So, your listing has expired and you're wondering, "What am I going to do?" You want to get this house sold!
The most important thing you can do right now is ask, "Where did I go wrong?" The answer, 99% of the time, is the real estate agent you chose. He or she simply didn't have the skill or mindset it takes to market your home effectively.
Marketing a home takes more than just sticking a sign in your yard and putting your property up on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Any agent can do that. It takes aggressive, innovative marketing to sell your home in today's market place.
What background, experience, awards, knowledge, and skills do you have?
With all the intricate details and critical decisions to be made concerning your home sale, would you rely on anyone but a top producing professional? Make sure the agent has good background including education, experience, awards, and achievements. The sale of your home is a complex transaction, and requires the knowledge of many subjects such as taxes, contract laws, title, escrow, financing, etc. The most successful agent will keep abreast of the latest changes, brings innovations, and uses of technology as an advantage. The length of time a real estate agent has been licensed is not a sure fire sign that they’ve been an active agent. They may have been in business for 10 years but only part-time, whereas an agent who has been in business for 5 years may be a real top producer. Take into account what professional organizations they belong to. The minimum should be a licensed professional who is a member of the local board (Silicon Valley Association of Realtors) and multiple listing service (MLS) as well as the California Association of Realtors (CAR), and National Association of Realtors (NAR).
What is your sales and marketing plan for my home?
It is critical to understand that the marketing and selling of your home is about “Exposure”; exposure to a targeted audience. Each home is unique, therefore the sales and marketing plan for your home should take that into account. The wider your home gets exposed to qualified buyers, the better results you get (getting the highest potential price for your home). Agents who are innovative and offer new methods of attracting home buyers will measurably outperform agents who rely on methods of the past.
Effective marketing requires progressive strategies that add value and service to both buyers and sellers. Simply putting the house on MLS, installing a yard sign, and advertising will not get you the maximum price for your home. These traditional methods are passive. You can often get a good idea of which agents are the most professional by looking at their promotional materials. If their own materials aren’t professional, how well are they going to market your home? Review their marketing materials. Is it well-written and professional? Examine the agent’s system for producing contacts; capturing, and following up with buyer leads. Understand the agent’s network; how wide is their net, and how they work it. Insist on a step-by-step marketing plan of how your property is going to be marketed and sold. Look for innovative ways to attract home buyers. Demand 24-hour marketing, lead accountability, and tracking services. These services exist and you should insist upon them. Investigate the agent’s telemarketing team. Do they just cold call or do they have a mechanism to create proactive leads and call on those prospects?
Will you hold open houses?
Ask the agent if they hold open houses. Open houses are visited mostly by nosy neighbors and “lookie loo’s.” They are inconvenient for you as the seller, and statistics show that they are an ineffective way of selling your home. In fact, open houses do more harm than good in the sale of your home.
What system do you use to show the property?
Showings are the major key to profitability. Appointment-only showings can provide for your privacy, and preparation of the home prior to showing, but they are the most restrictive. Using a lock box is the least restrictive, but showing agents may invade your privacy and you may not have a chance to prepare the home prior to showing. Showing agents may not follow instructions and use the lock box to enter the house at any time without notice. Appointment-only showings can be controlled by the seller or the agent. If the seller controls the showing, then the agent whose job is to pre-qualify the showing agent and the buyer is cut out of the loop. Don’t waste valuable time negotiating, or showing your property to unqualified prospects. Insist your agent prequalifies candidates to screen out all unwanted prospects. Make sure to review and establish the most effective/efficient showing system that works for you and your lifestyle, and at the same time produces the most profits.
How will I get feedback from the showings?
Timely feedback from the showings are critical, because it allows you to understand where you are in the market. How well is your home being received? Do you need to make any adjustments to improve showings and entice buyers to write an offer? Are you priced correctly? Also, the number of “qualified showings” is a critical indicator of the level of exposure your home is getting. How will you receive feedback from the showing agents and the buyers? How will you know of the number of “qualified showings?”
How will I prepare my home?
The prospective home buyer’s first impression is the most important. An unbelievable amount of home sales have been lost due to unkempt lawns, cluttered rooms, bad stains, unpleasant odors… all seemingly little things. The ability to reap additional profits on the sale of your home can be accomplished easily enough if you make the right improvements. Many changes can provide the prospective buyer with enhanced feelings about your home: feelings of more space, more light, more rooms, more closet space, greater privacy, warmth, and security. Basic, simple, and inexpensive improvements can evoke an improved emotional response in a potential buyer.
How do I determine the asking price?
Pricing is the most critical step to selling your home. Take great care in choosing an agent with the knowledge to price your home effectively. Keep in mind the selling price should attract prospective buyers to your home, get you top dollar in the current market, and reflect the condition of your home. Be realistic and avoid “yes” agents, who will say “yes” to any request or price while your home languishes on the market. Just like you would not select a stock broker by how much they can sell your stock, you would not select an agent by how much they can sell your home. Select the best agent with the best services and marketing plan, not the least competent agent with the promise of the highest price.
What contracts do you use, and how do you negotiate?
The skills to initiate, substantiate, and conclude negotiations are the most critical part of any transaction. You stand to lose or gain thousands of dollars in this process. It can also be the difference between going under contract, or losing a perfectly good buyer. The expertise required in negotiations goes beyond the communication skills and knowledge of contractual laws. It also includes interpersonal skills, and ability to work with diversity of cultures.
There are two prevailing forms of contracts used in Orange County by the buyer’s agents. The competent agent should have the complete and up-to-date knowledge of these forms of contracts. The listing agent should be able to understand and contrast the strength and weaknesses of these contracts. Buyer’s agents may be familiar with one or the other contracts. The listing agent should be able to work, negotiate, and guide the buyer’s agent with any of these contracts.
Once under contact, the agent should work actively to close the transaction. In effect, negotiations are ongoing through the close of escrow.
How will I communicate with you?
The agent should establish a communication plan that works with your style of communication to help you understand ongoing status, market condition, showing feedback, and marketing activities.
Have you sold homes in the area, and are you familiar with the area?
How much is the agent familiar with your area? How many homes has the agent sold in your area? The buyer for your home will most probably come from another area, so make sure to select an agent who has sold many homes in many areas. The agent should not only have sold homes and have knowledge of your area, but also should have sold homes and have knowledge of other areas. The buyer for your home is most likely looking to buy in more than one area, and your agent should be able to guide the showing to agents to contrast these different areas. Your listing agent should be able to attract showing agents, and buyers from other areas.
Do you have the necessary support staff and network of resources to help you in the process of selling your home?
Top producers will have established relationships with lenders, title reps, inspectors… everything. They are there for your benefit and if they are ill-prepared to handle all the steps, you are being short changed. Also, by employing someone to handle the details of their business, the agent can spend more time servicing your needs. However, make sure you know how much time an agent will spend and how much time their assistant will spend on the sale of your home. It may be fine if the assistant does most of the legwork as long as the agent is there at the most critical times of the transaction period. How accessible is the agent? Will you be able to call the agent any time and reach them? Or will you be talking to an assistant all the time?
Some home sellers pick a friend or famiy member as their agent. Choose an agent with a strong track record and aggressive marketing plan. A top producer knows the market well and can generate many buyers. Selling your home is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make! Base it on good, sound business sense and rewards will add up.
Before you make one of your most important decisions regarding your home sale, shouldn't you become as informed as possible? By aligning yourself with a top agent you ensure that all the important issues and seemingly insignificant, but very important details, are handled professionally. Your home sale should not be a grueling ordeal. The more informed you are, the better chance you have of making a sound business decision.
We sincerely hope these tips and ideas are of value to you. If there is any way you can be of service, please contact our office. We would consider it a privilege to be of service to you! if you would like a FREE consultation, call our office at: