You are getting your house ready to sell. Perhaps you’ve already started to depersonalize your home, take out personal items and belongings. You’ve started to get rid of old books, furniture etc that you won’t need to make your house attractive when showing to buyers.
While you’re doing all of this, you realize, that perhaps you should starting looking for a real estate agent. Perhaps you liked the one that sold you your house and you’ve decided to call them. Perhaps they’ve retired, or perhaps there wasn’t something about how the deal went down that makes you want to look around before you decide.
Real Estate agents used to have a tarnished reputation as being sleazy out for their own personal goals. There may be the odd one out there but most real estate professionals are ethical and want to do the best job they can while selling your home. BUT here’s what YOU need to look out for while you’re searching for the right agent for YOU!
They Want to List Your House FAST!
Every sales person has monthly and yearly sales goals to meet. Real estate is NO exception to this.
Real Estate Agents have Monthly Sales Goals to Achieve
When I went on staging consults to give sellers recommendations of what they need to do to get the most money from their house, several real estate agents have told me not to suggest too many renovations so that they can get the house listed fast. In some cases, this may not impact a seller for getting more money on their house, but in other cases, it would have a big impact if the homeowner had done more to their house, like even painting their house or putting down new flooring, the house would have sold faster and for more money.
In some situations, its a timing issue and the realtor wants your house listed fast while the market is hot. However, in some situations, the real estate agent just wants the listing up fast so he/she can get it sold as it counts for their monthly goals. If you feel that putting in new flooring, or painting the main floor will add value to your home and increase the amount of money you gain from your home, then you should do it. My next door neighbor had their house on the market a couple of weeks before we put our house up for sale. They rushed to put it up unstaged. We were getting our house ready to sell at the same time. We put hardwood flooring down on the upstairs to make it consistent with the rest of the house. And painted the entire house. Very similar houses, side by side. Actually their house was a tad bigger. Our house received $80,000 MORE than the house next door. For many people, $80,000 is a year’s salary.
Some Realtors will cut corners to earn more commission for themselves
- Many realtors try to stage the house themselves which in the end looks like a poor attempt at staging. It does not look professional and thus the house does not show to its full potential.
- They recommend paint colors for the house when they’re not qualified to recommend paint colors. Often they choose colors that are popular but not taking the house elements into consideration making the house look stark or feel off.
- When interviewing realtors, compare their commission rate to what services they offer. If they are charging a higher commission than most, they need to be offering more in services. Likewise, with a lower commission, expect to do or pay for some of the services yourself, or go without.
Twice. Think 10 Times Before You Hire Your Friend, Wife’s Cousin or Son’s Teacher
Over a year ago, I was asked to stage a house that had been previously listed for 4 months and had not sold. It was listed in the spring market which is the BEST time to list but it still had NOT sold. The house was still up over the summer, unsold. By the time fall market hit, the young couple was starting to get very nervous because they had already bought a bigger house. They just had their 4th kid and a truly outgrown their starter home townhouse. To top it off, they had hired their best friend, who told them to get rid off all the pictures off the walls, and paint the entire main floor white. The house looked like hospitals used to look like. Stark, plain white. Even hospitals have more life to them than their house did.
This lovely family, had to pack up their young family every time their was a showing. This went on for months, and by the time fall rolled around, they was a real danger that this young couple was going to end up owning two homes. The story had a very happy ending where they fired their best friend, hired this dynamo realtor who hired me to stage the home. The house sold within one week. Unfortunately the family went through alot of unnecessary stress if they had chosen a different real estate agent in the beginning. Needless to say, the relationship between the two friends couldn’t survive the stress and strain of the situation.
Hire a Real Estate Agent that WORKS in the Neighborhood
Check out your neighborhood to see if there is a prominent real estate agent that works that area. Agents that focus on a certain neighborhood are invested to do well in that neighborhood. They will focus on the needs of the seller because they want to get more listings in the area, and they want to make sure they’re reputation remains solid. Local agents that focus on the area know their area well and typical do a good job in their area.
Agents Outside Your Neighborhood Do Not Have Solid Knowledge of the Houses in Your Area
A couple of years ago, we were getting our house ready to put up for sale. The next door neighbors beat us to it and put their house up BEFORE ours. Something you do NOT want to happen. You want to be first! So I did what every neighbor would do in that situation!! I went to the open house, went through my competition’s house, and pumped the real estate agent for as much information as I could without giving away too much information!!!
The agent was an out of town agent, and went by the comparables for prices. In another words, he hadn’t gone through any homes in the neighborhood and was just relying on sold listings to get his information for pricing. On top of that, the house was not staged. The house was FULL of furniture and every room was a different color!!! The result? Their house sold for $80,000 LESS than our house!!! That should NOT have happened. Their house was slightly larger, and had a bigger back yard!
Sometimes sellers will hire agents outside of their neighborhood because they know the agent and trust them. However, the downside is the agent doesn’t know the neighborhood well. They don’t know the homes and what work & renovations that have been done or not done to the house. Therefore, even though they have access to the listing, they don’t know individual houses well and could UNDER PRICE your listing which means it sells less for what it could have like my next door neighbor’s house that hired an outside agent. OR an outside agent could OVER PRICE the house like my lovely couple with four kids, and the house could sit on the market for months unsold!!!
Interview At Least 3 Real Estate Agents Before Making a Decision
When picking an agent, get recommendations from neighbors in your area who have successfully sold their home. Check out the local realtors who’s signs you see OFTEN in your neighborhood. Interview. Interview. Interview. Ask the hard questions! They’re working for you! They need to earn their commission! Don’t let them use pressure tactics to sell you. This is what they’re good at. You want that quality in a realtor so that they’ll close the deal for you when its your turn to sell. But you also want someone who watch out for your needs, put their experience to work, and sell your house for as much money as possible and as quickly as possible!
There are alot of really good agents out there! I’ve worked with the best! But in the end, the agent is working for you. You need to listen to their advise, but also you need to listen to your gut as well!
Welcome! I’m Debi Collinson. Stager. Stylist. Real Estate Investor. In 2006, at the request of a realtor, I staged my very first home. Staging houses was just starting to become popular. I watched every staging show on HGTV that I could find. I was very nervous staging my first house, but the sellers liked their newly redesigned home so much that they turned down an offer for full asking price. I went back to design school and have never looked back. Since 2006, I have been staging & styling spaces to make them look like they belong in a magazine page, and buying “fixer uppers” to fix up & either sell for a healthy profit or to rent them out. Sign up to receive my e-mails of how to make your home stunning, how to sell your house for top dollar AND how to become financially independent one fixer upper at a time!