You’ve made the decision to see if it’s the right time for you to sell your Charlottesville home property. You’re aware of what’s happened with real estate in your neighborhood but you’re not sure if you really need help from a Realtor. Well, the good news is… it doesn’t cost you a dime to find out how a professional would go about presenting your home to the marketplace.
And for some folks who’ve got many Realtor® friends, it may become tricky to choose your agent from among them. Here are some suggestions to level the playing field, designed to make this more of a business transaction than a test of friendship. We’ve received plenty of thanks from people who took the following advice.
1. Invite at least 3 Realtors® to give you a formal listing presentation at your home (one at a time, of course). Lean back and let them tell you their own version of how they will market your home, how they evaluate your neighborhood, and how they will represent you in various circumstances. If they don’t mention specifics of each of those activities…. keep looking. Although it’s important to choose an agent with whom you are comfortable, and it’s important to have good lines of communication established throughout the transaction, …bonding (though wonderful) is not necessarily the best criteria for a business relationship, and the sensitivities of that friendship can actually inhibit your business approach to your sales transaction.
2. After you’ve heard each agent’s personal presentation, it’s your turn to ask some specific questions. Good Realtors® know the answers to all of the following questions without hesitation.
ADVERTISING AND PRESENTATION: How will you market my property? Do you buy print ads in newspapers/magazines, and if so, which ones and why? What is your conversion rate from those ads? Do you conduct Open Houses? If you conduct Open Houses, do you conduct them personally or do you have other agents host them for you? After you put my home on the MLS website, what other online marketing will you do? How many websites do you personally operate and how many does your brokerage operate?
PREPARING FOR MY SALE: How will you go about assembling the information for correct pricing of my home? How frequently do you prepare fresh market comps to keep me abreast of changing market conditions? What is your average percentage of asking price vs selling price? Do you hire professional photographers? Do you offer any “value added” services like offering a 1-year home warranty for the buyer? Do you use a professional “staging” service to prepare my home for the market and if so, do you pay for that or do I? What are my home’s biggest deficiencies for overall marketability? Does your brokerage have any kind of in-house promotion of its own listings?
FOLLOW UP AND COMMUNICATION: How often do you report to me the results of your marketing? Do you share your weekly online summaries from website activity with me? Will you call me at least once a week especially if there has been no activity that week? Do you also work with your own buyers? What if one of your buyers is interested in my home… will you continue to represent only my interests or will you ask me to share your advocacy with the buyer as well? Will you try to convince me to adjust my price/terms to accommodate your pre-existing buyer? Will you take me to other active listings prior to selecting our asking price?
PROFESSIONAL HABITS AND ETHICS: How many times do you work in “dual agency”? Have you ever been involved in a lawsuit? How many days on average is a listing of yours on the market before it has a contract? Will you be available to accompany potential buyer’s agents and their clients for tours of my home? Once I get an offer, will you reveal the existence of that offer to other agents if they ask? Are you present at my closing, and if so, what is your role? Do you discuss any of my personal needs or requirements with other agents either in your office or otherwise? How many listings do you have at this time? Do you have an assistant who handles your paperwork and scheduling? What is your plan if my home generates no interest or no showings in the first few weeks? What percentage of your overall business activity is generally conducted with properties in my price range or similar to mine? Will you show me all of your marketing for my property beforehand? How will you update my listing frequently to keep it fresh?
When you’ve confronted these issues with each of your prospective agents… and heard each of their answers…. you will know which person you want to have for your own agent, and you’ll already know why you chose them.