There comes a time in every home owner's life when you've outgrow your current home. Maybe you're ready to retire. Or maybe, you have a new vision in mind. Your job is taking you elsewhere. Sometimes life's circumstances simply bring us here. But whatever the reason, it's time to sell.
When you bought your home, you probably did it for a number of reasons. Perhaps, you wanted a place to call your own. Or, you wanted to start a family. You put quite a bit of thought and preference into that home purchase. Or even if you didn't, you heard that buying a home was an investment.The smart decision. Instead of throwing your money away on rent, essentially giving it away to someone else, you chose to invest in your own future in the hopes of making a monetary return when the time came. That was a smart decision.
So now, when it comes time to say goodbye to your home, the one you've spent all your time in, made memories in, and put a piece of yourself into, you should once again make the smart decision. That means choosing choosing the right Realtor. This is probably one of the most important things you can do to ensure your desired outcome of that sale.
So, what is that desired outcome? Well, in this day and age, I think the answer is pretty simple. You want to end up with the most money in your pocket in the least amount of time with lowest amount of stress possible. Does that sound about right? Of course it does. We live in a time of right now. We want everything fast and efficient and of course to save money and more importantly, make money.
But where does the Realtor come in? Why do I need one those people to sell my house? I can just as easily throw one of those signs in the yard and put it on the internet. It all sounds so simple, right? Well, if it were, then we'd all be rich! We would all be Realtors; selling homes like hotcakes. Not to mention, the average agent would be making more than $42,000 a year, selling only a few homes. (National Association of Realtors 2017).
So, it seems like even Realtors don't know how to sell homes. Why would I hire one? The truth is, it's all about hiring the right Realtor. And no, not a service that will take your money, put your home into the Multiple Listing Service and never talk to you again; a real Realtor. But isn't that what a Realtor does? Don't they just put my home into the MLS, and put a sign in the yard and sell it? Yes, some Realtors do that, but that is not the one you are looking for. You're looking for the one, remember?
Yes, it's true, just like dating, you are looking for the one Realtor your connect with. The one who makes you feel comfortable. The one who listens. And most of all, the one who is going to aggressively sell your home. This means doing much, much more than putting it into the MLS and putting a sign in the yard. I mean, anyone can do that, right?
Right! So here are the things your best candidate should know:
1) They should want to meet with you and get to know you and your home / property very well. A good Realtor is there for you. They understand that selling a home is not about the sale. It is about you. For a good Realtor, it is a passion for helping people. It is important that they take as much care and diligence as if it were their own home. They should get to know you and what your goals are for you, your family, your financial well being, and your future regarding the sale of your home. You should never feel obligated or intimidated.
2) After all, your home is yours and it belongs to you. A good Realtor should not only understand this, but show you through their actions. This means, allowing you a free, no penalty release from any listing agreement. It's your property and you should be in control of what happens to it. If you feel at any time that the services your Realtor has promised are not happening and they have not tried to make it right, then there is no reason your home should be tied to them. You should be allowed a new opportunity with someone else. A good and honest Realtor understands this and owns up to their shortcomings without you having to pay for it.
3) They should have a plan. That plan should be laid out to you in plain words so that you understand it. They should be able to tell you, in general terms, exactly what they plan to do to get your home sold, aside from putting it into the Multiple Listing Service and putting their sign in your yard. Their plan should involve every step of the home selling process and a plan to communicate with you during this process . Even if the Realtor does not have years and years of experience, if they have a good, solid plan and a consistent model that works for them and they can communicate that to you in a way that makes sense, then you should feel good.
4) Their plan should include marketing and data collection! Think about it. Every single day, from the moment we wake up until the moment we fall asleep, we are bombarded by advertisements. These advertisements are marketing that is spreading the word about a product you may want, need, or be looking for. Our society is engrained in this. Companies put millions and billions of dollars into marketing campaigns to make sure their products get sold. The more people who see their product advertised, the more likely they are to sell. This is the same with real estate, only it doesn't cost millions. This is what sets Realtors apart. The average Realtor will simply put a sign in your yard and put your home details with pictures into the MLS. Trust me, you do not want to pay an average commission for this; anywhere between 2.5% - 10% of the purchase price of your home. That is not worth your money. There are services out there that will put your home into the MLS for a flat fee and a fraction of that cost. And though your home will most likely sit there, because no one is marketing it, it's more cost efficient than hiring a lazy Realtor. A good Realtor will have a solid marketing plan and that plan should be made very clear to you. They should provide you with some sort of pre-listing informational packet that outlines the marketing services you will receive. After all, you are paying for their marketing services and should know what they are. Your investment is banking on it.
5) Communication and feedback are essential to the entire process. If your Realtor lists your house and you never hear from them again, then you have a problem. You should always be able to reach them or have them return your call. If you find that you aren't or they never get back to you, then you should contact their brokerage immediately and let their broker know of your dissatisfaction. It's time to find someone new. But, I digress. Your Realtor should have a plan for communicating with you. You should establish together how you prefer to be communicated with and how often. Either way, you should be receiving updates on a regular basis. This idea takes us back to the more general idea of successful companies and their marketing. Each and every day, companies collect data and feedback on how their ads are doing; how their product is being received by the market. The market is not just some obscure entity made up of numbers, graphs, and statistcs, it is a living and breathing entity made up of real human beings. Real people, like you and me, we are the market. In real estate, the market is made up of real people who are looking at and purchasing homes. They are using a Realtor to take them inside these homes and decide whether the home is the right fit. They tell their Realtor what they did or did not like about the house. And this usually will include their reason for not making an offer. If you have your home listed for sale with a good Realtor, then your Realtor will have some way of collecting this buyer feedback and communicating it to you on a regular basis. This helps you to adjust your listing and make it more desirable to buyers. If you are getting no showings, then your Realtor should communicate this to you and go back tot he drawing board. If you are getting a lot of showings, but no offers, then once again, you come up with a new plan together based on the buyer feedback. Your Realtor should understand this process and communicate it to you on a regular basis.
6) The open house can be one of the best and most important means of spreading the word about your home and all it has to offer. A good Realtor understands this and will not refuse to provide this service. But holding an open house is so much more than just putting some signs up and inviting people into your home. This too involves marketing, feedback, and talking to real people (those who make up your local market). This means talking to your neighbors, inviting everyone in the surrounding area. Your neighbors might know someone looking in your area. They too might feel invested in selling your home to others in the area without even knowing it. A good Realtor should spread the word about your open house in a numbers of ways both locally and globally (via the internet). Out of town buyers may be scheduling a visit and see your open house! The possibilities are limitless. A good Realtor uses every avenue available to make sure your property gets seen. And after the open house, they will provide feedback from visitors.
7) A good Realtor will understand how to price your home. And not only should they understand how to price it, they should make sure that you understand how they know. In fact, they should include you on picking the appropriate price point. They should provide you with the proper and current data so that together, you can come up with that ideal price point. That data should consist of recent and comparable sold, pending, and active properties in your neighborhood or immediate area. This helps both you and your Realtor to be realistic with your asking price. A home that is priced with the market, will sell more quickly and will ensure that the owner nets the most money possible. Pricing a home too high, means few showings and little interest which can inevitably lead to multiple price drops and can begin to look less appealing to potential buyers wondering, what's wrong with it? Pricing it too low means that you miss out on money that should be in your pocket. Does this mean you and your Realtor should not price at the top of the market? Absolutely not. A good Realtor will collect feedback quickly and help you to adjust the price in a timely manner that will not look unappealing to potential buyers (going back to why regular feedback is so important). But what about Zillow? Zillow can tell me exactly what my home is worth, can't it? Unfortunately, no. Sites like this may be able to give you a ballpark, but not a specific and ideal selling price point. The algorithms used are more general and less specific. They are more numerical than knowledge based. And while numbers are always very helpful, there are extraneous (alternate) local market variables that are not taken into account. A Realtor's analysis will be far more specific and include these other variables (real people and real market variables) making it far more precise.
This sounds like a lot right? And it is a lot of work. So let someone else do the heavy lifting so that you can live your life. Like any other specialty; mechanic, doctor, architect, ect. , a good Realtor understands the science and art of what it takes to not only get your home sold in a desired amount of time, but also put more money in your pocket than if you sold it yourself, even after their commission is paid. They have the time, energy, knowledge, and passion to help you get the most out of your sale. They make sure only pre-qualified, serious buyers are coming into your home. They're their not only to take the burden of selling your home off your shoulders, but to protect and ensure your investment. That is the smart decision.
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