Three questions to ask real estate agents before listing you house for sale.
I hope it is obvious that when you are looking to hire a Realtor to sell your house, there are a bunch of questions you should ask the many brokers who are lining up to get the job done for you. You have probably noticed that there are more than a few articles giving you a huge list of questions that are equally obvious. This is not one of those articles.
As a Realtor who works with both home buyers and sellers, I have a lot of opportunity to experience the things that bad real estate agents do that hurt their clients. This article is about helping you avoid those agents.
In order to give your home the best opportunity to sell for the highest possible price and in the shortest possible time, the home needs to be priced in market, well presented, and marketed aggressively. Every agent will tell you basically the same thing. Every agent will also tell you how they will do those things.
What they won’t talk about, is how important it is that they make the transaction as smooth and easy for buyers as they are trying to make it for you. The reason for this is because actions they take can exclude just as many buyers as a seller leaving the house messy during showings. How? I will answer that as I talk about each of the four questions.
Question 1- Does the listing agent use a showing scheduling service?
Even Realtors that do, don’t like to brag about it. The reason they don’t is because we typically are marketing ourselves as customer service specialists and they don’t want to sound like they are pawning work off. The truth is we use showing scheduling services because they enable us to provide better service to our home sellers. No matter how much we try, no one can answer their phone every time it rings. There are even times when it is difficult to get a call returned within a couple hours.
So knowing that, picture the scenario. The real estate agent is sitting with a home buyer, calling to schedule houses to show. All of the homes that are set up with a showing scheduling service go quick and easy. The last one does not us a scheduling service, so the agent has to reach out to the listing agent. The listing agent can’t get to their phone at the moment. It’s ok, the buyers agent can just call their office. Nope it is after 5 (when clients can take the time to sit with us)… so the office is closed. The buyer who is eagerly wanting to go see houses says, “You know, that house isn’t my favorite anyway. Let’s just skip it.”.
It happens with buyers all the time. Don’t lose those potential buyers before they even see your home. If a listing agent doesn’t use a showing scheduling service, don’t use them. They are limiting your homes selling potential.
Question 2- Do they pay a full buyers agency commission?
Real estate commissions are always negotiable, and every agency and realtor has their own business model. The market trend as real estate is impacted by the decentralization of information brought on by the internet is for commissions to be getting lower. My own company lists homes at 5% versus the 6% or 7% that has traditionally been charged (and still is by the big box stores) to list houses for sale.
But while we are reducing overall fees charged to the seller, there is something that has to be considered. Realty sales are cooperative. The buyers agent is paid out of the listing commission. That commission is referred to as the BAC, or buyers agency commission. Traditionally, the listing and selling agent have split that commission, but it isn’t mandated in any way. It is just how things have gotten done.
Lets consider a scenario. You list a house for sale. Wanting to save money you list with a company like mine that lists for 5%. But instead of paying a BAC of 3% (which is the most common number I see on the MLS, or BLC as it is referred to in my market), the listing agent makes it an even split and advertises the BAC as 2.5%. A buyers agent is making a list of 8 homes to show a client. They find 10 that are similar. Of the two that get pushed off for another day (or not to be shown at all), where do you think the one that pays a BAC of 2.5% ends up?
It isn’t ethical or legal. No agent will ever admit that they do it….but it happens.
Our agency solves this by paying an uneven split favoring the buyers agent. Why? Because while I am marketing the property, I need every agent out there working to sell your home…and I know that I get the best results by paying them to do it…not by counting on them to be as ethical as I am.
Long story short. Ask any potential listing agent what buyers agency commission they pay. Know that the answer they give is important when getting the most opportunities to get your homes sold quickly and for top dollar.
Question 3- Do they utilize all venues to market your home for sale?
Real estate companies have a love hate relationship with the large commercial web search portals. They profit off of our work, and don’t compensate us appropriately for it….but at the same time, the marketing they provide is invaluable for getting homes sold with the best bottom line.
Because so many companies find that the large portals are infringing on their product, they do not allow the homes they list for sale to be marketed on them. With roughly 50% of all homebuyers finding their home through an internet search, what do you think the affect of your home for sale being excluded from the largest home search websites does to your chance to sell your house for the most money and in the least amount of time? It clearly is not helpful to you as a home seller.
So ask them if they limit marketing in any way…especially as it concerns the big commercial sites. I would name them, but I don’t like them either…I just do what is best for my clients regardless.
The way your listing agent does business affects the sale of your home…. and there is a lot more to getting your home sold for the most money, in the least time, and without all the stress than just being a flashy suit salesman. If you want the answer to these and all your other questions to be that I am doing everything possible to get your home sold fast, for the most money, and without the stress… give me a call. I will get that done for you.