Who Knew??

phoggieJuly 1, 2010

Who knew just picking a realtor would be so stressful????

I haven't had any sleep for several days since this process has started...I hate to see the basket case I will be after the showings etc. begin... I have had 3 or 4 agencies come visit our home each day for three days and thought it would be easy to pick one after all of the interview questions I had outlined for them....WRONG!! I happen to seem to have a "favorite" agent in every company...might just have to draw a name out of a hat~~ Any suggestions on how you arrived at that "special one"? Did you choose an agency with just 3-4 Realtors and you know them all, or one that has 10-12 and you might only really know one of them? THANKS.

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I'm am fortunate to have a good friend who I trust to list my house with, but if I didn't have her, I can feel your pain.

Personally, I think I'd go with the agent/agency who had listed/sold the most houses in my area. Some realtors just really know and can market a particular development or area. I can name off the top of my head 2-3 realtors who's signs I see all the time in my area - I would go with one of them.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 12:07PM
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Sounds to me like you're looking at too many agents.

NONE of them can be perfect.
But MANY of them can be very good.
So you're setting yourself up for a difficult decision process.

At this point, I'd STOP interviewing! ;-)
Maybe make yourself a spreadsheet or table and narrow things down.
Maybe give yourself three categories? Great, Good, and Less Good.
Then split your quest in half, looking for both:
-- a top Brokerage -- One with lots of exposure in your area, lots of professional agents, lots of listings, and
-- a great Agent -- One you had a good rapport with, one who knows your market well, one whose pricing and selling philosophy you instinctively agree with.

The winning agent would be a Great Agent from a Great Brokerage.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 11:04AM
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Also, one who "gets" your house. In our case, we had an "okay" house, but the yard was very special. We picked the Realtor who understood where the appeal of our property was as opposed to the ones who focused on whether the bathrooms had tile or not. We sold in a month, BTW.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 12:38PM
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When we were looking for a realtor ....we hired the one who sat across from us at our kitchen table and answered the question of why should we sign her. She said;
"I will sell your house!"

We signed with her and she sold our house within 48 hours.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 3:57PM
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Getting/having the most listings is not always a positive sign. In a MLS system, just getting the listing usually gets you half the commission. Some agents work at getting listings and do virtually nothing to actually sell the house. Instead they rely on someone else selling it.

I suggest looking at the candidate's web sites and MLS listings. Look for an agent who presents your property will a decent but not florid description and good photographs. An agent who doesn't include enough photos or includes poorly composed shots is not what you need.

An agent who works for a company whose web site requires potential buyers to register just to see a listing or listing details should be shown the door. That is really an egregious practice, yet it is all too common.

An agent should also be well versed in the negotiations part of the process, and have a thorough knowledge of the local industry players, such as financing entities, title companies, home inspectors, etc.

You want someone who can spot trouble and deal with if effectively before it becomes a major problem, not someone who will do nothing but shrug her shoulders when the deal goes south and say, "Too bad, but that is just a difficult company to deal with."

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 2:53PM
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I think I did everything wrong when picking my Realtor. I choose her because I 'liked her.' She was warm, friendly and soft spoken...none of the things I think they are supposed to be! She wasn't even from my area and not very familiar with it.

But I could call her and she'd always call me back immediately. She took all the photos for the listing and we spent hours going over them and retaking many before finally listing them. She would answer emails quickly and follow up on any concerns or questions I had.

She was not the best negotiator, but would let me handle it and many times would just forward my emails to the buyers agents.

Took 5 months until a contract, but I don't think (with this market) it would have happened faster with someone else. We became friends and she helped us find our new place.

Her personality sold me on her. I needed someone I could feel safe, comfortable and trust. She was all those things and I felt it the first time we sat down together.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 1:06AM
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Some thoughts from our recent 3 year house selling/house buying marathon ;)

Although some of the skills overlap, I do think that some realtors are better at marketing and selling a house, whereas some realtors are better at interfacing with buyers. A realtor might come heavily recommended as a great realtor, because they are successful at marketing and selling homes, but not have the personality or interpersonal skills to make buying a home with them a great experience.

If you are selling, then definitely look at the quality of the photos and descriptions that the realtor has on their listings. Some realtors really have a knack for taking good photos and writing charming descriptions. Some lack the knack.

The first realtor to try to sell our home was great, for the first two months. When it didn't sell right away, he clearly lost interest. Buyers would knock on our door and tell us that our realtor wouldn't return their calls and ask to see the house. Unfortunately we had signed a long contract with him, I think it was a year. If I had it to do over again, I would have shortened the term to maybe 4 months or something, just to see how it went.

Our second realtor was new and really out to prove himself. He got us offers right away with aggressive marketing, but some of the offers were from people who didn't have the financial ability to buy. He maybe didn't have much "seasoning" and got all excited as soon as a buyer said "we want it" ;) Also, the closing was not really smooth, again, he was new and it showed.

As for buying,

If you are looking for a realtor to help you buy a home, then going to a lot of open houses gives you an opportunity to meet and talk with a realtor without making a big commitment until you are sure,

I have to say that I was pretty disappointed in the crop of realtors here. After a particularly negative experience with a buyer's agent, we decided to not use one.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 1:09AM
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We just went thru this. We decided to interview 3 agents. All were with reputable firms, had several listings & 2 came highly recommended by friends. We "liked" all three of them, but there were some deciding factors:

1) Preparation. 1 came with outdated comps that backed up a very low asking price - roughly $50K less than the other two. We had been told they sold a lot of houses quickly & I guess that's their strategy.

2) Experience. 2 were relatively new to the business. The upside was extreme enthusiasm - which we appreciated - and both were excited to list the property. The 3rd was very experienced & knew our neighborhood very well.

We went with Agent #3 & had an accepted offer within a week. We chalk it up to luck & perfect timing. Our agent did not bring the buyer, but I feel the house was priced fairly & marketed well - however briefly - and we're happy with the results.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 8:59AM
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Have you asked them for referrals? I also interviewed three agents -- all strangers to me personally but who had good reputations in our area. I asked each to bring with them a list of referrals from former sellers whom they wouldn't mind me calling for a reference.

Realtor #1 didn't bring them, but said she'd email them to me the next day. It took her 3 days. Realtor #2 also didn't bring them, and never did email them to me. Realtor #3 brought a long list. I called five and they were all glowing reports.

I also noted how enthused the realtors were about my house. I had been working on it for months to get it in "show condition." Two of them didn't ask for a tour til they were don with their spiel and then acted rather blah. The third realtor said "Well, let's see this house!" enthusiastically and actually acted like she liked it.

Realtor #3 sold my house in 40 days for nearly full price!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 6:43PM
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Thanks for all of your advice.....was very helpful.
In the end, my husband finally helped me...although in the beginning, he said it was "all up to me".

We picked a listing agent for a small agency, but who has sold the most "high-dollar" homes in our town...and ours if considered among them for this size town. We do believe that she is agressive in her sales and follow-ups and was back with us within 2 hours with comps and figures.

She has taken over 70 pictures and going to put them in a virtual tour on MLS...I'll post site later if you want to see it. So the sign is up, and we are a GO~~~~ cross your fingers and toes for us...and thanks again.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 11:01AM
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Good luck to you! Sounds like you picked a winner.

So far our potential sale has been painless. We had a great inspection last week & the buyer is not requesting anything from us. Appraisal dude was here today & hopefully it will be OK. He said that he didn't anticipate any problems. So, I'll cross my fingers & toes for you, if you'll do the same for us!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 2:47PM
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Hi caulk king~~

GOOD LUCK to you also~~~ I hope your appraisal goes well for you. Our "potential buyer" will be back in town late tonight....hope they want to come see it tomorrow....but I know I can not get my hopes up too high....a long way to fall!! Keep us informed~

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 10:14PM
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Well as luck would have it.....we picked a realtor, got it all listed, pictures taken etc....and then her husband took seriously ill and was gone for 3 weeks. It only has been shown twice....but since it is in a higher price range, it won't get shown so much here in this little town with its deflated market.

If you would like to view it the site is: www.jckshomes.com.....it is the first one to come up...$342,000 with dark brown brick (I don't remember the listing number). Some of the pics, I wish I had cleaned out pantry and storage more (really shows up in pics), but it is what it is.....and hopefully her husband will gain his health soon and she can get back on trying to sell it.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 8:11PM
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Phoggie, have you considered telling your agent that it's clear she hasn't time to devote to her listings right now and you'd like to cancel? I don't think that her husband's ill health have anything to do with the lack of showings, since buyers would come with their own agents and not yours, but it does appear to prevent her from giving your house the attention it needs. If you don't want to cancel the listing with this agent now, how long are you willing to wait?

By the way, your agent did not post any additional photos on realtor.com, but only the basic four. In your case, they're just two nearly identical front exterior shots and two fairly similar rear exterior shots with none of the interior. The very large group of photos on her company's website doesn't do your home much good. Many of them are more about your furniture, clutter or vehicles than about the rooms. The shot of the jackets hanging over the bench makes me think you don't have a coat closet, and other pictures also leave a negative impression. Your agent should have scheduled a date for the photos after you'd had time to declutter, neutralize and prepare the house, and then should have focused on the space and not the contents. Sorry if I'm being harsh, I just point out these problems because they have nothing to do with her family issues but are indicators that perhaps she isn't as skilled a real estate professional as you may have believed when you hired her.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 11:53AM
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rockmanor~~ Thanks for your response...I am going to email the realtor this morning and ask her to remove the "clutter" pictures...jackets hanging, inside pantry, put-out shelves, inside of garage, store room, etc.
Also I will check out realtor.com and see what she did have listed there and note that to her also.
THANK YOU for noting these things....I guess I am too close to the forrest to see the trees...so appreciate another person's point of view.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 10:29AM
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Phoggie, do make sure she stays on top of the realtor.com site. That is where I did 95% of my searches for homes I wanted to look at, not from various realty company's website. It is incredibly important to hit the right note on Realtor.com. I instantly bypassed anything with less than 3 or 4 pictures, and I instantly gave something more attention if it had more than 4 or 5 pictures. I can't tell you how many times I came across a house and thought, "what the h*ll was this realtor thinking?". And make sure she uses proper grammar, syntax, spelling, and capitalization on her entries. She does not on her company's website.

Agree with rockmanor about some of the pictures. The ones I find to be odd are of the side of your house showing two proportionately puny crabapple trees along some sort of cut-through semi-public sidewalk. Those pictures make everything look more like an apartment complex than a home.

And the pictures don't put together a "narrative". When I finished looking at all of the pictures, I thought, "There's a lot of rooms in this house", but I couldn't think to myself what the house was ABOUT, what its character was, and I couldn't "place myself" in the house. Some wider-angled shots are needed.

IMHO, I'd leave out the piece about professionally landscaped. It does nothing to sell the house, and it would be a turn off to someone like me who loves to garden. Not to mention, the landscaping is run-of-the-mill, and not too inspired, and I think when people hear the words "professionally landscaped" they think of an enchanting and unique garden.

I'm not being harsh, I'm simply looking at it from a buyer's perspective (in this case, me, as the buyer. I pretended like I was going to buy your house LOL).

It is a beautiful house, though. Congratulations on building a wonderful house for you and your husband. I can tell you have taken great care of it.

Good luck, I definitely want to see a post from you in the next month or so that you sold the house! Those are always good endings!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 2:20AM
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krycek~~~Points well taken.....thanks.

I emailed my realtor with the suggestions that you and others have made...but so far, no response...I might give her personal call today if I don't hear back.

Oh how I wish you are right....I'd LOVE NOTHING MORE than to be able to sell this within the next month....but nothing is moving here right now. This city over-built, thinking the military was coming back....and they didn't, so a huge surplus of houses on the market right now.....but keep hoping for us....THANKS.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 11:02AM
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