It is tough out there in the real estate market, no doubt. If you do not HAVE to sell your home right now and can't afford to possibly bring money to the table, don't list it! BUT if you are moving to a new area, want to move up to a nicer house in a great market, are having financial difficulties and need to consider a short sale or any other number of reasons to sell - who you hire to represent you matters!
Today's Realtor is required to wear many hats - marketer, sales person, negotiator, closer, contractor, and more! All of those things matter A LOT when you get under contract, but getting a contract depends entirely on someone finding your home and asking to see it. It is not sufficient anymore to put a sign in the yard and a listing on the MLS to get your home sold - it takes hard work and a system that is designed to get your house maximum exposure!
So what are the Top 10 Things that you should ask your real estate agent?
- What systems do they have in place to get your home seen by potential buyers? Is it a priority to them to have your listing exposed to as many people as possible? Do they have a concrete plan for doing so and if so, what is it?
- Do they have a blog? Most of today's Realtors have access to a company sponsored website that is "hooked" to some sort of IDX feed (the MLS). They put their name, email and phone number on there with kudos about what a great agent they are, and that's it! Now that might have been great for you as a seller but what did they do for a buyer? A website is static, sitting there waiting for people to find it. A blog is dynamic and sends out information to the search engines and people who have signed up to get it.
- Do they send out their listings to a database? Do they have a database and if so how many people are in it? I know some agents that don't even have a little list of people they can contact, although they have been in business for years.
- Do they use Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to communicate with potential buyers and sellers? I know what you are thinking, this is just a fad and will pass! I know many people thought cell phones, websites, and the internet itself were fads that they did not have to master. Find out if they are using these tools to get your listing more exposure!
- Where do they post your listing? Do they use postlets or Vflyer to make it internet ready? Are they on Active Rain, Point2Agent, Facebook, their blog, or their website? Does this kind of exposure sell every house? NO! But it will make a huge difference in your chances of someone finding you on the internet!
- Do they network online? Do they have "friends" on Facebook, do they have a business page on Facebook, do they have followers on Twitter? They do not have to have a million, they can have 100 friends on Facebook and still have a great reach because they connect to the friends of those friends!
- Do they network with their peers? Realtors still sell most of the houses in the United States and a lot of those transactions come from Realtors talking to Realtors. Find out if your Realtor attends masterminds or networking sessions to improve their skills and speak with other top agents in your area.
- Do they know what is happening in the marketplace now? Real estate has had some massive changes over the last 5 years and it is vital that your Realtor know what is happening so they can guide and counsel you! See if they are education based so they know the latest information about getting your house to close.
- What is their background? Do they know how to sell? I don't care if they have been an agent for 2 years or 2 decades if they have the ability to negotiate deals, market properties and manage clients I would talk to them!
- Are they willing to try new things? Now don't get me wrong, your agent will not thank you for sending suggestions every day about what to do to market your home and many things that cost A LOT give you little return (like print advertising), but are they reading what the industry experts are saying to do? Are they implementing new things into their business or are they stuck in the old days?
WOW - that is a long list! Will your agent have everything on that list? Probably not and that is OK! As long as they have some of it, take a measure of the person and see if you think they are dedicated to getting your home sold!