Selecting Your Selling Team

The case for agents

I understand what motivates people to sell their homes themselves, and I can see how it may seem attractive.  Folks who go the FSBO route just seem to have a different way of thinking.

“Selling real estate isn’t rocket science”.

“So why should I give up thousands of dollars to someone who’s just going to unlock the door for the showings and shuffle some papers at the the closing?”

Let me show you why I believe you should use an agent.

A good agent follows all the steps to get you the best price

The marketplace sets the price for a house.  After all, what else could determine the true value of a home other than what a real buyer is willing and able to pay for it, and what a credible bank is willing to lend?  My experience has shown that it’s very difficult to get more than the market value for your home but all too easy to get a whole lot less.

The expertise and experience that your agent provides will help you do everything right to make sure you don’t leave any money on the table, including:

  • Help you set the proper listing price.
  • Staging your house inside and out – or arrange for an expert to do it to make it as appealing to buyers as possible.
  • List your house with the MLS, the source that buyers’ agents use to find properties for their clients.
  • Arrange open houses and caravans, as well as networking through office meetings to attract agents representing serious buyers.
  • Market your home through newspaper ads, online listings, and signage with a direct phone number and website address.
  • Coordinate showings and provide a lock box for security.
  • Provide a network of local, trustworthy tradespeople and professionals, such as plumbers, electricians, and carpenters, as well as a team of support staff who all have a different role in the sale of your home.
  • Review offers and determine which are truly the best – not always the highest – to make sure you don’t lose a buyer, take your home off the market, and go back to square one.

A good agent knows your neighbourhood

Dedicated agents know all the relevant information about their areas, including detailed data about recent sales (condition, improvement, how it was staged, etc) information about schools and businesses.

A good agent helps you navigate

What most sellers don’t consider is how important an agent can be in ensuring that your transaction doesn’t become a legal nightmare.  Sellers considering FSBO; if there is going to be a future get-together with the buyers, make sure it’s in the living room, not in the courtroom.  As much as I respect the FSBO entrepreneurial spirit, I know how risky it is to embark on a financial venture without extensive knowledge and experience.  From disclosures to financing, prepping to negotiations, I’ve learned through experience how complex modern real estate transactions have become.

People considering going FSBO need to understand that the biggest risk that they are taking is “not knowing what they don’t know”.  In this day and age, that’s a scary prospect indeed.  Even the smallest oversight can result in a lawsuit and a huge financial loss for sellers.

10 Questions to ask prospective agents

Yes…everyone and his mother is “in real estate” these days, so it can be a daunting task to find the right person to work with.  Sellers need to be true partners with their agents.  I’ve had the most success when sellers are educated about the process and work together with me to make the best deal happen.  So, how can you find a real estate agent who will work as hard for his or her clients as I?  Here are the strategies to help you narrow your search.

How many agents are in your office?
You don’t necessarily need an agent who is part of a large agency, but you do want to know that they network with other agents in the area.  Asking about support staff may seem like an insignificant question, but the answer can speak volumes about the agent’s professionalism.  Interested buyers must be able to speak to a real, live person when they call about a listing.  If there’s no receptionist, good agents will make sure that all calls are forwarded to their cell phones.

What’s your experience in the business?

Ideally, you’re looking for someone with experience in your area and who is clearly professional and dedicated.  Don’t necessarily go just by years of experience.  Newer agents may actually know the market well and understand the current laws, while veterans may be less dedicated and up-to-date.

How will you market my house?

You want an agent who understands that the more potential qualified buyers you attract, the better you’ll do.  Your agent should be up-to-date- with trending marketing tactics as well as still having a grip on old school techniques.  Ask to see sample promotional materials from other properties they have marketed to get a sense of their style.

What are some other comparable sales?

Good agents should know about all the recent sales and current listings in your area and ideally will have some comparable properties themselves.  They should mention that they provide a Comparative Market Analysis to give to you the seller.

Do you offer a staging service?

You want an agent who understands the importance of staging and will help you get your house ready to show.  Staging is intended to show your house in the best possible light and generate enthusiasm from other agents and serious buyers.  Your agent should schedule a walk-through and understand exactly how to accentuate the best features of your house, and to downplay its less appealing parts.

What is a good sale price for my home?

Homes should sell for pretty close to their listing price.  We don’t believe that listing price affect sale prices very much.  So a good agent should tell you that they expect your home to sell for pretty close to what it’s listed for.  If they start pitching the idea of sparking a bidding war, you should be wary.

What happens if you represent a buyer?

You want an agent who’s exclusively working for you, representing your interests as a seller.  Selling your house can have major financial and legal consequences, and your agent must appreciate that.  You also want to be sure that your agent’s office doesn’t offer any incentives to keep sales in house.  This arrangement obviously limits your pool of potential buyers and represents a significant potential conflict of interest.

What will the duration of the listing be?

A good agent should reference recent sales and the average days on market (DOM) for your area.  If you are priced correctly, have the property in good order, and do everything to make the property accessible, you should be able to receive an offer in the average DOM time.  If not, something is out of line.

What do I need to do to prepare for market?

Experienced agents will know exactly what to do, and what not to do, to get your house ready for sale.  We understand you need to live in your home but how you well it is all together different.  You have to think like a businessperson selling a commodity regardless of how personally attached you are to it.  Generally, your agent should suggest that as many repairs as possible are made, the house is spotlessly cleaned, and that it is properly staged for showing.  If they have not done so already, the agent should schedule a walk-through and work closely with you to make sure everything is done properly.

And the winner is….

Now that you’ve interviewed a few agents, its time to make a decision.  Ask yourself the following questions:
  1.  Is this person accessible?  There’s nothing more frustrating than having an agent go AWOL on you.  Make sure he or she returns calls, and emails if that’s preferable to you.

2.  Do you want this person representing you?  Where you comfortable with their appearance, style, temperament, and values?  Do they seem will respected by other agents?  Do think they are a good negotiator?

3.  Can you trust this person?  Will you be comfortable sharing personal information with them?  Are you confident that your interests will be protected and they will be honest with you?

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