Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Make Sure Your Agent Is Working For You!

I have written quite a few blogs for my sellers outlining and explaining the difference between discount brokerages, and full service brokerages but I would like to take a moment to talk about something that is important no matter what kind of brokerage you choose to hire to sell your home. 

I frequently speak with homeowners whose listings expired without selling, I do not call these homewoners because I want their listing I call them to get feedback from them.  In today's market there is nothing worse than an unhappy homeowner that needs or wants to sell their home, and I like to make sure that I don't do anything to make the process harder or more stressful on my homeowners. 

The most common complaint I have heard is that the homeowner believes that their realtor did not do enough for them.  Now in some cases this is true, and in other cases it is not but in an effort to make sure this does not happen to any of my readers these are a list of key questions you should be asking potential Realtors who are interested in listing your home!

1. What Is Their Price
Now I do not mean the price of their commission I mean their suggested price of your home. Take the time and look at the comps that they should have brought with them their price and their time on the market.  This is something most people overlook but because the house next door sold for the price you want keep in mind it may have taken them 2 years to get that price, and are you ok with having to wait that long?

2. What Is Their Opinion On Open Houses, And What Will They Be Doing For Yours! 
I hear countless times from homeowners that they wanted to do open houses, but the Realtor "did not beleive in them".  When you meet with these potential Realtors you should be asking them! If they say they don't do them, you know not to list with them, but if you don't ask the question chances are they will not volunteer this information that they don't plan on doing any.  If you don't agree with their plan, move onto the next!

On the other hand, I have had homeowners who absolutely hate having open houses, and being a homeowner I can understand their opinion, but for your home to sell your home needs to be seen! I schedule my first open house the same day I take the listing back to my office, Why? Because you want buyers to immediately be able to have a date and time to see your home! 

Now their is such a thing as too many open houses, remember the saying, "Quality not Quantity", my general rule is that each of my listings have an advertised open house monthly.

3. How Is Your Home Shown?
You should discuss how the agent shows their listings, and who will be scheduling the appointments.  Is it a call center who handles scheduling their appointments, or is their an in office staff ? Do they attend all appointments when your home is shown, do you need to be home for the appointments? Would they be willing to have specific day and times when you are available to show, or are they open to requiring a minimum amount of notice? If you are not okay with how they do things move onto the next agent, just make sure your requests are reasonable.

When I say be reasonable I mean that there are of course circumstances where your realtor will be unavailable to make it to an appointment for another broker to show your home.   You also should not make it difficult to show your home, this means if you can only show it once a week, and that day isn't on the weekend your home will be difficult to show.  I recommend asking for  a certain amount of notice usually 24 hours for scheduling a showing if the homeowner prefers sometime to prepare for their showing.
4. Where Did All The Buyers Go?
When I ask these homeowners what happened with the potential buyers that did view their home I am shocked to hear that they don't know.  You should have a clear line of communication planned with your Realtor for everytime your house is shown, and you should know how they go about getting feedback about your home from other Realtors.

The feedback that agents, and buyers give will help you get your home sold faster!  Our company has a automatic feedback form sent to all agents who show our listings, it is a quick simple application that they are able to use on their phones, laptops, and PDA's.  If I don't recieve feedback from an agent, I am provided with all of their information to contact them from the appointment confirmation.   I call my homeowner after each time the home is shown.

5. Pictures & Video & Staging
Talk to the realtor about what kind of pictures they take, do they take professional photo's or do they have the applications to help enhance your pictures? Do they have Virtual Tours on their listings? Most importantly once you have those pictures and videos, where are they all advertised?

I am very particular about my pictures, because not only do I represent your home, but the effort I put into selling your home represents me!  I put your homes pictures in my newsletter, on my website, and on my YouTube Channel, I want to make sure that your home stands out!

Another aspect of the pictures of your home is the fact that not all homes are picture ready, your home only needs to be picture ready once.  Ask these Realtor what they plan on doing to help you get it "picture ready".  Do they require you to do staging? Do they have other options rather than full staging? Or if your home is going to be vacant, what kind of affordable staging options are there?

All homes can benefit from some staging, even if it is as simple as de-cluttering or removing some larger pieces of furniture for the pictures.  Keep an open mind when a Realtor approaches this subject, do not take it as an insult, take it as they know their business!

6. Technology
How are they using technology to help their business, and your home?  Now this is a personal opinion of mine and something that I find buyers are usually more in tune with than sellers.  This is because the buyers are the ones who are using technology to help them find their new home.

Social networking is a great tool for your home, why? Because you don't know who is looking for a house until they tell you! The use of  social networking for Realtors has changed with the times. Many of us now choose to network and promote our business with other realtors & potential buyers thru sites like Facebook, & Twitter.  Highlighting our new listings and open houses on these sites are quickly becoming the way the new generation of Realtors are advertising their businesses.

If your realtor is not utilizing the internet, the technology, and the tremendous exposure that it offers your home, you are missing out.  I once had a client call me on a home not from MLS, not from an open house, but from a On Location Video Tour that was posted on my YouTube channel that one of my friends had shared.  

Technology isn't just about what your listing looks like, or where it is listed, it is also about what the buyers options are for connecting with your agent?   Today's technology allows potential buyers to immediately inquire about your listing, so what is your agents plan of action for those buyers who may not be inquiring during "normal" business hours.

I allow my buyers to schedule appointments online anytime of the day or night, I also have a chat feature that is linked on my page that goes directly to my phone as well as my laptop.  All inquiries made on my listings come thru within 5 minutes of being sent, this allows no delay in my response, and many times they are still looking at your home when they get the first call from me.

These are just a few of the key questions that homeowners should be asking the agents that they are interviewing! 

The best way to get your home sold the first time it is listed is to be an educated homeowner, and pick an agent that is right for you! 

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