Real Estate is a very competitive world. Professionals compete with each other for the good listings or for the perfect buyers; sellers compete with each other for the buyers; buyers compete with each other for the best piece of property (where are those days!); or buyers compete with the sellers for a better bottom line. At the same time it is a beautiful world of partnership - without partnering with each other we would never close any single deal together.
I bet every listing agent in the world heard the phrase like "The other agents charge less" at least ones in their career. However, that's a part of our job description to disclose to our potential seller clients how many of our special skills gained by the years of education, practice and training, how much of our time, money, creativity and passion will be invested in the sale of our client's property.
It' very important to educate our clients on the importance of a real partnership between the seller and her agent in order to succeed with our mutual goal. What is each partner's role in this union? What both patners should do in order to sell the Real property timely and for a top dollar?
We, the professioanl Real Estate agents, should treat our part in this partnership as the agents' fiduciary duties.
There is one item in the list of agent's fiduciary duties which is kind of underestimated by both listing agents who represent the home sellers, and their clients. I am talking about accountability. Sure, we are accountable for our clients' money, especially if it is the buyer's Earnest money check.
In regards of the sellers, however, accountability looks a little bit different. Very rarely the sellers pay up front. Very rarely home selles pay anything but Real Estate commission, which means that usually we, the agents, get paid post factum - after the sale closes. All marketing expenses are on the agents, and, ideally, return on this investment is a good commission check in case of successful closing. Looks like the agents are acountable only before ourselves, not the sellers, because it's the agent money sent, not the client's. Is this so?
How an accountability principle applies to reprsenting the sellers?
Working a lot with the sellers of Real Estate in Greater Cleveland and selling many of previously expired listings, I got to the idea that because commission is a kind of future client's expense, many agents just don't have a clear understanding of how to be accountable for this "future" money. That's why we often see two major approaches among the agents who allow their listings expire:
1) Agent "justifies the value" of her services by paying a fortune to different third parties for unnecessary advertising just to prove that she is doing a job for her client. Accountability becomes a priority instead of the result. Excuses like "Market is slow" or "It's a bad-bad-bad buyer's market" are being produced instead of interested buyers.
2) Agent feels and acts like "It's my money which I invest in your property, so don't even ask me what I'm doing". No need to say that, in the absence of the result sellers get frustrated and feel abandoned and deceived.
The unlucky sellers, on the other hand, may belong to these two major groups:
1) under-managers, who feel uncomfortable asking their agents to report on their actions, expenses and results. Usually, these sellers accumulate disappointments, hard feelings and frustration and are not willing even to notice the un-reported job by their agents.
2) micromanagers, who ask for every step to be reported, who use to control each penny of your Ad budget.
Much better is the clear idea that accountable partnership between the seller and her agent should be based on a good marketing plan, which includes the periodic reports about the actions and results by the agent.
Today's market is sure tough, mostly because it's an era of multi-channel marketing. Today we need to invest much more time, money, skills, and efforts into on-line and traditional marketing of our listings in order to get the best results for our clients. We just can not afford to skip one of the parts of our complex marketing plan.
I adjust my instruction "How to work with new listing" every month - changes are quick and may become critical if you don't keep up with them. I am very glad that the list of free yet valuable Web resources is getting bigger. At the top of my free Internet marketing assistants' list is the Active Rain and Localism. Real Bird is my recent discovery - it works very well! The potential buyers' and sellers' inquiries which come from PluggedinCleveland.com are very good. Beautiful presentations by VFlyer allow my sellers to get their homes exposed to as many people as possible. And leads which come from VFlyer are solid!
Though Craigslist in our area does not work well for sale of the houses, it perfectly works for rent! Another free resource is Talk.Realtor.com blog. Now, dear sellers, please estimate how much time is needed to utilize all these free resources. How much of designers' skills and knowledge of what, where and how to advertise is needed to get the call from The buyer. Even if your Realtor used only free Internet resources, she should've been got rewarded.
The good news for sellers is that we have a knowledge and plan of how to use all channels of marketing which combines free and highly paid Internet resources, newspaper Ad, direct mail, Open Houses, multiplied by the force of professional partnership inside our MLS.
It's not a luck or chance to get your Greater Cleveland house or condo sold on today's market. It's science of marketing and passion of sales by qualified Real Estate professionals.
Need to sell in Greater Cleveland? Please don't hesitate to call Local-n-Global Real Estate Information line 877-770-5551 or just call Svetlana Stolyarova directly at 216-548-4663.