I know what most of you are thinking already. Here we go time to have the “salespeople” over and listen to all the blah, blah, blah. Trust me I’m right there with you in most cases. Before I entered real estate as a career, I owned an auto repair shop. I plowed snow and even dabbled in construction with a home builder friend of mine for over a decade. So “salespeople” trying to convince me of doing something were typically the last people I wanted to deal with. I know that’s a very bad stereotype but it was the way I felt.
I’m not going to lie. I would hope you contact me to help with your real estate needs, I really do. I have learned over the years with being self employed, selling and buying real estate myself that not all Realtors are the same. In fact, in my opinion it could not be truer of the differences I have seen especially seeing it from the inside out. I think part of the problem is its way too easy to get a real estate license. This attracts many people who unfortunately don’t take it seriously and it really shows. Please take the 10 steps below and consider your choices out there. It’s your equity, and it’s your choice. Realtors are “not” the same.
1: Find A Realtor To Interview:
For this step I suggest you consider a few things on who to invite over:
- Call, text or e-mail an agent and see how long it takes them to respond. This will indicate what you can expect in the future and how they will be in communicating with you
- The web is one of the most crucial tools Realtors should be using — find a Realtor who has presence on the web with a good quality & useful web site
- Recommendations from friends and or family
- Who have you seen around your area?
2: Invite A Realtor Over To Interview:
Don’t forget this is a business “relationship” so you will be in contact with this person for several months. Now you don’t need to be BFF’s. However, you should be on the same common ground as to your goals and feel comfortable on a communication level. Most sellers call and just want Realtor price opinions which are fine but the price can’t differ from one agent to another. The home is valued off comparable active and sold properties in the area. Not what the Realtor decides it should be. The market has already priced it. I would print these questions out and ask the Realtor at interview time. And yes, agents should be interviewed.
- How long have you been in the business? (today’s market calls for experience)
- How many homes have you sold in my area? (shows you what they know about your areas marketplace)
- Are you full or part time? (I would not suggest a part time agent or you will get part time service)
- How will you communicate with me? (consistent feedback and communication are essential)
- How do you market on the web besides the MLS? (the MLS is great but a good agent in this day should have an extensive web presence from social networks, web sites)
- How many listings do you have right now? A Realtor who has one for example may have the lack of experience and exposure possibilities you need however on the other end a Realtor who has 125 may be way too busy to service your listing correctly. You want a busy successful realtor who still has the proper amount of time to dedicate to you and your property.
- Why should I hire you over the others? This is a great question, just let him or her answer it. Are they taken back by the questions and don’t know how to reply? If they can’t sell themselves how on earth will they negotiate to sell your house?
Of course you may have some very specific questions about selling that apply to your situation but consider these the staples.
3: Can You Provide Me A Net Sheet?
There is more to selling a house than just “commission” so make sure you have the Realtor run a net sheet disclosing all fees you will be required to pay including any city/state or county inspections that may need to be completed to sell.
4: Who Negotiates Your Sales?
Seems like a dumb question I know, however some agents out there actually do not negotiate their own offers especially when it comes to short sales. You are hiring the agent in front of you so its only fair to know if that’s really the person who is handling your negotiations so make sure to ask. Personally I handle all of my own and feel that’s the best way to do it.
5: What Is Your Average Sale Price VS. List Price?:
If an agent prices a home at lets say $299,900 how much on average does his or her sellers get once the offers are negotiated, 89% of that, 95% or? This tells a lot. If an agent replies he does not know that shows he or she does not really treat real estate like a business because if they did they would know. If they say its 85% and the areas average is 96% then that tells you they are more than 10% less then the market and must not be very good at either marketing or negotiations or a combination of both. A good Realtor should be similar or better then the areas average.
6: Can You Help Set Up Closings, Title, Inspections & Mortgage Help?:
Lets face it, anyone can attend some classes, take a test and get a real estate license. You want to make sure the Realtor you hire to sell your property has the connections that it takes to not only get the job done but get it done right.
7: Do You Work With A Team Or On Your Own?
I will say right off the bat that there are many great agents out there who work solo. However there’s no doubt you will get better service if you’re hiring a team like DMG. In today’s fast paced market the support of a team is crucial.
8: How Much Experience Do You Have With Short Sales?
If you’re not looking to short sale your home you may be OK skipping this section. However, if you’re upside down in your mortgage and need to sell using a short sale this Step 8 is a must for you.
A short sale is nothing like selling a regular home, it involves not only much more work but negotiating with banks on your behalf to reduce or eliminate the mortgage debt all together. I can not stress enough to you not to hire an agent who has little to no experience in short sales. Or one who just hands the file off to a 3rd party to negotiate which many agents now do. Why you ask? Because it makes their job easier as they don’t have to do anything.
You need an agent who knows on a day to day basis what the status of that short sale is, where the negotiations are and how to communicate with the banks. I personally do all my own short sales and would not have it any other way. As a result, it’s better for our client and keeps the control on our side rather than some 3rd party company located who knows where.
9: Price Is NOT King:
What I meant in the headline is it’s not king when a Realtor is simply trying to buy your listing. For example, many Realtors will simply tell you what you want to hear on price so they can lock you up in a contract and pound a sign in the front yard. This method goes back to my opening paragraph at the top where I said not all Realtors are the same. Yes, I wish I could always tell sellers what they want to hear, but it’s not really why you are having us over. You are having Realtors over to give their honest thoughts based off what the current market is saying. Make sure they have comps with them to back the price they are suggesting.
10: The Agreement And Listing Time:
Make sure you get a copy of all the papers you sign. The listing times and commission will be spelled out clearly in the contract.