By now pretty much everybody in the real estate market has read or at least heard that the market is changing. For sellers that will mean that their houses need to be priced more competitively and – at least equally important- need to be impeccably marketed. No more “it will sell tomorrow with 10 offers regardless of poor pictures and shoddy marketing”.
Every seller should interview a few agents and compare their services. As usual it is often “you get what you pay for”. If you are looking to find the cheapest agent you might just end up having your house sit on the market for the duration of the listing without being sold. At the end you will have spent more than the money you thought you would save by paying property tax, utilities, maintenance and maybe mortgage interest for the duration of the listing. That money will never come back to you. In the meantime the listing has grown stale and buyers are starting every inquiry with “I wonder what it is wrong with it…”.
So what can you expect from a broker you entrust the sale of your biggest asset with?
Your broker needs to have deep knowledge of the market overall, your neighborhood, recent sales around your house, how those compare to yours, the development of the market in the last 6 months and how to assemble a quality market analysis, showing you not only what has sold but also what is in sale pending, how fast it got there and what your current competition is. Your broker needs to have competent answers to your questions and be prepared to solve any problem arising. You should be able to trust your broker and should adhere to competent advice. Listen to their pricing advice carefully and don’t think you know it better because you looked at Zestimates. If you overprice against your broker’s advice you will not sell, at least not within a reasonable amount of time and at the end most likely for less than what you were advised to price at to begin with.
Punctuality, Organization, Proactive Engagement and more are a good sign your broker is actually interested in you and your listing. A well prepared, ready to go plan, that can be implemented fast will give your listing the steam it needs to appear on the market, generate a lot of interest and be in contract fast, preferably with multiple offers and once in contract with a viable back up. Putting up a sign, entering some data on MLs and leaning back, waiting for results will not cut it.
3: Professional Services
I know I am a good broker but a lousy photographer. Why would I not engage somebody who is a pro in their field and will handle the job significantly better, faster and more efficient than I could ever do myself? Professional photography and staging should be a staple in every good broker’s arsenal. Staging helps a buyer envision themselves in the home, it adds warmth and color and gives the camera something to focus on. Average empty houses sit on the market longer! Inspecting a home before it is going on the market will help preventing a sale fail. You get the chance to repair, disclose and prepare.
If you are like me you severely dislike talking to voice mail. Your broker should pick up their phone and reply to text and email fast. Being available for you should be the highest priority. A quick text or a recording why your broker is not right away available helps!
5: Problem Solving
Nearly every sale hits a road block or two at one time during the transaction. Staying calm, knowing a way out, helping with a transition, knowing alternatives, and solving problems is a main task for a broker. Experience and flexibility are required to find the best way forward. Not involving their own ego helps a lot. A drama free transaction, geared solely towards the common goal is ideal.
6: Follow up
For me, a sale closing is not the end of it. Developing a relationship with a client means to be there anytime forever after the closing for any kind of support I can give. So if you need something after the closing and you can never reach your broker, that is an issue.
In summary: ask questions, compare, do not settle for second best, do not try to get the cheapest and have expectations!