor has say, 12 listings and those listings are homes that are listed for more than what your home is worth, you must ask yourself, how is the Realtor going to be able to give your listing all of the attention it needs when he/she is busy with 12 other listings but better yet, more expensive listings already. Who’s listing is the Realtor going to be working more on, your home that is listed for $150 or the listing that is $300? Sure, there are Realtors out there who will say that they have a great team that will be working on your listing but remember, you contacted this Realtor because you saw all of their sale signs in your area and you think they sell most of the homes in your area and here they are pushing you off on “their team”. That screams out that this Realtor does not have time for your home! Run for the hills. If there is a problem with your listing, who will be handling it for you, the Realtor or someone on the team? Who will be returning your phone calls or emails, the Realtor or someone on the team?
You need to find the Realtor who can give your home the attention it needs. A Realtor who is hungry. The Realtor who will be making all of the decisions regarding your home. You do not want to be dealing with someone who needs to call the Realtor to find out what to do next. Time is of the essence and sometimes there are time sensitive issues that need answers right away and can’t wait for one of the Realtor’s team members to find the Realtor and pin him/her down to explain what is going on. That time could be the difference between getting your home sold or losing a sale!
Next, not only do you need to find a Realtor who will be able to give you and your home the attention it needs, you will need to find the Realtor who will price your home realistically. There will be Realtors who tell you that they can get you exactly what you want. Run from those Realtors. Realtors who make promises or yes you to death or even say “trust me”, are usually the Realtors who you should stay away from. It’s been my experience that the Realtors who I have come in contact with who said “trust me” were the very ones who I should have ran for the hills from. They were the Realtors who would have sold their own mothers just to get a sale no matter if it was good, bad or ugly. I speak from experience. I recently had a client who said to me “just dont’ say trust me.” I told her that I couldn’t say that until my job was done the way I told her I was going to do it. Then and only then could I ask her to trust me. I first needed to earn her trust and respect! I am happy to say that I did that!
After you find the Realtor who will give you and your home the attention it needs and the Realtor who will be honest with you and price your home realistically you now need to find out what your Realtor will do TO GET YOUR HOME THE ATTENTION IT NEEDS TO GET THE WORD OUT. What you need are buyer agents. Now that you know that your Realtor is NOT going to be bringing buyers to view your home because if he/she did, he/she would then be a dual agent, (and keep in mind that your selling agent cannot just bring buyers to view your home without FIRST getting WRITTEN permission from both you and the buyer to become a dual agent! Do you know that most Realtors DO NOT GET WRITTEN PERMISSION from their clients before bringing buyers into their home to view it?) you need to attract buyer agents. Every buyer agent needs to know that your home is for sale so that they can tell their buyers. These are buyers who have actually hired a buyer agent to find them a home. These buyers are usually already qualified for a mortgage ( i say usually because there are those agents who still just run out to meet with buyers they never met before after receiving a phone call from them to show them a property without knowing anything about them or even if they can purchase a home), these are usually buyers who have been looking for homes with their buyer agent and are ready to buy. So, what is your selling agent going to do to attract buyer agents? You need to find out so make sure to ask “what will you do to attract buyer agents?” What will your selling agent do to attract buyers? You won’t know until you ask. So make sure to ask.
After you find the Realtor who will give you and your home the attention it needs, the Realtor who will list your home realistically and always be honest with you and the Realtor who will get the word out to buyer agents and buyers, you need to make sure your Realtor has a plan. You don’t want your home to become just another statistic by sitting, sitting and sitting on the market until next year and believe me, there are homes that have been on the market that long. What is your selling agent’s plan? Keep in mind that if your home goes up for sale and doesn’t get any showings within the first two weeks, something is wrong. Your selling agent may need to sit down with you with new comparables. Perhaps your area prices have changed and now your home is priced too high. THE FIRST TWO WEEKS ARE THE MOST CRITICAL IN SELLING YOUR HOME. What will your selling agent do to get feedback from the buyers who view your home? Feedback is very important. You need to know what those buyers thought about your home. Was it too cluttered, did it smell bad, do the rooms look smaller than the photos or did they feel the price was too high? Obviously you can’t do anything about the size of your room but the point is that you need to know what actual buyers are saying about your home.
In closing, the reason so many homes are sitting on the market is because Realtors are putting their own interests before that of their client. What good does any Realtor do for a client by setting them up for failure just to pick up another over priced listing?Nobody wins when Realtors put homes on the market at unrealistic prices. Realtors are supposed to be the expert NOT the home owner. What home owner doesn’t think their home is worth more than that of their neighbor? I do not know one single person who doesn’t think their home is worth more than everyone else’s. It takes a very strong, aggressive,professional, confident Realtor to walk away from an unrealistic seller and in the long run that Realtor is the Realtor you want to have on your side and who will get your home SOLD.