This is just such a great post by Gainesville, VA REALTOR® & Associate Broker Chris Ann Cleland who presents solid arguments that I wholeheartedly agree with. There's so much more to selling a house than getting a buyer through the door and a contract ratified. So much more!
At such a deeply discounted commission rate as is being advertised in certain radio commercials, it's simply not possible to run a business - unless it's a hobby - without something or someone not receiving the attention it/they deserve. Would you want to list, sell or buy with someone who has to do so much more volume (at your expense) just to cover cost? I didn't think so.
Cost Considerations of Listing Agents
In my marketplace, the suburbs of Northern Virginia, I often hear radio ads touting various approaches to listing homes that make it sound like the only consideration in hiring a listing agent should be based solely on the price they charge for their services. To a seasonsed, professional Associate Broker like myself, it is no surprise that these business models are springing up in a seller's market. When supply can't meet demand, the perception is that it doesn't take as much effort to sell a house. Certainly it doesn't as much effort to get a house under contract, but there's a lot more to selling a house.
Understanding the process of selling a home is key. It's not as easy as snagging any old buyer and going to closing. Multiple offers scenarios do not always bring out the cream of the crop, but a professional, seasoned, local listing agent knows how to drill down to the likely trouble points in a contract and minimize risk. The are many things to consider when looking at an offer.
In our Residential Sales Contract in the Bristow-Gainesville area, there are two choices for home inspection contingencies and two choices for financing contingencies. Not every agent in our marketplace understands the subtle differences and what they can mean to your deal.
Are you truly maximizing your take by hiring a low dollar listing agent? If you believe all listing agents will get you the same result, the answer would be yes. The truth is, not all agents get the same results. Time and attention get lost in a business model where MORE listings are absolutely necessary to run a profitable business when you charge only three firgures, or very low four figures.
When I take a listing, preparation, staging and professional photography is a must. More times than not, I will visit a listing three times during preparation to make sure my sellers are making the absolute best impression. Do you think someone who charges what a teenage low mowing business might make on a weekend during the summer is taking that much time to make sure the marketing is perfect? I also run comps against right before my sellers hit the market. Numbers from our first meeting a month or two prior may be history by the time they MLS ready.
Will your house appraise? Well, if you are working with an agent that barely charges enough to leave their office inside the beltway to come out for one listing appointment to the Bristow-Gainesville area, your results are likely to vary. Why? Because local, experienced agents like myself take the time to MEET the appraiser at the property with an entire package of information as to WHY your home is worth your contracted sales price. Those low dollar agents are unlikely to have that level of committment to their listings. Quite honestly, they can't afford it.
It sure does sound like a good idea to hire someone who doesn't charge much for their services. After all, that money you pay a listing agent comes right off your bottom line at closing. The thing you never hear is that agents that charge more for their services are far more likely to get you MORE money even considering their fee.
Minimal fee listing agents must do a lot more in volume for their business model to work. That doesn't leave a lot of time or attention to detail when it comes to your home sale. When the best results are a must, hire an agent with a proven track record you can trust. In Bristow-Gainesville and the surrounding areas, that is me. Give me a call and I'll be happy to consult with you about what I can do to get you top dollar for your home.
Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in VA
2017, 2016, 2015 PWAR Top Producer
Long & Foster Real Estate, Gainesville, VA
The opinions expressed in this post are those of Chris Ann Cleland, not those of Long & Foster Real Estate®.