Battle of the agents
I'm not satisfied with how things went the last 2 times I sold a house, and attribute it to my not taking enough time to pick the right realtor, so swung the pendulum the other way to OD on the screening this time and try to develop a better understanding of what makes a good agent.
I'm including a lot of detail below for those who may be treading the same path in the future, but I do want some input from all of you as well, to help us make our final decision.
I picked 10 to interview (yikes!) as follows:
1 contacted me from our FSBO listing
2 are recommendations from friends
1 is the agent we used to buy
3 are Dave Ramsey ELPs
1 is the only area discount broker (5%)
2 are super high performers
I called each and asked if they wanted to view and then return to present numbers and marketing plan or do it in one visit. 3 picked the one-visit option, but none of them would commit to a price during that visit and said they needed to come back.
Feedback was 100% positive on the inside, exceeding everyone's expectations, which were based on previous sales price and/or knowledge of home when it was listed before. They showed varying degrees of scrutiny vs. "enjoying the house" (I was more impressed with the former, because we want critical feedback.) Near unanimous feedback that the front doesn't scream high end, but only half came up with concrete, usable suggestions.
We eliminated 6 of the 10 agents we interviewed for one or more of the following reasons.
--Didn't have a specific marketing plan for our house, just the generic MLS listing + fluff.
--Way too heavy on the sales pitch/too little listening & too much talking/couldn't answer my concerns well.
--Couldn't explain the rationale behind their pricing recommendation, or were hard to pin down on what their recommendation was.
--Any random red flags, like fudging numbers to exaggerate their volume, or where their answer seemed contrary to accepted wisdom in the industry ("it's critical to advertise in the grocery store magazine!").
--Unimpressive listings, whether poorly edited photos, typos in the listing description, failure to pay for enhanced listings on realtor.com (2 said they were a "has-been" web site).
Here's a summary of the pros/cons & stats of the 4 finalists. Your opinions would be most appreciated.
Team H: Husband/wife team that have focused their strategy on picking off expired listings and FSBO, getting the sellers to do what's needed, pricing them right, and negotiating them well.
-Very solid presentation, the best at walking us through the details of how they'd bring it to market, market it to the agents most likely to have buyers, negotiating strategy, etc.
-Good grasp of the numbers, and transparent about info: ran live MLS reports while we were there, slicing by whatever we requested. Could envision a good collaboration with them over pricing, showing, market stats.
-#30 in # sold, #46 in $$ sold YTD.
-Avg DOM 109, 96% list:sales average
-6 current listings. Focus on the listing side, only take buyers if they've worked directly with them before.
-Not much experience with high-end (they focus on mid-range), potentially balanced with the attention they'd shower on it because it was their diamond listing.
-Photos/visual tours not knock-out, but could compensate with our excellent photos.
Agent S: Focuses on higher end buyers.
-9 years experience
-#22 in # sold, #10 in $ sold
-Solid presentation: clear, rational methodology behind pricing (similar to mine)
-Listened to concerns intently, clarified, responded
-Lots of experience with higher end buyers
-7 current listings, does 70/30 buyers/sellers
-Will hire pro photographer (has him picked out) to show our outside in the best light
-Had the most thorough critique, even came up with a couple minor things on the inside
Agent M: High performer
-#2 in sales in area
-Very businesslike and direct, not sales-y, felt on the same wavelength. Presentation/interview done in 1 hour without feeling rushed or truncated.
-Marketing background provides weekly stats on how internet listings were viewed, tweak photos or descriptions accordingly
-Team, but all seller contact with her.
-60-70% buyers, does lots of relocation, said 30% of sales are duals.
-Best answer to dual agency: hands buyer off to member of team so more arms-length.
Team C: Highest performer
-#1 in sales in the area, 9 years in the biz
-Mega type-A, competitive personalities. They took my simple questions and turned them into longer-than-needed answers, both talking over each other at times. That was annoying.
-Very hands-on, do their own open houses, stock their own fliers, call showing agents after each showing personally instead of relying on email.
-"Try everything for everyone" marketing approach: open houses, agent tours, print, internet. Don't know what works, so they just do everything, to exhaust all possibilities.
If it weren't for their sales history, their aggressiveness would probably take them out of the top 4. It still might, but they're still in for now.
So all of them except Team C I felt very comfortable with, and confident that we could work together collaboratively to sell our house (Team C could probably sell it too, I'm just not sure I'd enjoy working with them, and not sure how collaborative the process would be). I'm going to check references on all of them.
What think you about the differences? Do we want the hungry ones who are itching to prove themselves on a higher-end property? The high performer who may not have as much time for us? The doctor-schmoozer, who really knows what the market wants? All input is welcome.