8 Things Sellers Should Expect from You
as Their Listing Agent, and 1 More
While we may not always know all the expectations sellers may have – and there’s something to have a conversation about if they don’t share their expectations with you - there are certain things sellers deserve from their listing agents.
You are being hired to represent the homeowner and to act with “a fiduciary duty of utmost care, integrity, honesty and loyalty in dealings with the Seller” (from the California Agency document – your state agency description might be different). Sound simple? Perhaps in theory but sometimes in practice it can get pretty complicated, so it's important to not forget where your loyalty lies, and who your client is.
And your personal or business interests? They should never come before those of your seller.
Reliable & Accurate Information about the Local Housing Market:
Sellers may think they know all about the local market conditions and what this means for their situation, but they don’t. As listing agents we should, of course, provide detailed, reliable, and accurate information about the market as well as explain what this means for their place in the market so they understand the impact on potential marketing time, pricing, competition, and so on.
They may have read certain things about what is happening in the housing market but likely won’t understand the implications for their list price and the local buyer market’s possible reaction. And of course seller expectations about price gleaned from their own research, Zillow, neighbors, or well-meaning friends need to be confronted and addressed since they are commonly way off base. Honesty and the truth is needed here for sellers!
The Truth, not Only What They Want or Hope to Hear:
Sellers might not like it, but they deserve to know the truth about the market, their house, the value of their property, the condition, and related matters. They expect results, not promises to get a price that is not realistic or is just a way of snaring the listing. And they may need honest guidance on how to best prepare the home for the market, or perhaps a staging consultation from another professional. And once the listing is live and there are no offers or feedback is not favorable, sellers may need a reality check and advice about what to do next.
This all goes hand in hand with representation and performing your role appropriately. It’s not always easy, since some sellers have a tough time hearing the truth, or believing it. That may impact a decision you have to make about the listing and the relationship.
There are many strategies to marketing a property successfully and a reasonable expectation of a seller is to understand, in a detailed manner, what you are going to do to accomplish the goal of selling the home at the best price and in the shortest time. Sellers deserve to see a written marketing plan that is targeted for their property and the likely buyer population.
Photos and Videos:
The bulk of home buyers are looking online at listing and their expectation is plenty of photos, inside and out. Our job is to deliver that. Top quality photos are essential these days to showcase your home and its best features, and attract the attention of buyers so they want to come see your home.
If you include videos, they should, of course, be well done, too. We all know we are marketing a lifestyle, including the neighborhood, not just the seller’s house and they should be aware of all that we are doing on their behalf.
It goes without saying that clear, honest and regular communication with the seller is essential. No doubt the seller has preferences about the form of communication they prefer…text, phone, voice mail, snail mail, email, skype/Facetime…just as you do and it makes sense to have a discussion around this.
Lack of communication is one of the biggest complaints sellers have about listing agents and you certainly don’t want to be “one of those” agents they talk about at the dinner table or with friends as they bemoan the fact they hired you or wonder why they never hear from you!
Enthusiasm and Interest:
I imagine most sellers want to feel their listing agent is truly interested in their needs and goals, is listening carefully to them, and is excited about marketing their house. If you come across as a ho hum agent they might interpret that to also mean ho hum marketing and lack of real interest in helping them. "Thanks but we’re not interested" might be their response. And deservedly so. It's all about them, remember?!
Negotiating the Best Offer:
We all know it’s NOT just about price but terms and conditions as well; sellers may not understand this nor have given it much thought before listing. First of all they need guidance on what to consider when evaluating an offer, with perhaps even more assistance if there are multiple offers since that gets complicated with all the different issues to ponder. What should they do when the first offer comes in when they are not happy about it? Should they counter or not? Of course all this is ultimately their decision but some discussion and guidance so they understand their options, and the risks and implications of different decisions, is in order so the seller can make an informed decision.
Some negotiations may be fairly simple while others can be complicated and lengthy. The end goal is to find a win-win situation; we can hopefully help sellers not get bogged down in minuscule issues that can derail the process, keep focused on the larger goal, avoid emotional decisions if possible, and to decide when it might be time to say no.
And as a bonus, throughout the process there is the customer service – how we do things, when, anticipating issues, taking care of the little things, and more. Is YOUR service Gaspworthy?