I really pride myself on giving good advice, even if that advice is not in my best financial interest. I feel that I owe that to my clients and customers and expect that from those who perform services for me. As I get older, and hopefully wiser, I am realizing that life is too short to miss out on the many opportunities to help others have better, more meaningful experiences, especially in my area of expertise. It is this spirit I write the following memo.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. H. Seller ("H" for Hypothetical, creative huh!? ;o),
When I do my daily review of new listings, or go through my buyer listing notifications, I am utterly shocked and dismayed at the way your property is being so lazily presented. Dimly lit photos, a lack-luster property description and a severe deficiency of the most basic and important information are just a few of the gleaming short comings of your property listing. Did you ask your listing agent how your most significant investment would be presented? Did your listing agent offer a detailed marketing plan and pricing strategy? Did your agent offer suggestions on how to prepare your home for market? Did you discuss staging? It appears that none of these critical things were covered, but perhaps that's because the listing agent is your friend and you just took for granted all of these things would be done. Or perhaps you thought because the agent works for a large franchise that the marketing plan was already figured out for your specific home. Or maybe it was that you decided to hire an agent that was referred to you by a friend and automatically thought they were the best person for the job. The unfortunate fact is that your chances to complete a successful transaction were hampered before you even began. You may be asking yourself, how should I have gone about choosing the right agent? I thought you'd never ask!
Hiring a friend can work out beautifully, but only if there is a clear understanding of expectations in the beginning. Asking friends and family for referrals is great way to find a candidate. If they are willing to refer an agent, then their experience with that agent was likely a good one. Look on the internet. Agents that work for companies with high ranking websites are a better than average bet. It indicates that the company has spent a lot of energy and resources to make sure they can give maximum exposure to their listings and has hired agents that can perpetuate this effort. Once you have identified a handful of suitable candidates, using whatever method you have at your disposal, make sure you interview them as you would any employee. They are, after all, working for you to get your property sold! Ask a set of standard questions and compare their responses. Ask them to show you their marketing plan and a mock up of how they will present your home. Ask them to see other property listings that they have marketed and sold before. Review their CMA, get their pricing strategy and be certain it makes good sense. Ask how they would stage your home or what improvements would be best and why. The more questions you ask, the better informed you'll be about the person and the plan, and at the end of this process you will have made the best decision.
I'm in the business of helping people make the best decisions!