So you’re ready to sell your house, you’re thinking about down-sizing, moving somewhere warmer, maybe even somewhere colder… although I don’t hear that one often, or maybe your family is growing out of your current house, you need more space, or whatever it is, the home you had was great but it’s time to adjust to your needs and find a new place.
Now it’s time to think, who’s going to help you on the selling side. When it comes to selling a house there are a few things to think about… Who’s going to be great at marketing my home? How can I get the most exposure for my house and get the best offer? Who is good at negotiating and who can help educate me each step of the way so I feel comfortable throughout the process?
Episode #2! Here we go! How to select an agent to sell your house.
Today I’m going to break down the areas that differ amongst agents and companies, and how to go about selecting an agent. So, in no order, I have five criteria to select your agent.
The first thing is you want to select someone that you trust and feel comfortable with. Selling a home can take anywhere from 30-days to a few years, so you want to select someone that’s easy to work with and you feel comfortable working with, someone you can trust who has your best interests in mind.
You want to select someone who’s honest, reputable, and someone who you feel comfortable with. Also, you want to select someone that works well with others. It’s not only you but someone that works well with local lenders, agents, title companies, and especially other agents.
You don’t want someone who is difficult to work with. Although to you they may seem easy to work with, if they are difficult to work with lenders and title partners, and other agents, if they don’t cooperate well, then that could negatively affect you in the long run.
Obviously you want someone you trust. The greater the trust between the parties in the transaction, the easier the process is. It’s two-sided, if the agent knows that you value and trust their opinions throughout, they’re going to be working hard for you to make things work. Likewise, you need to be able to rely on your agent’s advice and opinions and come to conclusions with their guidance.
Number two! Marketing plan and exposure. The second criteria to select an agent is what’s the marketing plan going to be? How is my house going to be exposed on the websites and in the marketplace? So, how does agent market the house?
These are all questions you can ask. How does the agent market the home? Is there a marketing plan or you flying by the seat of your pants to market my house? How does the real estate company assist in marketing? And by this I mean that there is really two parts to hiring a Realtor. One is you’re hiring the agent, which is the primary factor, but there is also the company behind that agent and they’re going to play a factor in the marketing and experience as well.
Does the agent have a professional photographer that they work with and do they have a professional write-up for the house?
Is the information on my home going to be complete and accurate? Does the agent take the time to document the home and really get to know what they are selling? And then finally, is there a plan and a process in place to market and get the right amount of exposure.
I know when I started in this industry, it was just me and when I got busy in an urgency filled business, when everything is urgent, the easiest thing to cut is marketing a home because that’s not necessarily urgent, but it is very important. So, that’s an important piece to consider too. Is there a plan and a process in place and realistically enough time to execute that?
Ok, number three! You want to hire a local and reputable company. You want to choose someone local who knows the agents and area, and has connections to the area, and who can show the house in a timely manner if someone wants to see it. You wouldn’t want someone coming 3-4 hours across the state to show you house because naturally there is going to be some resistance.
So, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the township. For example if you’re selling your house in Wausau, it doesn’t have to be a company in Wausau, but it could be Schofield, Weston or the surrounding areas. I would say within an hour of your home would be best.
Does the size of the company matter? It’s not a primary factor of choice but it can be significant. In general, larger companies may have larger marketing budgets and more staff and processes in place to best assist you throughout the process.
Number 4! This is pretty critical. The knowledge and experience the agent has. Obviously you want someone who knows what they’re doing, who’s been through the process and can guide you to the best result.
There’s thousands of situations that can come up throughout a home process and even today after going through 550 deals, some of the stuff that comes up is brand new, like it’s never came up before.
What I’ve learned and what’s really interesting is, if you’ve dealt with thousands of problems and you’ve figured out how to resolve those, when the problem comes up the second, third, fourth, fifth, maybe the hundredth time, that agent is going to know how to deal with it in a favorable way and time efficient manner.
So, that’s going to save you a lot of time and stress because they’ve been through that and they know how to best navigate that problem when it comes up. And every time there’s problems that come up.
Alright! The last factor is obviously the cost, the commission to sell your house. That is something you have to consider too. Selling your home is different than other jobs you hire out. The difference is when you sell your house, the price that the house sells for is not fixed. This is one of the things I don’t think people quite understand. There is certainly a difference between what your home would sell for to the consumer whether you sell the home on your own or select one agent over the other. There’s no way the home would sell for that same amount in those three scenarios. So, that’s what’s interesting!
So, you’re hiring someone to get the best return on the house and so with that if one agent charges less commission or less of a percentage than another, you really have to see what that’s costing you. Maybe you save that 1% in commission, but it may be costing you a marketing plan and professional feel that may cost you 5-6 showings on the home, which may cause there to be only one offer on a house versus two, and that could be thousands.
Also, the experience too. Not just monetary wise, but if you pay a little bit more for a better experience, that may be something you value as well. Here, I think the key is go for value!
Obviously you don’t want to pay a ridiculous amount to sell your house but you want a good value and a good experience, so it should be a reasonable amount to sell the house.
I would exercise caution around some of the online services that offer limited service listings and other online brokerages where you’re not actually dealing with a person. Just be cautious around that.
And finally, actually that was the fifth point. So there you go! Five criteria on how to select an agent to sell your house.
Now, I’m going to go into a couple pieces on how not to select an agent. The first thing on how not to select an agent is the agent that gives you the highest price. What’s normal is when an agent takes on listing a home, your home, the conversation of price is going to come up and most of the time they are going to prepare a market analysis. That will show you what other homes have sold for and where you should be price-wise.
If you talk to a couple agents and they give you different prices, which would be ok because there is some different interpretation on pricing. One of the pitfalls that comes up a lot is the agent that gives the highest price, or conveys they can sell it for the most, gets the job and gets the listing.
It’s problematic though because often times if a house isn’t priced right, there’s a lot of negative sides to that. It sits on the market and then eventually comes down to a price that is lower that originally what it should of been listed at. So there are a lot of negative sides to that, but it’s very tempting to go with the agent that gives you the highest price because you think this person really values what I have here. I would not use the pricing that the agent uses as a criteria for selecting an agent. Unless it’s a ridiculously low number, well if it is ridiculously low, that may bring some concerns and questions into play.
Again, the price that an agent gives, I would not use that to select which agent you’re going to work with.
Number two, lowest commission! Again, we really did talk about that and how there is more that goes into the cost to sell a house. Obviously you could save a little bit on the commission side and that might cost you in the marketing plan, so obviously go for the value. Go for value when it comes to what you’re paying.
Number three on how not to select an agent… a friend or family member if they don’t meet the five areas we discussed. Again, if they don’t meet the five areas we discussed. If they do, that’s perfect! Then you know someone, you trust them, they are honest, they have a great marketing plan, good local company, they have a reasonable rate and they’re knowledgeable. Boom! Hire them.
But if they don’t exercise these qualities and you’re just hiring them because you know them, then you really have to ask yourself… what’s most important? Are you doing them a favor or are you doing what’s best for you? Again, if they display a lot of these qualities and are a good listing agent then you can rock and roll.
Sweet! That’s all I got today for this episode on how to select an agent. Hopefully that was helpful. If you guys have questions, feel free to reach out and we will see you at the next episode.
Austin Solomon is one of the top Realtors in the greater Wausau area. Home grown in Schofield, WI, Austin is passionate about helping clients sell or buy a home in this amazing city, while giving back to his local community.
Author: Austin Solomon | The Solomon Group – Coldwell Banker Action