Five tips to help you choose the right realtor
Choosing a realtor can either be a positive and lucrative experience or it can turn into a very costly faux pas. Think about how you make other large purchases or investments such as a purchasing a new vehicle. We do our due diligence, look up mileage and maintenance fee’s, pick a vehicle that best suits our needs, kick tires, in short, we do a lot of research before deciding what vehicle to purchase. Why then – would you not invest the same amount of energy in choosing a realtor who is right for you and your needs? Selling a home is likely one of the most significant financial transactions you’ll ever make, not doing your due diligence when choosing a realtor can cost you thousands of dollars of difference out of your pocket – and I’m not just talking the difference in commission fees. We’re here to make sure you have the best experience possible.
Here are five ways that hiring the wrong realtor can cost you thousands:
- Not looking at selling your home as a business decision
- Allowing a realtor to “buy” your listing
- Not examining the marketing aspect
- Not knowing your rights
- Choosing a less than dedicated Realtor
Not looking at selling your home as a business decision
Selling your home is a business decision and should be treated as one. Would you allow a friend and family member, who has never won a case, to represent you in court just because you know them?
We recommend that you interview several realtors, you never know, your friend or relative may end up being the best choice with the best track record and credentials, however, you may want to consider whether your personal relationship can withstand the stresses that accompany a business partnership. Some people can separate business from pleasure while others have a hard time not bringing business to the family functions, or bringing the family relationships to your business relationship. It may be difficult for friends and family to see you as an actual client, especially if you are receiving a deal in terms of reduced realtor fees. Savings up front can be a very costly arrangement in the end.
Hiring a realtor who does more for you may be pricier up front, but it will likely get your home sold faster and most likely for much more money. Perhaps most importantly, if your friend or relative doesn’t live up to your expectations as a realtor, you stand the risk of losing more than just a business contact.
Allowing a realtor to “buy” the listing
Realtors who merely want the listing will motivate you with an outlandishly high list price – this is called “buying the listing.” However, there is a cost to overvaluing a property. A list price that is set too high often results in a sale price thousands of dollars below the current market value. When it comes to pricing, listings that are priced too high have a tendency to sit on the market without viable offers. The longer they sit, the lower their perceived value becomes. If you are quick to make a correction and don’t wait too long to reduce your asking price, you can help overcome this issue, however, if you wait too long, often the damage has been done and a stigma has been attached to your property that can result in a lower sale price. Selecting a realtor who prices your home competitively can mean thousands of dollars more for you in the end.
Not examining the marketing aspect
Today’s buyer is definitely online, they are looking at listings, virtual tours, social media advertisements, and much more. Most buyers are also flooded with print advertisements from competing realtors right in their mailbox. You need to verify the realtor you choose will have a solid marketing plan and will advertise your home across all available marketing channels. At the same time, all the exposure in the world isn’t going to help you unless you pair it with quality photos and home staging.
Buying a home is often a decision fueled by emotion so you need to choose a realtor that understands they are selling not just a house, but a dream, a new lifestyle. The quality and substance of the images used in advertising play an essential role in helping a family picture themselves building a life in your home. Make sure to ask the realtors you are interviewing if they provide sellers with professional home staging and photography, if they do, look at their photography both online and in print to assess the quality.
Your house may look like a million bucks in person but if the photos are of poor quality and full of common photography mishaps, potential buyers may not even view the house. If photography and home staging are not included in the Realtor fees, you will be paying for these services out of pocket. What’s more, if the marketing exposure isn’t up to par, your home may be on the market for an extended period of time, and the longer a house is on the market, the more likely you are to need a price adjustment or sell your house for less than anticipated.
Statistically speaking, homes that are professionally staged are proven to spend 83% less time on the market and sell for more.
Not knowing your rights
Marketing your home is key to selling, however, real estate law is incredibly complicated and continuously changing, so you need to be fully confident that you’ve found a Realtor who understands the content fully. Not only should your Realtor understand the content but they must also take the time to explain everything carefully so that you also understand the contracts you are signing. Real estate contracts are written by lawyers, you need a Realtor who has a marketing team dedicated to marketing and a Realtor dedicated to selling your home. Errors and omissions in a contract can cause the sale to fall through or cost you thousands of dollars in inspections and repairs. Make sure you know which repairs and closing costs you are responsible for and whether there are any issues with the defects in the title to your property.
Title search issues such as unpaid taxes, unsatisfied mortgages, judgments against the seller and restrictions in the use of land can be expensive to remedy. Start with having the Realtor answer some detailed questions about what the terms of your contract with them would be and how they plan to protect you.
Choosing a less than dedicated Realtor
In life we often find ourselves dedicating our time to many passions and careers, we like to try to juggle it all. You may find a Realtor who works as a realtor part time, and as a stay at home parent part time. That realtor may be a very capable and smart realtor but they simply will not have the experience or ability you would find in a full-time realtor. When choosing a realtor, you want to look for someone who can price your home appropriately, have an established network of buyers to view your home, and negotiate the sale for top dollar; these are qualities you will not find in someone who only dedicated part of their time to their business. In the end this will most likely result in you settling for less than what your home is worth.