- If it’s too good to be true… watch out.
- Don’t take an agents’ word for it. Be sure to look for data and pictures to back up what they are promising
- Look for seriousness and thoroughness over glamour
Selling your home? The first step is to find an agent. In the Fort Hood area, there are over 400 licensed real estate agents, or “Realtors”. How in the world are you going to choose a Realtor to sell your home?
The following characteristics or tricks might at least help narrow it down some.
They try to overprice your home
It is called “buying a listing”. It is not buying your house, but rather buying the right to sell it by over-promising on the price you can get. The agent lists the home, waits 3 months to demonstrate that you overpriced the home, gets you to drop the price, sells it and cashes your check.
Meanwhile, the silly agent who told you the truth and the fair price to begin with – well, he didn’t get the listing or the check, did he?
Be level headed and look through the comps that an agent has provided. Do they justify the price they’re recommending? And no, an agent can’t get your home sold higher than market because they are “just that good”. Interview multiple agents; get multiple price recommendations; tune out the agent who over-promises to get your business.
They say they already have an interested buyer
This is the most annoying to me. Especially if you had an active listing that just expired, you will probably get a call from an agent saying “I have buyers I’m working with who may be interested in your home. Are you still interested in selling?” Who are these buyers? Why are they suddenly interested in your home now that it is off the market?
Well, the buyers are anybody. Literally anybody. Anyone at all.
What the agent is actually saying is that there are millions of people in America who might be interested in your home. Or might not. But the only way to find out is to list your home with this particular agent. It is a slick, cheesy way to get a listing and reveals an agent more interested in tricks than in techniques.
They work part time
I started real estate as a part time agent. For many, it can be a necessity, trying to knock out the steep learning curve involved with becoming a competent agent while still actually making money to feed the family.
But having done it part time, I know exactly how difficult it can be to serve clients well. Only when I became a full-time agent have I had the time and resources to really improve my business and service, and that is a tremendous asset full-time agents have over the part time competition.
How to Choose a Realtor
- Do your due diligence when choosing an agent
- Cross reference resources when evaluating an agent
- Personal references count for a lot, but still evaluate agents referred to you
They discount their commission
This may seem a little self-serving – “Hey, don’t go with another agent who is cheaper than I am”. But it is still a red flag. Agent commissions are negotiable (5%-7% is common, usually half goes to the buyer’s agent). But an agent who too readily discounts their commission (and themselves) should be concerning.
I personally charge 6% (3% to the buyer’s agent, 3% to my brokerage) and believe that is a deal for our market and what I provide. I am confident that what I provide in terms of service, peace of mind, and home value is worth that and more.
They are a wimp
Does your house stink? Is your house worth far less than you think it is? Maybe the bedroom you repainted puce is actually hideous?
Does your agent have the personal courage to tell you these incredibly important things that can dramatically impact the value of your home, how long you are on the market, or if you ever even sell at all?
It is difficult for agents, because we don’t want to offend our future (hopefully) customers. But you don’t want an agent who is afraid to lay down the facts, even when the facts aren’t fun.
They can’t explain why they’re better
“All Realtors are the same” is a common refrain among home buyers and sellers. And unfortunately, for many agents it’s true. Agents may think their job is all the same – get the paper signed, slap it on the MLS and cross your fingers. Some agents are better. And better agents should be able to explain what sets them apart from the competition.
You too should ask your agent a simple question. “How are you better than your competitors?” If they don’t have an answer for that – red flag.
They’re a relative or friend
Similar to above, if you think “all Realtors are alike”, then you might be inclined to hand off the reins to your friend or nephew who has their license. I would give them the same vetting you would give any other agent. While it might be awkward to use someone other than your friend or family member, it will be no less awkward (and more painful) to do business with them in a deal that falls to pieces.
They’re the only one you interviewed
70% of home sellers only interview one agent. It is pretty astounding – a professional service you are prepared to pay $1000s for, and yet sellers spend less time considering alternatives than they might spend choosing between restaurants for a $20 meal. Even if the agent is a referral or the very same agent you bought the house with, shopping around will give you a bigger and better picture of what another agent can offer, more perspective on different agents and their thought processes, and what to expect from the agent you finally choose.
They give “guarantees”
“We guarantee to sell your home, or we’ll buy it!” Yes, they will, not at the listing price you agree to but at a dirt cheap price where they’ll make money off of you anyway. Most guarantees work like that. And maybe that’s okay for you.
But if you’re listing on the market to get the maximum value of your home, a truthful agent will tell you that there are no guarantees. A good agent will work hard to maximize your home’s advantages to get the highest price that the market will allow. But unless the agent themselves is actually going to buy it at the list price, they certainly can’t guarantee anyone else will.
I am an agent in the Fort Hood area and would love to be someone you consider to list your home. If you or someone you know are thinking about selling, please do schedule an appointment for me to come visit your home and give you a market analysis and action plan for getting your home sold!
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