Most home sellers leave the equivalent of a nice used car behind when they sell their home. That’s right, the “several percent” that most home sellers lose during the real estate negotiation amounts to the same as leaving a nice car behind in the garage. This “throw away” money that they lose yields them nothing in return.
It’s so funny how most people are very careful how they spend their money every day, making sure they don’t get over-charged at restaurants and stores, but their ignorance in selecting the right real estate agent for the job of selling a home is the same as throwing money away. How so?
Imagine your home is on the market and you receive an offer from a buyer. The buyer’s offer is not what you had hoped to get for your home. Should you accept the offer, counter the offer, or not even respond to the buyer? If you think you’ll make the right choice without the help of somebody who knows the right answer, you’re probably wrong.
Most home sellers make a hiring choice before considering all the attributes that they will need in a listing agent, and rarely do they consider the value of somebody who is prepared to negotiate for every penny possible in the home sale. I suspect they assume that it really does not matter, and they typically just hire somebody they know and like (a recent NAR survey of home sellers reported that 64% of home sellers hired the first agent they spoke to about the job of selling their home).
It happens in every local housing market. It does not matter where you are, there exists a small group of excellent real estate agents, and then a mass of licensees who really don’t put a lot of effort into what they do. It all might seem harmless until you are faced with a tough decision and you have to rely on the person you hired.
Fortunately, I have a few tips that will help you when it comes to hiring the agent for the job of selling your home.
Finding The Listing Agent a Realtor Would Hire
If I had a home to sell in your market area, I would be able to get the best listing agent to work for me and not cost me any more money than the majority of other agents who have no business handling real estate listings. Fortunately for you, if you follow this 3-step process for selecting the real estate agents to interview, you will be confident in knowing that somebody is taking care of you. There’s no need to leave tens of thousands of dollars behind, you simply have to take these preliminary important steps.
1. Plan on interviewing at least three prospective agents – Why 3? Because you want to make sure you have left nothing to chance. If you heed my advice on the next 2 points, you will end up working with a great real estate agent who will “have your back” when that all-important negotiation begins. Plus, it is imperative that you have all three Realtors go through their full listing presentation, don’t cut the second and third agent short because you already know about something they will cover. Remember, you are interviewing them! You need to assess each one’s expertise, and you should not assume that one has all the knowledge and expertise that a previous presenter has demonstrated.
2. Choose your agents online – Word of mouth is great … until it isn’t. Don’t invite agents because you’ve met them at the PTA or youth baseball, go online and figure out who is pulling traffic to their listings. Find the agents that Google recommends and it is likely you’ll find the agent that I would recommend. How do you find them? Try searching terms like “Hopkinton MA Real Estate Market Report” or “Framingham MA housing report.” As you’ll see in the final point, this is where your best negotiators can be found. They are the ones who are staying on top of the information that they need to win negotiations for their clients.
3. Make sure all three agents publish housing reports – OK, this is the big one. Being a master negotiator is all about understanding one’s position in the deal. It is absolutely impossible to know where you stand with a buyer unless you are super confident in your understanding of your asking price.
Real estate trades on supply and demand, and having an intimate knowledge of the market is what makes the top negotiators better than their peers. If you want to know how to handle that first offer that comes in, make sure you turn to somebody who actively demonstrates a higher knowledge of your local market.
Once you have interviewed all three agents, don’t be afraid to call each back with follow-up questions that you discerned from your meetings with the other agents.
Negotiation skills are not the only factor you should consider when interviewing agents for the job of selling your home, but it is one key issue that is almost always overlooked until it is too late. Fortunately, you don’t have to make this mistake. Simply follow the three tips I included above and you’ll be confident in knowing that your listing agent got you top dollar for your home.
Finding the right Realtor is an important step when selling a home. Don’t take the selection process lightly or you will end up disappointed like a lot of other people! Choosing a great real estate agent can be the difference of thousands of dollars in your pocket.
About the author: Joe Manausa, MBA is a 22+ year veteran of real estate brokerage in the State of Florida and has owned and managed his own company since 1992. His daily blog can be seen at manausa.com and features content that focuses on real estate analytics and providing his clients with a tactical advantage in today’s challenging market.