Tactics and errors by agents:
Agents who have buyers:
If selling on your own and you're approaced by an agent who has buyers, you can always agree to a “24 hour” listing to see if the agent can sell them.
Make sure the commission is around half half the normal rate. In most cases here, this agent will be representing the buyers, not you.
One stop agents and two stop agents :
Contact an agent about selling your home. The agent will review your property, measure rooms, take notes, and work up their recommendations at their office.
On their second appointment, they will bring information on comparison homes or “comps”, similar to yours and present their marketing plan. Two appointments are known as the classic “two–stop” listing approach.
Some agents will give their "presentation" on their first call, including giving you their recommended price.
Give weight to an agent who has taken the time to get to know you and evaluate your home through the two-stop process. You’re going to pay a commission and deserve someone who has demonstrated that they have researched how the variations in your home versus comparative homes justify differences in the expected selling price.
If you’re selling a condo, a townhouse or a newer subdivision home where the selling prices are easy to predict, a one–stop appointment is common. But you’ll still be short-changed in the amount of face time you’ll have to evaluate this agent.
Agents who sell in teams:
Agents will team up, selling as husband and wife ("spouses that sell houses") or a "Team". It's really an attempt to set themselves apart from the other agents. A two-person presentation can be highly effective.
But being marketed and served by two agents actually creates communication problems as to who said what to who, when. The team concept can cause lots of problems.
Listed homes sell for more:
Agents will tell you that the average selling price for listed homes is higher than those sold by-owner. It’s usually true.
Listed home sales are typically going to be higher because they include a commission amount. Also, listed homes include most expensive homes because the commission means little to their owners. It’s hard to picture The Donald and friends selling by-owner.
On the other hand, many more average and below average priced properties are sold without agents and without commissions.
Some agents do a poor job of keeping you informed:
The biggest complaint sellers have about their listing agent is that they rarely hear from them after they get the listing. Agents think they don’t have much new to tell their sellers.
That's not really true. Have your agent e-mail you stats about new listings, price changes, properties that get a contract and those that close - that are in your selling area and in your asking price range. This way you can track the activity of your competition. The selling price of homes that have sold is also obviously useful to know.
Your agent can also contact the buyers’ agents requesting "customer reaction" after they've seen your home. The first half dozen showings could give valuable insight: your wall colors are too bold, Fluffy has turned into an attack cat, house smells of smoke, etc. But after a few showings, the comments become repetitious and a waste of time.
However, buyer's agents are reluctant to share their client's opinion about your property. Their buyers may later decide to bid on your house and don't want you to know that they loved your home.
Smart (and legally astute) agents rarely pass along meaningful information back to listing agents, making this old custom of buyer “feedback” rather meaningless.
Listing agents who insist on accompanying the buyer’s agent:
This is stupid. In the first place it’s the buyer’s agent who knows what the hot buttons are for his or her clients, not the listing agent. A brochure that highlights the features of your property–created by the listing agent–will more than suffice here.
In addition, buyers do not appreciate the presence of the listing agent. Besides, their presence adds another person to the mix of trying to coordinate all the parties for this showing, which potentially can add just enough complication to cause the house to be left out of the list of properties that will be seen by the buyers. Not good.
Agents who don’t share their listings:
Some agents don't allow any one else in their office to answer calls on their listings. Phone inquiries are often forwarded to the agent’s cell phone or to a voice mailbox.
If this results in a lack of an immediate response to an inquisitive prospect, a sale could be lost. In addition, this doesn’t encourage the other office agents to want to show that agent’s property to their buyers.
Mistakes and inaccuracies threaten showings:
If you decide to use a Realtor, request a copy of the “listing sheet” immediately after you list your home. All buyers and agents will see it. It can be emailed to you. This page of information often stands between the buyers wanting to see inside your home and sometimes not wanting or even being able to see inside.
All types of information errors are input into the MLS. The listing agent could have written down information incorrectly, transcribed it onto a form in error or the clerical staff could have made an input typo. Information could be poorly worded, misspelled, or accidentally omitted. Errors are made everyday and no one really notices. The seller rarely reviews this vital document, always assuming it’s correct. Take a look at samples of listing mistakes.
Review the listing sheet immediately after the property is posted to the MLS. Items that could potentially eliminate agent or buyer interest must be quickly changed. Check to see that changes have also been updated on realtor.com.
Advise your agent that this is the procedure you want followed if errors exist. This should encourage the agent to verify all information for accuracy.
The listing photos are key:
All listings are posted to the MLS with a picture (usually multiple pictures) of the property. Check these out. Your home’s curb appeal is a key element in the buyers’ elimination process.
The front photo of your home is extremely important and often glossed over by owners. Poor displays include: accidental enhancement of power lines, the neighbor’s RV shows, cars were in the driveway, the garage door was up, the photo angle tended to cause distortion due to the position of the sun, trees, etc. If the "first" picture is unacceptable, or even questionable, it must be replaced.
Always have interior photos taken that enhance amenities: great views, fireplaces, kitchens, hardwood floors, railings and banisters, etc. Display pictures of most rooms. Buyers are easily swayed by furnishings and decorating - items that are not part of the sale.
Don’t have outside photos in the MLS that are out of season. Buyers assume you’ve been on the market a long time. If you have photos of your gardens and landscaping, spread these out on the dining room table for view during winter showings.
If the seasons change, request that new MLS photos be taken. Never start out looking like an old listing.
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