Choose Your REALTOR With Extreme Care
No other single factor will have a greater impact on the successful sale of your home as your choice of a REALTOR. The right agent can make the process seem smooth and hassle-freeeven if it isnt. The wrong choice, on the other hand, could result in no end of hassles, frustration, delays and disappointment. Sodont take this decision lightly!
Heres the shocking fact: In todays competitive real estate market, less than 60% of homes listed for sale actually sell. In other words, at any given time, there are typically far more homes available than there are qualified buyers. If you want to sell your home quickly, and at a respectable price, you need an agent who will work the market, not just list the property and hope it sells itself. You may opt to sell your home yourself. If you have the time and patience to do so, the information in this report will be prove invaluable. However, an agent brings several important assets to the table. Here are a few of them:
- Knowledge of the market which helps determine pricing and negotiate the sale.
- Contacts with qualified buyers rather than tire-kickers. Often future buyers will shop the For Sale By Owner properties to familiarize themselves with the market several months before theyre ready to buy. You could easily find yourself spending a lot of time showing your home to unqualified prospects. Before even showing your home, an agent will qualify the prospective buyer by finding out how much he or she can afford to spend, whether he or she has qualified or can qualify for financing, and how quickly he or she is able to move, among other things.
- Marketing clout. Because the agent is in the game every day, he or she has the contacts, connections and exposure to attract prospective buyers for you.
Here are some things to look for in selecting a REALTOR:
- Reputation. Ask around. Do your homework. An agency doesnt have to be large to be effective. But it does need to have a track record of success.
- A proactive game plan to market your home.Too many REALTORS are stuck in the boom market mentality of the 70s and 80s, when an expanding inflationary market drove prices steadily upward and you had only to list your home and the rest took care of itself. Not any more. Todays housing market demands that the professional know how to reach your best prospects as soon as they start looking (if not before!), as well as the skills to turn lookers into buyers so your home gets SOLD!
- In-depth knowledge of your market area. Real Estate is a dynamic marketplace. Pricing, appeal and availability can vary dramatically within a single neighborhood or just across town. To be effective, an agent needs to be intimately acquainted with ALL the variables, including financing, state and local laws and ordinances governing real estate transactions, and other details to help you anticipate, avoid, and solve problems before they occur.
- A team thats in the game. Some people worry that if the brokerage is busy, they wont have time to give customers the attention they deserve. Well, who would you rather operate on youthe surgeon whos in demand, or the one whos sitting on his hands? Dont hire the part-time medical technician when you need delicate brain surgery.
- Someone you feel good about. That sounds pretty subjective, but its important that you trust your agent and have utmost confidence in his/her ability to perform.
12 killer questions to lock you in with the best real estate agent money can buy!
Its true. A great real estate agent or broker will love hearing these questions. But the one who hesitates and looks uncomfortable or unprepared is not for you.
- How many homes have you sold in your career? In the last 5 years? In the last 12 months?
- It doesnt help if your agent is someone who just gathers listings and does nothing else for you. You want a REALTOR with a track record of actually selling houses, and who has been able to sell houses recently in the current market climate.
- May I have the names and phone numbers of three clients whose homes youve sold in the last 6 months?
- If the agent refuses, or claims that its confidential information, you may be dealing with an agent who has no satisfied clients. However, a good agent will be happy to give you references. Try to contact a few of these clients and see if their experiences match your situation.
- Will you give me the name and phone number of at least one client whose home you failed to sell in the last 6 months?
- Few agents have 100% success rate. Whether or not you actually follow up and call this client, you can use this question to judge your agents honesty, and use it as a springboard to discuss his or her strengths and weaknesses.
- What will you do to market my home beyond the conventional Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and newspaper advertising?
- Its important to find a REALTOR who will use a marketing strategy to sell your home, which may be different from a strategy needed to sell your neighbors home. There are many marketing tools available, and your REALTOR should be familiar with all of them.
- Do you do direct response advertising (ads that use powerful headlines, compelling copy, an offer, and a call to action that generates response) in addition to image advertising?
- Direct response is the most powerful type of advertising. Its designed to get people to pick up the phone and callimmediately. Thats what sells houses. If your REALTOR just places image ads that are designed only to increase awareness of the REALTORs company or office, he or she may have good name recognition without actually getting responses from the ads. Look for the agent who uses a sensible, balanced combination of both.
- If I dont like your performance may I cancel our listing agreement at any time with no strings attached?
- The best agents will allow you to cancel a listing if you are not happy with their service. However, be prepared to explain the reason for your displeasure, and give the REALTOR an opportunity to make it right. Remember that the REALTOR does a lot for you behind the scenes that you never see.
- Whats your guarantee?
- Some REALTORS will offer to buy your house for the listed price if they fail to sell it in a given time frame. Whatever they offer, make sure its spelled out in the listing agreement so you have it in writing.
- What incentives do you offer other brokers to get them committed to selling my home?
- Other brokers may know of buyers that your REALTOR doesnt know about. The more people you get working for you, the quicker your home will sell. Find out how your prospective REALTOR exposes your home to other brokers to get them on your side.
- Is your office fully automated with a mobile phone or pager, voice mail, e-mail and fax so we can stay in constant touch? Are you committed to being available?
- Its crucial for your REALTOR to be available, especially during the offer-counteroffer process and the week before closing. Nothing is more frustrating than having a vital question you need answered now, and not being able to reach your agent. Your agent should respond quickly to your calls, and keep you informed on a regular basis throughout the selling process. Agents with teams of full-time staff dedicated to seller needs are far more capable of maintaining constant lines of communication.
- Do you telemarket to reach homeowners in my area who may know someone who would like to live in my neighborhood?
- Word of mouth is a great marketing tool. You may be able to sell your home quickly if your REALTOR finds out that one of your neighbors has a friend or relative who would like to live nearby.
- How much time will you spend prospecting for buyers for my home? How will you do it?
- You want a REALTOR who will be proactive and really work to earn the commission. Just placing ads isnt enough. In addition, you want to make sure that your REALTOR prequalifies buyers before showing your house so you dont waste time dealing with offers that cant be met.
- Can you give me three good reasons why I should choose you over all the other reputable agencies in town?
- See which strengths the REALTOR discusses, and how he or she compares to what others say. Ultimately, you want a REALTOR who is right for your situation, and who can sell your house.