Your expectation of a listing agent is to sell your property within your time constraints and for the most money possible in the current market. While we can’t manufacture buyers, what we can do is to increase the odds of grabbing more buyers’ eyes, achieving more showings, and hopefully receiving more and better offers. We can then professionally negotiate the best value possible, hold it together, and close the transaction. If you understand this, you can judge your agent accurately and either correct your Realtor® or reward your Realtor® with a renewed listing.
Top 5 Responsibilities of Listing Agents:
1.Price your property properly
Pricing is not about what the seller needs or wants for the property, nor is it about one’s intuition or the impression the home gives. Pricing is about hard-core research data obtained from comparable sold properties (real value), and then strategically assessing the competition to achieve the seller’s goals. There is no responsibility more important than this. An honest Realtor® will still occasionally be corrected by the marketplace (that keeps us humble) but no Realtor® can pull-one-over on the marketplace. The market is the most powerful force; no one controls it.
We have a saying that the listing agent begins as a hero in the eyes of the seller (great expectations!), but it goes downhill from there, sometimes way down because the end result is less than the dream. On the other hand, a buyer’s agent, begins at a disadvantage without trust from the buyers, but in the end achieves a dream for the buyers, and so ends the transaction as a hero. While it is good to interview more than one Realtor®, sometimes the competition to win the client can cause the promise of price to be overstated. Learn more about establishing value and ask your Realtor® to show you the data to support their claim.
2. Promote your property far and wide
Your listing agent’s commission includes the marketing budget. Be sure your agent uses the resources well to get your property exposed to both Realtors® and the public.
Realtors® are hand-in-hand with most of the prospective buyers in the marketplace. It is important to have a strategy to get your property at the fingertips of every agent in the nation. Ask what Multiple Listing Services your agent belongs to. Ask about IDX (Internet Data Exchange) to get your listing on thousands of agent websites. The buyers agent commission is strategic here. We want to make it worth the effort of the best Realtors® with the best buyers to show your property and then to negotiate in good faith. If we do not reward them well, we might lose the best opportunities. Will your broker put the property on a Realtor® property tour for professional viewing? Will they provide extra information in the agent private remarks section of the listing so the showing agent is better informed when showing the property? Is your agent have a system for setting up showings and assist a busy buyer’s agent? Does your Realtor® have a good reputation in the local community for working well with other agents? Your agent will have several strategies to accomplish these most basic points.
Promoting your property far and wide to the public is essential to insuring that no potential buyer is missed. Today, most of the best places to advertise are online. Review your agent’s advertising plan in detail. You will then be able to hold your broker accountable, and you will know that everything reasonable is being done to help you succeed in achieving your goal. Review the listing itself for completeness and accuracy, flyers, print advertising (magazines, newspapers, local publications), and websites. Will your agent hold open houses? Will there be follow-up calls or emails to get feedback for showings, and more importantly, to learn about obstacles to buying your home? There are many strategies to getting your property noticed. Just ask your Realtor® for their plan.
3. Present your property in its best light
Every home has flaws and weaknesses. Our job is to present your best features and do so in an attractive and professional manner. We hire a professional photographer to beautifully capture your property, which dramatically increases the likelihood that a potential buyer will click through to view your full listing online and eventually tour your home.
We believe that your property should be marketed with photography that is professional, aesthetically pleasing, and true to reality. Too good can be not so good. If there is too much ‘puffing’ in the descriptions, and if pictures create an unrealistic view of your property, then the disappointment experienced by buyers when they arrive at your home will actually destroy any chance of a buyer choosing your property. It takes wisdom to use marketing well.
Read the listing comments and edit the amenities list for accuracy and completeness. Why did you choose to buy this property? It is likely the same reason the next buyer will love your home. Are the flyers enticing, the ads creative, and the most important features floodlighted? A professional learns what appeals to the public and knows what will sell your property.
4. Persuade the buyer of the value of your property
Our intent is to find buyers looking for a property such as yours. When we find prospective buyers, it is to engage them in discussion of your property and persuade them that your property is worth every penny you are asking for it. We lobby for the right person to buy your property, help the buyer to raise concerns and objections, and then we apply what we know to remove these obstacles. This applies to our marketing messages, to the first showing and the follow-up feedback, in the process of negotiating terms and conditions for the offer, and in the transaction (after the inspection).
Sales is assertive, not passive. The process preempts problems, resolves difficulties, and broadens the buyer’s vision of what your property can do and be for them.
5. Persist through all challenges until closing
The process from listing your home to closing the transaction is long and littered with mines. The challenges can be great. Inspections cause buyers to change their minds and kill the deal, but so does ‘buyers remorse’. Appraisals may throw everyone back into negotiations. Closings are late about 30% of the time and coordinating the closings and possession of 3 or 4 transactions that are strung together like a train will stretch patience to the breaking point and require exceptional diligence on the part of your Realtor®. Issues, questions, disclosures (or the lack thereof) erupt at the most inopportune times. Your agent will protect you from most of the stress, keep you informed, solve myriad problems, find key answers, and negotiate skillfully to hold things together and get the transaction closed for you. Most importantly, he or she will maintain their cool and resist reacting to provocations in order to make this happen.