What should a Realtor do for a Seller?
Here’s the Problem…
We have a problem in the Real Estate industry. The barrier to entry to become a Realtor is pretty low. Just take a few classes, pass a test, buy a box of business cards, and voila! You’re a real estate agent.
Unfortunately, this low barrier to entry means there are a lot of agents that just don’t make the grade when it comes to serving the needs of their clients and truly doing a great job. There is a lot more to being a great Realtor than just taking a listing and waiting for offers.
A lot of sellers aren’t aware of what they should actually expect from a listing agent, and as a result many of them get short-changed. A good full-service agent will earn their commission on the sale of your home. Any agent that is offering something less than full service, should either be charging much less commission, or should be avoided.
So, without further ado, here is the list of what sellers should expect from their real estate agent
8 things a full-service Realtor does for home sellers
1. Correctly Pricing Your Home
Choosing the right list price for your home is the first step to positioning your home in the market and a successful sale. Unfortunately this is one area where a lot of agents fail.
There are a couple reasons agents get this step wrong. They either lack the skills and experience necessary to accurately evaluate a home, or they intentionally list at a price that is too high just to get the listing and appease the seller.
The truth is that an overpriced listing is a lose-lose scenario for everybody. When a home is overpriced it will most likely sit for weeks on end without receiving many/any offers and will accumulate excessive market time. Market time hurts. The more DOM (days on market) a home has, the less desirable it becomes to buyers as people start to suspect that there is something wrong with the property.
Ultimately an overpriced home will either not sell at all, or the price will be reduced after the damage has already been done in terms of market time. This will typically lead to the home selling for less than it could have if it were priced correctly in the beginning.
Clearly, an agent who agrees to list a home at a price too high is actually doing the seller a grave disservice. A good agent will not only know how to correctly valuate a home, but will always be honest with the seller about that valuation.
2. Marketing Your Home
Watch out for agents that do not have a comprehensive marketing plan for your home. For many agents, their entire marketing plan is to post your home on the MLS, cross their fingers, and wait for offers… Scary.
The problem with this is that it will probably work, it just won’t work well. You may find a buyer for your home, but you probably won’t get the best price and may have to make other concessions as well.
In order to get the best price you need to get as much exposure to potential buyers as possible, which will lead to more offers. Then, with multiple offers in hand, you will be in a position to apply leverage and get the best price.
So how do you get a lot of exposure? In a word, marketing. A good agent will have a plan for exposing your house to a huge audience of potential buyers both online and offline. Marketing your home is, after all, your Realtor’s most important job.
You also want to pay special attention to the online aspect of the agent’s marketing plan. The vast majority of home buyers conduct their home search primarily through the internet. The best agent’s will be technically savvy and capable of implementing a robust online marketing campaign.
If you base your hiring decision on nothing else, you want to find the best marketing professional with a real estate license you can to sell your home.
3. Professional Listing Photos, Video, and 3D Scan
When it comes to marketing your home online, having professional pictures is crucial. Professional real estate photographers know how to make your home look it’s best. By taking visually appealing pictures that accurately showcase the home’s layout and scope, great pictures can help your house stand out.
Buyer’s also love watching video tours of homes they are interested in. In fact, people engage with video more than any other type of media online. Having a great video of your home can help turbo-charge your online marketing strategies gaining more engagement from potential buyers.
A 3D scan of your home not only helps buyers get a clear sense of your home’s layout, but it is fun! It’s hard to resist clicking on the button to virtually walk through a house you may be interested in purchasing. 3D scans have proven to be another great way to generate a lot of online interaction and deeper interest from potential buyers.
4. Prompt and Regular Communication
The number one complaint about real estate professionals is a lack of communication. Real Estate transaction can be very stressful for people, and an agent that doesn’t return messages or calls promptly can exacerbate that stress. That’s why I make a point to answer all calls/messages/emails within an hour unless I am with another client.
I have seen agents dodging clients because they are waiting until they have good news before talking to them. My philosophy is that people appreciate honesty. It’s better to just pick up the phone and tell them the bad news, or that you don’t have an answer yet than it is to wait. While the client may be upset in that moment, in the long-run they will remember you as the agent that was honest with them instead of the agent who dodged their calls.
5. Make sure the Buyer is Pre-Approved
There is a big difference between being pre-qualified and being pre-approved for a mortgage. A buyer can go anywhere and get pre-qualified by simply telling a loan officer what their income and credit scores are. Based on this unverified data the loan officer can give the buyers a letter stating what he thinks they will be able to borrow.
A pre-approval, on the other hand, means that the buyer has submitted the necessary documentation to prove their income, and also requires a credit report. upon evaluating this info the lender will issue a pre-approval along with a set of conditions from the underwriter.
Some lender’s will even go further and start processing the set of conditions with e the property still to be determined. This is the best kind of pre-approval, because the only things left for a seller to worry about are the appraisal and inspection.
6. Attend the Home Inspection
Sellers don’t always expect their agent to attend the home inspection and as a result, many agents don’t. But they should. By being at the home inspection the agent will hear everything the inspector has to say first hand.
Buyers tend to exaggerate the severity of items that the inspector calls out. For example, if an inspector points out that a roof has 4-6 years left on it, a buyer might claim that the roof is in complete disrepair and needs to be replaced. It is important that there is an advocate for the seller present to make sure nothing gets lost in translation.
Some agents may claim that going to the home inspection creates too much liability. But that is simply not true. Simply being present at the inspection does not pose any liability, it is what an agent says that can cause trouble. But as long as your agent just listens and observes without adding any commentary, there shouldn’t be any problems.
7. Meet the Appraiser
It’s important for the listing agent to meet the appraiser at the home. The appraiser may have questions about the facts of the home which the agent can help clarify and remove any confusion.
The agent can also offer insight about the neighborhood and how certain upgrades affect value in that area. This can go a long way to insuring that your home gets a full and fair valuation from the appraiser.
8. Negotiate The best Deal
Negotiating your home sale can be challenging. But good agents have been there and done it over and over again. They know how to negotiate real estate transactions, and the best agents are TOUGH negotiators.
Sellers do not all have the same needs. Some need the highest price possible, some need a long escrow, some need a short and quick sale. A strong agent will be able negotiate the best terms possible, while getting you what is most important to you.