Finding the right realtor is important when selling your home. The problem is it’s really hard to find a good realtor. Here’s what savvy homeowners have done to find one and what to look for.
If your agent only works part-time in the business or “does it on the side,” ditch him (or her). Think about it. Why work with someone who isn’t serious (or good) enough to make it a full-time career? If the real estate agent is good enough to sell your home, or help you buy a good one, then they have committed to it as a profession. They’ll be super-busy and have lots of experience.
Someone who does it part-time doesn’t have the experience, plain and simple.
The Sales Price
You want a good price for your home, but you have to be realistic. Visit sites like Entwistlegreen.co.uk to get an idea of what homes are selling for in your area or what a reasonable price might be for a home of your square footage in similar neighbourhoods. Realtors and agencies like Entwistle Green have been around for many years, and they have a finger on the pulse of the industry.
If your agent is trying to list your home too high above the going rate, it’s just not going to sell.
Agents who do this are greedy for commissions are inexperienced. Pricing a home too high means buyers aren’t even going to look at it. The longer your property sits on the market, the harder it will be to sell. Expect a bunch of lowball offers after 3 to 6 months.
The Agent Is Related To You
The family discount might seem like a good idea, but it can backfire on you big time. Unless your relative is a crackerjack full-timer who specializes in your neighbourhood, pass. A deal gone bad can breed resentment. Most agents aren’t professionals or very serious about their real estate career. They may have done the job for 20+ years, but kept doing the first year over and over again — never getting any better.
The market is littered with agents like this.
An Agent Not Familiar With Your Neighborhood
Speaking of not having experience, some agents aren’t experienced in the neighbourhood you want to buy in. The agent that doesn’t know the real estate landscape in your neighbourhood may end up not selling you a great home, or may end up selling your home for much less than you could get for it.
The Discount Agent
Who doesn’t want a discount? In most areas, commissions are between 5 and 7 percent. This is split between the buying and selling agent. So, for every £100,000 of home, the agent might make up to £3,500. Some agents might entice you by discounting their commission. If the commission on your home is lower, fewer agents will show it. But, ones that tend to be desperate. And, that’s not always a good thing.
For starters, you might end up with an overzealous agent who tries selling your home for more than it's worth to make up for the percentage drop in commissions. Or, the agent might become apathetic after a month or two because he or she isn’t making much money on the deal.
If your realtor hasn’t set aside some time to update you on the status of your home, then you’re going to feel more than a little put out. You’re going to feel like you’ve lost your ability to sell the home. And, because you sign a contract with your agent, you’ll feel stuck. If your home isn’t selling, the most likely scenario is that it’s not being marketed properly.
A good marketing plan needs to take into account ideal buyers for a home, and it needs to be well organized. When you hired the realtor, did he or she give you a full explanation of a structured multi-faceted marketing plan to sell the house? If not, then the home is probably not being marketed at all. If it is, then it’s not being marketed well.
It’d be nice if your realtor always told you the truth, but unfortunately, that’s becoming more and more rare. Sadly, it seems like more and more realtors promise more than they can actually deliver. They might promise you the best marketing, for example, or maybe excellent communication, and then fall far short on both.
When searching for a realtor, look for evidence of their success, or a mechanism by which they will achieve their stated promises. Always ask them to demonstrate their results. If they constantly fall back to a “trust me” or “let me prove it to you/trust me” argument, then move on to the next realtor.
Rachel Daniels enjoys sharing her insider knowledge on the real estate market. She worked for years as a realtor before working from home to raise her kids. Look out for articles on property and personal finance blogs.