In our business, we are always interacting with real estate salespersons (agents) and brokers. Yes, there is a difference. But we’ll save that for another blog.
The role of an agent, for buyers and sellers, is critical. Like all industries there are people and businesses who are well run and have a long-term view on their customer and partner relationships. Then there are those that…well, don’t share that view. This latter group has created something of a dark cloud over the role of an agent. And it’s unfortunate. Having been a buyer and seller both professionally and personally – I can tell you that the process is 10x harder without a strong, professional and diligent agent/brokerage. And 10x harder with a bad agent/brokerage.
Before you buy or sell a home, due your diligence.
- Interview agents. Don’t just go with “my friend’s friend knows an agent who is great”. Or, a family member. Personally, bringing a family member into the process only gets awkward, but that’s each person’s decision. Just remember, your agent needs to be able to have a professional and candid discussion with you. Do you want that to be with someone who’s a friend of a friend or a close relative? Or do you want it to be with someone that you met with and interviewed. And then heard their plan for helping you meet your goal?
- Sign a limited period for selling representation. It is standard to have a 90 day agreement. That’s is more than fair for both you and the agent. Only sign for longer if you have circumstances or issues that you and your agent discuss. But if an agent wants a longer listing agreement period – and there’s no reason as to why – you should ask questions. Do they have market concerns? Price concerns? What’s their plan to market your house? Just rely on the MLS and buyers running a search?
- Get a marketing plan. Any good brokerage and agent is going to come armed to the teeth with a plan to market your home. It’s simple. The faster it sells, the faster the commission is earned. Nothing wrong with that. But an agent that shows up half-ready…well, you might only get half-effort. A home that has relatively recent (or very recent) updates, in a good market and priced intelligently won’t sit. But you need a sound marketing plan to drive activity to get the best outcome.
- Be actively involved in working with your agent. Selling a home isn’t a one-sided discussion. Yes, an agent is responsible for helping to build buyer interest and bring those buyers through, but as the Seller – you have to work with them. If they tell you the house needs to be cleaned – clean it. If they suggest it’s better for Fido to stay at doggy day camp for the day – book it. It’s a partnership. Like any successful venture, the highest rewards are achieved when people work together and have a sound plan.
Okay, but what if all that was done and the house still isn’t selling? Well, first thing that has to be asked is – “is the price right for the house, location, condition and buyer expectations?” Sometimes, even with the best of plans and efforts and house simply doesn’t sell fast. In that case, start to consider your options (if you’re pressed to sell). You may need to take it off market, cancel your listing agreement and sell it directly to an investor.
If you want to understand more about that last option – give us a call. We’re here to help. Even if it’s just to shed some light on your options.