1) If you are thinking of listing your home a great place to start would be to see how a prospective Realtor markets their properties? Have a look at the Realtors website to view their present listings before you meet. Are the photos out of focus, are the toilet seats up in the pictures. (Funny but very common) Are they mentioning in the public remarks the most important features? Is the description just two sentences long? I have seen listings where the photos are all dark and you can barely see someone’s beautifully renovated kitchen. What a great selling feature that has been totally under represented. In the information age the photos are the first impression. Ask the Realtor who does your photos? Do they work with a professional photographer? Have a look at their other properties and see if their photographer does a good job? Do they work with a Home Preparation Consultant? A home preparation consultant is someone that specifically walks through the home and constructively looks at the house and comes up with the best possible formula to appeal to the largest sales audience. This could mean moving some of the existing furniture to another room to make the first room appear larger without the giant sectional or changing the location of a picture to show off a vaulted ceiling. Ask about our Home Preparation Consultant.
2) Ask the Realtor about the recent sales in the neighborhood? Find out if they know how busy or slow the neighborhood is. Many times I will see a sign go up in a neighborhood that I am shopping with my buyers and the house is priced lower than it should be. I usually work fast to get it secured for my buyer but what really happened is the realtor who listed the property did not know the last 2 houses sold in the neighborhood went to multiple offers and therefore there are some very serious buyers shopping and willing to pay and enter into a bidding war. If a Realtor representing you did not have that knowledge, then the chances of under pricing would higher and eliminating the sellers chances of getting more money. Or having that same knowledge to advise you to hold off till the end of the weekend before accepting an offer when there would be a high chance of another offer coming in and creating a bidding war. I have helped many clients buy Comfree listings and gotten them very good deals due to the fact the Comfree seller did not have any real specific knowledge of the neighborhood and activity levels and therefore underpriced their home. They saved on commission but in reality they lost much more in the sales price. It can be costly to be uninformed.
3) When pricing your home does the realtor's logic make sense? Has he or she taken the time to explain why it should be priced at a certain price? Many times when we meet with a seller they often believe their home is worth more than it is to a potential buyer. We understand there is often sentimental value but a careful review of other comparable homes on the market is a valuable starting point for setting the appropriate list price. We have refused a few listings over the years due to the opinions being very different. Ask yourself is the Realtor afraid to lose your listing? So he is agreeing with everything you are saying? We feel it is best to be honest, straight forward and realistic with how we communicate with a seller. Sometimes it could mean the seller decides now is not the time for them to sell due to the current market levels. We respect that and we are happy to develop a working relationship that we keep those sellers informed on their area market activity. This could mean we keep someone posted on a once per month basis with updates on their area and then when they are ready we move forward with listing their property. Ask about our Monthly Area Market Updates.
4) How do they manage your listings? Will they provide you with a market activity update for your area weekly? In an ever changing market it is very important to keep an eye on what is happening around your current listing. It is important that there is good communication at all times and more than just a sign on the lawn. You do not want to be sitting there watching the other homes around you selling especially if the market is on a down trend. The responsibility is yours as the seller to ensure the person you have working for you is worth what you are paying them. Choosing a realtor with a great reputation and years of experience goes a long way towards ensuring a successful home selling process.
5) Where do they market the listing and to whom? Do they just enter it onto MLS and put a sign on the lawn and their job is done? What is their marketing plan? Are they up to date with social media? Social Media might not be concern to you but you have to think of who is buying your house? Let’s say you are in an older neighborhood and you have owned the home for 35yrs. The community is changing over and lots of young families are moving into the neighborhood and their average ages are 25yrs to 40yrs old. This age group is all about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Ask your Realtor if they use these channels to advertise their properties? It would certainly increase your odds at selling the home if you reached the right people with the advertising. It would not make much sense in advertising in the Journal when that 25yr-40yr old age group never picks up the paper in the first place. The Realtor should have already thought of the target group that your trying to reach and have a marketing plan designed to specifically reach it. Ask them to run through their plan. The good ones will know exactly what their plan is and how they plan to execute it.
Summary... There are many good realtors out there. The positive thing is you have your choice. Using a Professional Photographer and Home Preparation Consultant are two costs we incur. These we feel are two very important factors in the presentation of a home. The formula we have designed is to present your home as best as possible and have the best features stand out. It is more than just decluttering. The better your home presents, the higher the sale price and the quicker you receive an offer. We would rather invest in our listings and form a respectful partnership with the seller than spend money to put our face on a bus bench. Having a clients property sell for higher and in a timely manner only makes them happy to pass our name on to their friends. We look forward to working with you on the sale of your home!