May 25, 2016 by Jeff Lowen
Let’s get the story straight…
- Your home was on the market for four months.
- You got a few showings, but really not much to speak of.
- Your agent kept reminding you to lower the price.
- Did a couple open houses, but no shows other than nosy neighbors.
- You had to let that dream home go, because you needed to sell first.
- Am I ringing any bells??
All joking aside, it’s no fun when your home doesn’t sell. Especially in this market! Agent after agent touts the hot Spring market, homes are flying off the shelves and buyers are waiting in line. Why not yours?
Where is everyone? How come the three houses that were on my street sold while mine was on the market? My next door neighbor said he sold his house in three days!
Believe it or not, scenarios like this happen all the time. It’s estimated that nearly 55% of all homes that go on the market, end up NOT selling!¹ How is this possible? Some go back on the market and sell, but these statistics are sobering.
The truth of the matter is this: The real estate industry is a smorgasbord. You could sell a home in Washington, D.C. today, and just a month from now, go to California and buy a home – and have two completely different experiences. Even if you use the same major real estate company!
You see, real estate agents all over the country run their businesses as they see fit. Sure there are common practices, non of which are really a business standard. There’s no real estate police that will make sure your experience is great here… And there. Or just a good experience at all. Hence, this is why you see homeowners trying their luck at selling their home themselves. The infamous, “FSBO.”
So, how can you ensure you get a good, no… ‘Great’ experience? It starts with a couple things. Firstly, how would you choose a Realtor? Is it necessary that they be a “Realtor?” All that means is the agent is a member of the National Association of Realtors. They have a code of ethics, most larger brokerages insist in membership for their agents, but how does that help you, the consumer? You’re still reeling because all the promises that were made must’ve fallen on deaf ears!
You read through articles on HGTV, MSNBC, real estate newsgroups and forums, but the only thing you can see, other than a few similarities, is that advice is as stable as the agents that are part of the industry. Every agent, every company is “The best!” Every agent can sell your house for ‘Top Dollar!’ And so the saga continues. No wonder Chuck and Sally Consumer toss all the agents in a bucket and pretend they’re pulling a rabbit from the hat.
Unfortunately, this isn’t where I can give you a magic prescription and all your troubles will magically go away. I can however, offer some questions for you to ask that are far, far over and above the normal ones you hear about open houses, brochures, print ads, internet ads, a pretty sign that has a big picture of ME, but it’s hard to read anything else… Twelve questions to be exact. Next time you consider using a real estate agent, be sure to ask these questions. Let’s take a look…
- What’s the difference between marketing and advertising a home and how does this difference affect me?
- What are the specific elements of your home selling and marketing strategy that affect the selling price and the time my home will be on the market?
- Do you require a pre-inspection and that my home be staged before I sell? If not, why?
- With the Internet being the first place that most buyers look for a home, can you identify for me the best Internet property marketing methods and why they work?
- What reporting do you make available that show how many unique visitors are seeing my home on the various websites my home will be marketed on with you?
- Do you have any information that details what home buyers find the most useful when it comes to a property-marketing ad and what motivates buyers to respond to it?
- Can you identify for me what buyers on the Internet say is the number one reason they choose an agent for buying a home they found on the Internet? What in your business reflects that you understand this fact?
- Do you have a marketing budget that outlines how you’ll spend your resources to market my home and earn your fee?
- What is your strategy to attract qualified buyers from the various sources available today and how will you work to attract co-op agents so they show my home over other homes in the market?
- What is your negotiation strategy and how can I count on you to negotiate from a position of strength than one of weakness? How can you assure me that the home inspection will not “blow up” my transaction at the very last minute?
- Can you identify how you and your team will work to handle my listing from the minute you take it until the day that it closes? Also, identify for me the different departments of your company and show me how they benefit me in the sale of my home.
- What do you do, if anything, to ensure that the leads you generate are going to timely manner so that we don’t miss out on any qualified buyer prospects?
Now, I don’t know about you, but these questions get me excited! The ability to showcase real experience, training, strategy and professionalism should make the agent you work with sing with a proven system that speaks… No, yells the answers to these questions.
You see, I’m a proponent of the consumer. Real estate is one of the few industries where an first year rookie agent can command the same fee as a twenty year vet. Yes, there are many variables that we could go into, but the way the industry works today, it’s up to you, the consumer to come to the party well armed, so you can make the best decision for you and your family.
I hope these questions give you some ammunition!
¹According to the statistics compiled by the National Association of Expert Advisors.