Would you believe the average income is only $12,000? The scariest part of the statistics is that those numbers are not reflective of the current economy. We do not have statistics out for this year yet. I can almost promise the turnover rate is much greater now and the sold transactions are a lot less. So who and how do you pick an agent to sell your house fast?
Please use caution when hiring an agent if a friend recommended them. I have gone through more agents than my wee brain can conceive. AND, all of them were recommended. The problem here is that just because your friend or family member had success selling their house with that agent, may have nothing to do with the agent. 90% of buyers are finding their homes on the internet. Is it possible that their house was so awesome that any moron could have sold it? Your friend’s agent may not know your area, your neighborhood, your price point, or the market you live in. For example, I do not ever want to work with an agent that is use to listing $500,000 dollar homes if my house has been a rental in a not so good area for and going to be listed under $100,000. They will not be in their comfort zone and probably won’t want to ever go there and show it. Sadly, most will never be honest and tell you this fact. They will gladly take the listing, and sit back hoping someone else, like a buyer’s agent sells the house for them. In the current housing crunch, a lot more needs to be done than sitting back waiting for someone else to sell your most expensive asset.
Agents are the best for giving you the old dog and pony show. This is the main thing they work so hard to be good at it. Once they lasso you in, they get to kick back and wait to see if your house sells. Please do not go with an agent, just because they tell you all of the great things they are going to do to sell your house. Most of it is hogwash and will never get done. If you don’t believe me, ask around and find out how many people had a horrible experience with agents. Even when I get them to put in writing, all of the open houses they will do, the mailings they will send, the places they will advertise, they still don’t do it because they know you probably won’t check on them. When you hound them for the open houses, they will say they don’t work.
I like to look at results. I want the top teams working for me. Who is the team out there advertising „#1 Team in Carolinas“. If the team you choose is #1, they probably have their business down to a system. They probably have people in place to handle all of the different things that come up during the contract period. Plus, I like knowing someone will answer the phone and get me answers quickly. I have had so many one man „teams“, and the agent cannot do everything they need to do to give the kind of customer service people expect. For instance, if I call the agent I hired and they do not answer my call or it takes them days to get back to me, do you think they are answering an unrecognized phone number that is calling on his sign that sits in your yard. Believe it or not, I have had a number of people come to me directly saying they left messages for my agent and never heard back. Now, when you hear this a number of times, don’t you think there is a reason? When you confront the agent, they will give you a great excuse and you will believe it, because you don’t want to fire them and spend more time interviewing other agents. You not firing their sorry butts is house selling suicide! You will not sell your house if your agent does not answer the phone, return calls, follow up, communicate, etc… So, if you have a number of teams you are interviewing, test them. Call their signs, call their ads in the paper. How many times do you reach them or someone from their office? Find out what kind of results they have had in the last three months. Who cares about their results in 2005 when even a monkey could show you results. Times today are totally different.
Once you narrow down your team, I want you to keep your eyes open. What kind of marketing are they doing? Where are they putting their ads? Do they send mailers out? Not the ones promoting themselves. I know you have seen the postcards. They are so big and beautiful, reading something like „SOLD“. When I am selling a home in a neighborhood that is popular for young couples renting, that will be buying, I always send out a „just listed“ postcard. I have sold more houses to renters in a neighborhood or their friends. If the agents will make tens of thousands off of your profit, shouldn’t they do more than just take a few pictures and upload the information on the internet? Think about it…even if they measure and play nice by talking with you for a few hours while listing your house, how many hours do they really have into the deal if it sells? Now take the commission and divide it by their hours into the deal, and I can promise you they are making more than brain surgeons and attorneys.
So you like the fact that they have a team, they advertise, they are number 1 or 2 in your area, they know your neighborhood, now what. Now you will want to figure out where to price your house. Do not just take what they say at face value. Have them show you the active, pending, and closed listings in your neighborhood. Here is a true story for you…I have sold a lot of homes in this one neighborhood. I have sold five, which is good for a small neighborhood. Mine have all had the fastest selling times and the highest price per square foot due to the quality of renovation I do. I decided to list with an agent because I kept seeing her signs in the neighborhood. She was super nice, bubbly, well dressed, well spoken, and very likable. As it turns out, we got a low ball offer from someone that could clearly not afford the house. I knew we would get a certain price point and I countered. She was very upset with me and told me we would never get what we wanted for the house, even though she took the listing and thought we priced it too low, or so she said when she was jockeying for the listing. The offer was $130,000 and the house was listed at $210,000. She wanted me to take it, even though it had not been on the market long and it was priced well. WTH? Is that what you were thinking? Me, too! Since she could not convince me to take this horrific offer, she resorted to the most unethical thing any slimball can do. She found the worst foreclosed sales in the neighborhood to try to convince me to take the offer. She knew that the appraisers would not even use those sales for our appraisal because those were not the norm for the neighborhood since the neighborhood was in demand, and the conditions were horrendous! We are talking black toxic mold, old lead based paint, and about a $100,000 rehab needed. Her desperation to get a sale, at my loss, led to such unethical behavior. Fortunately for me, having been in every house to be listed in that neighborhood in the last two years since investing there, I knew my competition. I knew every house that sold and why. I knew where to price things and what to do to them to make them move. Needless to say, four weeks later, I got a full price offer of $210,000 in a down market. The reason was because I was the best deal based on the condition, size, and price point and the buyer had to have it!!!!
Be careful, and always ask to see the sales. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Do not list your house at a price that is above the other houses. Make sure you read the comments of the sold properties. Were those properties renovated? Did they have features you don’t have like granite or stainless steel appliances? Does their street look better because their neighbors keep up their houses better than your neighbors? Make sure you are priced well, and do not overprice your home. You do not want to be the highest in the neighborhood, even if you have more square feet. People want a deal. If you can price your bigger house that is in better condition lower than the smaller one that needs work, which one do you think will sell? After you have decided on where to price it and with which team, it is now time to do the paperwork.
Do not give your agent an exclusive listing meaning they can tie up your property for as long as they want. Most will try to get you to sign a one year contract. I give them a non-exclusive agreement, meaning if I find my buyer, I don’t pay them a commission. I will reimburse them for a marketing fee or fee for their time, but this needs to be put in writing in the beginning. If they pressure you for the exclusive listing, where you owe them a commission whether they find the buyer or not, only give them a short window like 30 days. Agents will tell you that no one will take either one of those terms, so you say…next! Some agents are now advertising, „fire me for any reason“, just know what that entails and how much you have to pay them if they try to stick you with advertising costs. I can’t tell you how many times I find my own buyer. It is maddening to me because I don’t want to find the buyer because I have other things on my plate. What happens is the agent doesn’t do the mailings, the Craig’s list, the other zillion things to market the property, so I do it and BAM , the property sells. The craziest part of all is they still expect a commission, even though nothing they did worked. I have lost a lot of relationships because I do not like this entitlement mentality. It is not fair to the seller. If anything, the agent should pay you for not working on selling your house. They should pay you for costing you money, time, and stress. Never has one agent even apologized for wasting my time or money. They make it seem like I am the bad guy because I get a buyer. Isn’t it fun, had they only done, what I hired them to do, they would have gotten a buyer as well, but that would require work. I can hear it now, „How dare you expect me to work on your property mister seller.“
The last thing I want to do is scare you. If you have the facts, you can be more prepared in selling your house fast. Many agents disappear once they get your listing. I do believe most are unethical and only care about their own benefits, not yours, even though when they got their license they took an oath to be ethical. I have seen agents not let their sellers in foreclosure out of contracts to sell their own home to a friend or family member, save their credit, and ease hardship because the agent wouldn’t get their commission. If a seller has to lower the price so low, that they can’t pay a commission, but can avoid foreclosure, and the agent did not bring them a buyer, I feel they should be able to get out of that contract. I have seen agents not negotiate on taking less commission to save a deal and make a sale happen. Do not get yourself trapped! Have an out. Know what you are signing. If you do not, hire an Attorney. Go sit down with him for an hour and have him read the contract.
There are some excellent, ethical agents that have mastered selling real estate. The key is for you to find them. You may not like them individually, but if you know they have the most sales, advertise a ton, get back to people quickly, do what they say, and have a good reputation with other agents, than give them a try.
If you only take one thing away from reading this article, make sure it is the following: Do your homework researching and testing agents before you hire them. If you do not, it is your own fault if your agent doesn’t perform and will cost you more than you can ever imagine.
www.homesolutionsgroupinc.com is has been buying and selling houses throught many different markets and would like to share with you some techniques you can use to price your home to sell fast.We purchase houses in and around the following locations: Carolina Beach | Kure Beach | Wrightsville | Beach Bayshore | Castle Hayne | Hightsville | Kings Grant | Kirkland | Masonboro | Murraysville | Myrtle Grove | Ogden | Sea Breeze | Seagate | Silver Lake | Skippers Corner | Wrightsboro and other areas of North Carolina.