You have a basic knowledge of setting a listing price, online marketing, staging, and negotiation. Isn’t this enough to do the job yourself? Homeowners wonder if they could buy or sell a home through online or traditional marketing and advertising channels without a real estate agent.
Try this analogy. You were given a book on investment strategy for your birthday and read it. The stock market is at all-time highs, but there are political and business factors that roil the market. There are weeks of 300-point gains and 400-points losses.
The question: Are you ready to handle your own Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or stock market investing? Do you have the expertise necessary, and can you handle the emotional roller-coaster of seeing thousands of dollars of your money come and go?
In today’s realty market, the selling and purchasing of a residential property involves more than 100 people with different skills and expertise who participate in the transaction from start to finish. Whether it’s for a home inspection or a title search, it takes more than 20 steps to finalize the sale of your home.
For sellers, it can seem overwhelming to know how to anticipate and coordinate every step necessary to prepare your home to show, list, market and sell. An experienced real estate professional knowledgeable in all phases of real estate can make the process much easier. You do not need real estate expertise if you engage a professional who has it.
No matter how long you have lived in your home, a real estate professional in the local area will know considerably more about the sale price history and market trends than you do. Since real estate agents are paid a percentage of your selling price, it’s in their best interest to price it perfectly. They want to earn the highest commission possible, but they also want to earn a commission within a reasonable amount of selling time.
Real estate agents network with various contractors and professionals. They can advise on service providers’ reputation and provide references who have previously worked with providers.
Agents either possess intimate knowledge about your area or they have the contacts and resources to find the necessary information. They can identify comparable sales, in addition to pointing you in the direction where you can find more data on schools, crime, or demographics to provide potential buyers.
For example, you may know that a home down the street was on the market for $350,000, but a professional real estate agent will know the home had upgrades, and sold at $285,000 after 65 days on the market.
A real estate agent will also have market conditions data, which will affect your selling process. Many factors determine how you will proceed. Data such as the average per-square-foot cost of similar homes, median and average sales prices, average number of days in the market, and comparisons of list-to-sold prices will have a huge bearing on what you ultimately decide to do.
Attempting to sell your home without an agent requires a major effort, resources, and countless hours understanding and organizing all the work. Professional agents’ careers depend on their ethics and ability to build relationships with clients and the community they serve. Agents looking to make easy money rarely go to the effort of establishing a solid marketing plan or work at strategic pricing.
There are many ways to find a good broker. Personal recommendations from friends and colleagues are often helpful. If someone outside the real estate business recommends up a broker, you can be pretty sure you are on to a winner.
The best brokers – the top 10% – do 80% of all the business (remember the 80/20 rule?). Avoid getting stuck with a lemon. You want someone with enthusiasm and drive – someone who will give you adequate attention you need and guide you through the whole process with both courtesy and professionalism. Take the time to interview real estate agents in your area.
Here are some traits to look for when hiring agents.
Is he or she…
- Current? Is the agent up-to-date with the latest housing trends so he/she can serve you effectively?
- Connected? Does the agent have the necessary contacts who can assist in every phase of selling your home? A network of connections include home inspectors, quality service people, other brokers, and county officials.
- Knowledgeable? Is the agent familiar with the current market and able to price your home strategically? Does he/she know what is unique about your neighbirhood to distinguish your home from the competition? Does he/she know what to highlight in your area to attract buyers?
- Organized? An agent must pay close attention to your specific needs, communicate well, and be quick to follow leads.
- Personable? Agents who are sincerely interested in helping you will “go the extra mile with a smile.” They must be able to sell themselves to you as well as sell your home to a buyer.
- Passionate? Some agent treat their job like a hobby or just a way to earn extra income. Find an agent who is passionate about real estate and loves the job.
- Tenacious? Successful agents possess a strong work ethic. They are efficient and take advantage of time-saving tools that help sell your home.
- Honest? Professional real estate agent build their reputation on high standards of business practices.
- Self-motivated? Real estate agents are commission-only businesspeople. Successful agents work hard because if it benefits their clients, it benefits them.
- Creative? Sometimes it takes creativity to properly showcase a home, develop engaging content, and negotiate a sale. An agent who can quickly address any marketing need is an asset to you.
- Tech-savvy? Agents well versed in the latest technology for marketing homes should have a website, social media setup, user-friendly home search options, and quality presentations online with high-resolution images of homes, videos and slideshows. Some real estate agencies have smartphone applications.
A professional real estate agent wears many hats. He or she must be proficient in marketing, negotiating, consultation, legalities, property taxes, and, most of all, gaining the trust of clients. An agent who will meet your specific needs is certainly worth the commission he/she will earn.
Excerpted from my book “Selling Secrets – You Can’t Afford to Miss”
Ricardo Parente, Realtor®
Coldwell Banker Realty | Winter Park, FL