The Honest Broker- Choosing your Real Estate Representative
Real Estate, for most individuals and families, is the most important and possibly only major investment they have. Therefore it is imperative to interview several agents to help evaluate their qualifications, effectiveness and experience. Unfortunately, the dilemma for most sellers is that they choose their representation out of emotion and not by deliberation. By this I mean that perhaps their relative or friend “does” real estate and they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so they choose the “son-in-law”, “daughter” or best friend to represent them with complete disregard to whether they only work as a realtor part-time or just got their license and need the experience. In most cases, this will not end well for either party.
Tips for the seller
Try and line up at least 3 agents to interview. Have them audition for the job.
When an agent comes for the interview, they should come with a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) which shows the most recent sales in your community. These sales should be within the last 3-6 months. Any sale older than 6 months is questionable for valuation. The CMA should be a professionally created document, not a 2-3 page summary. It should include information on the seller’s home and the comparative properties should be as close in size, location, beds, baths, etc. as the seller’s home. Their presentation of the CMA and the recommended initial price for marketing should be supported by the previous sales.
Unfortunately, sellers have the tendency to believe that their home is far more superior than any other homes that have sold and have a price in mind that they want to sell it for.
The “let’s test the market” phrase used by the realtor with an overinflated valuation of their property is a way in which sellers can be persuaded to go with one realtor over another because it fits in with the seller’s view of value. However, the realtor may get the listing at the seller’s wish price but after not getting any showings or offers, they get that phone call from their realtor. “We have to discuss the price. I think it’s time to drop the price to “spur” interest and get more traffic.” Usually, the price slowly gets reduced down to where it should have been in the first place. The realtor has just wasted the first critical 30-45 days that the house was introduced to the market. I know that it may be difficult but be pragmatic about the value of your home. What would you offer on your home if you were the buyer? Before interviewing realtors and you have the time or inclination, go to some open houses in your neighborhood and see your competition. How does your house compare?
The experience and qualifications of your realtor are extremely important.
Questions to be discussed during the interview are: Does the person do this part or full-time? Do they work another job on the side? How many homes have they sold in the past year? Can they show you verification? How long have they been working in real estate? Did they just get their license or have they been doing this for years? Are they working in a team? This is important because the leader of the team may get your listing but then a less experienced member of the team may end up working as your direct representative? Were they referred by someone? Also, the realtor should provide you with a commitment of what services they will perform for you during your listing time frame. Hold them accountable. If you don’t feel that they are working well on your behalf, your recourse is to go to the broker of the company and voice your concerns.
Diane Lott, Broker
Paradise Found Realty, Inc. of Palm City
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