Smart sellers should interview a number of real estate agents in order to find the best fit. Finding someone through referral or reputation is a good start. Experience is key.
So you’ve done your research, selected at least 3 agents to interview – what should you look for next?
- What are your first impressions of an agent when you meet? You’re going to be spending a lot of time with them so it’s important that you are comfortable with your agent.
- Do they have good relationships with other agents?
- Are you looking for someone of a certain age?
- Do you have a preference between a man and a woman?
- How important is a sense of humor, because this is a stressful time.
- Do your personalities click?
- Most importantly, do you trust them?
You decide that you really click personality-wise with the agent you are talking with, so now it’s time to find out a few more details.
- Does the agent understand the current market conditions for your neighborhood and how your property fits into that market?
- Have they sold other homes in your area?
- What services do they offer?
- Will your listing agent help you with staging?
- What is their marketing approach?
- How much do they think your home is worth?
- (Yup, that’s the sticking point for a lot of sellers.)
- Whit Harvey does a lot of listing presentations. He gets about half of them. What are the reasons he doesn’t get the other half? Having worked with Whit now for several years, I think I can tell you why – because he tells the truth. He will tell the seller exactly what they need to do to get top dollar for their home and what he thinks that top dollar will be.
Whit is going to ask his sellers to spend some money in order to make money on the sale of their house. What does that mean? It means this: Whit knows the homes in your neighborhood. He knows which ones have a new kitchen compared to your dated one, who has a fabulous lower level family room while yours is unfinished, and who had to drop their price several times because they were told by another agent that “of course your home is worth 2 million!”
I am always astounded when I hear sellers blaming their agents for not selling their house in the “right” amount of time. Really? Did you listen to what your agent told you? Did you paint when they said to paint, do all the repairs that they suggested, price it how they suggested?
Whit offers advice to all of his clients. “Here is what you need to do to get the price you want. That doesn’t mean that by doing those things you can ask an even higher price, it means by doing these things you will get the price you want. Otherwise, list it lower.”
It is always the client’s choice as to what they want to do based on Whit’s staging and pricing advice. Maybe they don’t want to do any of those things, and that’s fine. As he has told me often enough, “If a house isn’t selling it is one of two things – price or presentation.”
So Whit doesn’t get all the listings for which he interviews. And he is happy to walk away from a client that he knows he won’t be able to help. What he doesn’t want to happen is having a frustrated client whose house he cannot sell. So in that client’s best interest, he will walk away – or if they still want to work with him, he will price it as they like. Sometimes that backfires and he ends up with an unhappy client whose house he cannot sell despite his best efforts.
Out of the past 12 listings that Whit did not take because he would not price it where the client wanted, 11 of those have come down in price, some to the prices he originally suggested. Unfortunately now the properties have been on the market so long they have become stale and potential buyers have disappeared. That is an unhappy outcome for everyone involved.
Reputable real estate agents only have their client’s best interest at heart. There would be no reason for them to NOT do a good job for you. When you succeed, they succeed, so my advice is to listen to your agent’s advice. Listen to Whit.
By Cathy Evans