I regularly hear stories of people who regret their decision when selecting their agent to list their home for sale.
Here are two of the most common categories I run into.
1) They picked the agent who offered a discount or flat fee and were told they would get the same full service as other agents in the area, to only find later that was not what they got.
2) They went with the agent who offered to list their home at a higher price.
I was speaking to a home seller after they fired their agent who gave what they called “full service” at a flat fee. This was their idea of full service:
· They gave the homeowner a sign to put in their yard.
· The homeowner did their own open houses, no agent present.
· All showing requests were made directly to the seller.
· The real estate agent performed no negotiating or explaining of offers. The buyers were to send all offers to the seller directly.
· At closing no real estate agent was present to explain documents or to review the HUD-1 settlement statement.
From her story, the best I could determine that the listing agent did was:
· Loan her a sign.
· Run a couple of ads in the newspaper
· Place her home in the MLS system and their company website
· Collect a fee, if sold. I have heard other companies charge a fee whether it sells or not.
So how much did she save? In this case nothing. She lost a lot of time and carrying costs, while she was unsuccessful selling her home. In the best case scenario she would have saved some money, but nothing close to advertised.
1) She still would have paid the buyer’s agent, so the only savings would be for the seller’s agent, which was not that much.
2) She would have had to pay a professional to explain all contracts to her.
3) She had no experience selling a home, so would have been at an extreme disadvantage against a professional buyer’s agent in any negotiation or the managing of the transaction.
In the second scenario, what I call buying the listing. The homeowner went with the agent who agreed to list their home for the highest price. This happens regularly. Weak or inexperienced agents offer to list the home for more than market value, to get the listing. Once they have the listing they use it to meet potential buyers. After a period of time they try to get the seller to lower the price, in many cases even lower than the top agents in the area would have sold it for. Again as in the first scenario, the homeowner comes up short.
In both cases the seller may come out ahead if the stars line up. In both case it rarely happens. In both cases, the seller is more likely to have complications or failure. If they do sell, they are more likely to take longer and get less for their home.
During these times of changing markets and tough economy, it is critical for homeowners to get the best Realtor® they can find to protect their interests.
When finding a good listing agent, look for the following:
1) That they are a member of your local Board of Realtors®
2) A track record in your neighborhood. If they are a good agent in another town, does not mean they know your town.
3) That they are full time and full service. Nothing worse than a part time agent who:
a. Is not available to take calls from potential buyers or agents and not available to show your home.
b. Do not handle enough transactions annually to be able to professionally manage your transaction and know the laws and rules.
c. Do not have a working relationship with the top Realtors® in the area.
4) They have designations, higher licenses.
a. Have learned the business and have credentials to prove it. Look for the CRS designation. The average CRS agent is in the top 3 or 4% in the industry. Look for other designations and a broker’s license. All indicators they have spent the time and money to advance their training and career. In other words are they a professional?
5) Look for industry awards. The top producers and those with the best reputations will have awards from the industry.
6) Check their marketing. You will be hiring them to market your home. See how well they market themselves and the other homes they are selling.
7) Interview them. Look for someone who is looking out for your interest and has made it clear that that know your property, your needs and the market.
Stayed tuned for finding a great property manager.