A real estate agent representing the home seller has an obligation to his client to do everything he can to smooth the process of selling their home. He is their advocate; the professional they are looking to for help. Most people want an agent they can not only trust but will do all they can to get the most money for their home, in the least amount of time with the fewest headaches along the way.
Smart home sellers understand there is a big difference from the “post and pray” real estate agents that do not do much more that put a sign in the yard, place it in the MLS and pray, and the professional real estate agents that take care of their clients.
There is a lot of opportunity for disappointment by picking the wrong real estate agent to represent your interests. How can you increase the chances you will make a good choice in picking a real estate agent? If you understand the things that a real estate agent should be doing for home sellers, you can increase your chances of making the right choice.
Following are 8 ways how real estate agents should represent their home seller clients.
1. Price the Home Correctly
Pricing a home properly is the most important thing your real estate agent can do. The best real estate agents avoid giving in to the desire to say what will make sellers happy just to get the business. Understanding how to price a home is one of an agent’s most valuable skills. The best real estate agents have a reputation for pricing homes accurately and not telling a seller what they want to hear to get a listing.
As a seller, you should be aware that pricing a home too high can, and most probably will, cause major issues in the selling process. Buyers may avoid your home, and with the passage of time, it will develop a bad reputation. Eventually you will recognize that the price will have to be reduced to be competitive in the marketplace, but by that point, the bad reputation may have already stuck with the property. Ultimately, the house will sell, but probably at a lower price that what you would have received if the house had been appropriately priced when it was placed on the market.
While some real estate agents may intentionally misrepresent a home’s value to get business, others lack the skill to price the home correctly. Either way you lose. Is the real estate agent up front with you as to how he is determining value? Is he considering not only things like price per square foot of comparable nearby sales, but differences in amenities, upgrades, lot qualities, general condition of each comparable as compared to your home?
2. Market the Property Like There is No Tomorrow
Marketing is one area where your real estate agent should excel. He should hire a professional photographer to take great pictures of your property. Over 90% of home buyers first look at homes on the internet. If your home’s pictures are lousy, you will lose out on a significant amount of potential traffic.
Your real estate agent should be an expert on getting the word out about your property using all available marketing channels. Not just the MLS, but various websites, brokers opens, local pitch sessions to other real estate agents, social media, etc.
The marketing materials should be top-notch. In addition to quality photographs, the brochures should be crisp and professional. Does the agent’s brokerage also market their listings through their own website, brochures, catalogs, etc? Selecting a real estate agent who understands and demonstrates how crucial the marketing is will provide substantial benefits.
3. Communicate Properly
A seller is entitled to know what is happening. Many real estate agents communicate with their clients only when an offer is received. The agent should communicate with their clients on a regular basis with feedback from showings and other items of interest. If a prospective real estate agent is slow to return phone calls or emails during the interview process, then this should be clue that prompt communication may not be one of his priorities.
4. Make Sure the Buyer is Qualified
It is not uncommon for a potential buyer to develop interest in a property and make an offer, and then it is discovered that the potential buyer has not been pre-approved and cannot afford the property. A good listing agent will make sure that potential buyers have been pre-approved by a lending institution (or has liquid assets sufficient to fund the purchase) before agreeing to show the property.
5. Negotiate the Best Terms
You want a real estate agent that will work hard for the best terms and conditions for their clients. This is what they are paid to do. A great real estate agent will not focus solely on getting their commission, but rather what is in their client’s best interest. This is one of the reasons why you should never choose an agent that “needs” to make a sale. An agent who isn’t worried about when they make their next sale is better positioned to advocate strongly for their clients and are always striving for the best possible terms for the transaction.
6. Attend the Home Inspection to Represent the Seller
Whether the seller expects their real estate agent to attend the home inspection, a good agent will attend regardless. By being at the inspection, the agent hears the inspector’s feedback first-hand. The agent can keep track of the issues noted, the inspector’s comments, and keep things in perspective should the buyer ask for concessions based on the inspection. Some requests may be reasonable—others may not be. If the seller’s agent is on site during the inspection and has a good understanding of the issues they can assist their client in dealing with unreasonable requests.
7. Attend the Home Appraisal
A good real estate agent will attend the home appraisal so they can answer the questions the appraiser has and make sure the appraiser understands the facts about the home. Most appraisers want information regarding recent updates to the property and documented cost information. If there have been major updates, these can significantly influence the value of the property. The agent should be there to point out the updates and provide appropriate documentation related to the cost.
8. Finalize Loose Ends for Closing
Selling a house involves a lot of work. There are many details that must be taken care of—a good real estate agent will provide organization of these tasks and assist in getting them done as the closing draws near.
Selling a home can be very stressful, but having a good real estate agent by your side who is helping to take care of the details unique to the sale of a house will ease the burden.