I’ve noticed a trend in my business lately. Several consumers are contacting our team for help in re-listing their home after having a poor experience with a prior agent. While it is true that selling activity in Puget Sound is lower this year than last, there is still some positive selling activity occurring with some areas of Puget Sound continuing to grow in housing values.
So, with there still being some sales activity why is it that these folks are contacting us?
What I’ve seen as key factors in the lagging sales of these homes is poor pricing and presentation of the properties. In one case the price had been overinflated by hundreds of thousands of dollars, plus it had poor presentation in photos and staging, so the home languished sitting on market for over a year.
In the majority of these situations things could have been handled differently with the past agent. And, while I believe that me and my team provide a higher level of service than many others, we know we aren’t the only game in town that can figure out the right mix of marketing, presentation, and pricing for a property. However, in these instances, I do believe the former listing agents could have done a better job – for certain – but, as a seller, it is also up to you to do a good job of interviewing a prospective agent. A few good questions by the seller might have led to a different decision about how the house was marketed and led to a better discussion about what impacts the value of a home. This, in turn, could have led to a more informed decision about where to place pricing.
So, to try and help those of you out there who are considering putting your home on the market, here is a list of 9+ questions you can use to qualify and interview your prospective listing agent.
1. What methods of advertising do you use, and why? Can you tell me which will likely be the most effective? How comfortable are you using Internet advertising methods?
2. Do you think my home will need prep work or staging to get it ready for market? What types of things do you suggest for sellers and why?
3. What is the typical timeline for selling a home that you have represented and how does that compare to the local marketplace? What percentage of selling price do you typically get compared to list price?
4. Do you offer any particular programs or services for each home that you sell such as a home warranty, professional photos, etc? Does your fee determine whether additional services are included or not?
5. If you don’t provide these additional services yourself – do you at least have companies you can refer me to that if I choose to use them directly to prepare my home more effectively, I can do so?
6. Are there any special considerations I should have while selling my home such as security, prep for showings, etc?
7. How often will you communicate with me about the sale of my home? What kinds of reports can I expect?
8. Will I get a chance to review and approve any of your advertising or marketing materials such as the flyer, MLS ad, or otherwise? If not, why? If I am not satisfied with a piece, will you work with me till I am?
9. How will you determine the price that should be advertised for my home? Will you include me in those pricing decisions and explain to me any reasoning for a price above or below my own estimate?
This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive but it will definitely open up a lot of good (or what should be good) conversation between you and the agent you are interviewing. If the agent is unable to respond to any of these questions then you should seriously reconsider whether or not you will use him/her regardless of if it is a “family friend” or otherwise. In today’s marketplace it is important that you make the right choice the first time, if you can. The buying public is much more sophisticated today than even 10 years ago because of the Internet and because of the onslaught of home focused television shows and channels like HGTV.