The spring and summer are usually the busiest times for real estate agents. The weather is warm, people are getting new jobs, and people are looking for homes to buy. Of course this also means people are putting their homes up for sale.
Selling a home is a huge endeavor. It’s probably the biggest personal transaction you’ll ever make. This is why many people don’t try selling their home on their own, so they choose to list it with a real estate agent. Unless you have no real time frame for moving, I suggest that you choose a real estate agent to sell your home, but you must choose a quality one. Sellers often don’t do their homework about how to choose the right agent, and they end up having houses on the market for 6 to 12 months. If you need to sell your home in 2 to 3 months, then you must pick an unbelievable real estate agent. The old adage that 80% of houses are sold from 20% of the real estate agents still holds. You’ve got a few agents making a killing for a reason, and you’ve got a whole mess of agents sitting in their office eating free doughnuts. Here are the top 5 mistakes that many sellers make when choosing a real estate agent that you should avoid making when looking to sell your house with an agent:
- The agent sold more homes than anyone else. Quantity is great, but you need to look at quality, too. Ask them how many houses they listed as compared to how many they sold. Ask them how many houses sold for near the asking price. If the agent sold 30 houses, but listed 100, that’s only a 30% success rate. There could be some better agents out there who listed 12 houses and sold 12 houses and got the best money possible for those houses.
- They had a great sales presentation. You must make sure that you don’t get mesmerized by a great salesman. Just because the person is good at selling to you doesn’t mean he or she is good at selling real estate. There’s a lot of marketing knowledge, construction knowledge, and psychological knowledge that goes into selling a house, so just because the agent puts together a great sales presentation about why you should hire them doesn’t mean they’re the best.
- You’ve got a friend or family member who sells houses. It’s nice if you have a mom or dad that sells real estate who will help you out, but try to avoid the second cousin or the friend of a friend who sells real estate. Chances are that they aren’t very good, and it makes the situation awkward. Most likely, your parent will work hard for you, because they want to make sure you get a good deal and land in a good house, but anyone else might not work as hard for you, because they won’t take you as seriously as their other clients.
- Going with the agent who charges the least commission. You ALWAYS pay for what you get. That’s a fact. Make sure that percentage and price isn’t always your determining factor. If there’s an agent with a higher fee, ask them why they are asking for a higher percentage than other agents you’ve interviewed. The answer may surprise you. They might have better access to high quality marketing campaigns and the extra percentage will help cover those marketing costs.
- The agent seems really nice. Some agents like to take the opposite approach of a salesperson and kill you with kindness. Being nice doesn’t always sell houses, and they might not be good negotiators when it comes down to negotiating price and concessions on the contract. It’s a good idea to pick someone that you can get along with, but try to find someone who looks to be confident and knows when to be strong and hold their ground when the negotiations get tough.
Here are some good questions to ask an agent when interviewing them:
- How many houses did you list and how many did you sell?
- What was the average amount of time that houses stayed on the market before you sold last year?
- What marketing techniques will you implement to sell my house?
- What relationships do you have with other agents in the area?
- How accessible are you when I have a question or concern?
- What tips can you give me to improve my home to show well without spending a lot of money?
- Why did you decide to become a real estate agent?
Selling a home can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to if you have the right real estate agent. The right agent can be the difference between a smooth selling process and a nightmare. To avoid getting a bad agent, you must do some preparation and research when hiring one. Consider these mistakes and ask these questions to ensure you get a quality real estate agent. If you trust the opinion of Dave Ramsey, he has an endorsed local provider program and “real estate agents” is one of the professional areas of expertise he endorse. Click here to check out who he endorses in your area.