Did I Hire the Best Realtor®?
The most important thing you have to remember when you hire a Realtor® is that THEY WORK FOR YOU ~ YOU ARE PAYING THEM (anywhere between 3% and 8% of the purchase price) ~ YOU ARE THE BOSS! Too many times I've talked with home sellers that have just assumed their Realtor® will do the best for them and have no idea what the Realtor's® qualifications and marketing strategies are. Here are some key questions to ask your Realtor®:
- Ask to see other Listings that the Realtor® currently has on the MLS. Pay special attention to the photos of the homes - is there good curb appeal? a) Are the photos bright and reflect the true color of the rooms? Do they have a "fisheye" look to them? b) Have the homes been prepared properly to sell? Properly prepared homes should have a cohesive paint color throughout, have no clutter, no pets or signs of pets, have strategically placed furniture for optimum traffic flow, and emotional connection points in each room to allow the Buyers to envision themselves living in the home. c) The description of the home is equally important. Does the description paint the picture of the home to make you want to live in it? Does it list all the benefits of living in that home? d) How long have the homes been on the Market? e) How many price reductions were made before the sale? f) How many Open Houses are or were scheduled and who represented the Realtor® at them? g) ASK FOR REFERENCES from former and present clients.
- How did you determine the Listing Price of the home? What homes did you use for comparison? If the home is priced too high, it will not sell until price reductions bring it in range of the comparables. The prices of recently sold homes in the area should be a major determinant in creating the Listing price.
- Is the price per square foot in range of other homes for sale in the area?
- How many homes has the Realtor® sold in the last year in your area? What was the average length of time a home was on the Market before it sold? How many price reductions were made? See what previous clients have said about their Services. Verify their reviews on their website and social media. It is fairly easy to verify their responses through Realtor.com by going to Find a Real Estate Agent on their site. Type in the Realtor's® name and hit Search. You can look up the addresses of the Sold homes in the Home Search section of the site to get more information.
- How many Social Media platforms will your home be advertised on? Face Book, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn should feature different posts about your home at least twice a week until it's sold. Ask to see a Content Calendar with the number and dates of posts to each platform. In today's Market, this step is key to advertising your home.
- Does the Realtor® offer the services of a Home Stager? With "over 95% of potential buyers searching for homes online before choosing which homes they want to view" (2017 National Association of Realtors Staging Report), Top Producers will arrange for a Professional Home Stager to complete an In-Home Staging Consultation with you to guide you in preparing your home to appeal to the most number of potential buyers. Typically this is a 2 hour session in which the Home Stager and you will view your home through the eyes of the Buyer. Read how I describe my Consultation: Comprehensive In-Home Staging Consultation
- INSIST that photos are taken by a professional real estate photographer and ONLY after your home has been prepared to sell. YOU NEVER GET A SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION! A Top Producing Realtor® will pay for the professional photos as part of their service. Again, "over 95% of potential buyers are searching for homes online before choosing which homes they want to view" (2017 National Association of Realtors Staging Report) and in a 2018 study by Google and Zillow, they report that, on average, only 11 homes are chosen by Buyers to tour after looking at homes on the internet - you HAVE to make sure your home is one of the 11!! Too many Realtors® are in a rush to put photos taken with their phones on the MLS which generates the same photos on Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin and Homes.com. You want to make sure that the first photos potential Buyers see are of the highest quality and that your home looks it's best.
- How is the Realtor® going to advertise the Open Houses? What type of advertising will be used ~ Newspaper line ad or a display ad? Will it be posted on all social media or just FB? Will it be posted on Zillow, etc.? Is the Realtor® going to be present or will someone else from their office be there - and if it's someone else, will they be familiar with the home and the area?
- Hire a Home Inspector before advertising your home for sale. Buyers will insist on making a Home Inspection part of the Sales Contract. Do you and your Realtor® a favor and arrange for a Home Inspection before Listing your home! This will allow you to make any necessary repairs and or concessions in advance. It is very frustrating to get a buyer under contract on your home only to have them cancel because a leak under the shower drain that you were not aware of was not disclosed and now they wonder what else hasn't been fixed?....
If you have already hired a Realtor® it is NOT TOO LATE to make sure to get the answers to these questions and more. Remember, you are the Boss and if you do not get satisfactory answers, go to the Broker of the Real Estate firm. In order for a Realtor® to obtain and keep an active real estate license in FL (I obtained mine in 1998 and maintain it as voluntarily inactive which means I cannot sell any real estate. I complete continuing education and am tested on real estate law, business practices and ethics every 2 years to renew it.), a Realtor® must abide by the ethics and rules of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) or face administrative and/or criminal fees and charges. Believe me, if you mention DBPR to a Realtor® or a Broker, you will get their attention immediately! A reputable Broker will make sure that the Realtor® that works for them will answer your questions completely and honestly. If you don't like their answers, see if you can make an arrangement with the Broker for a different Realtor®.