How do you find a good Seller's RE Agent?

weedyacresNovember 30, 2010

I know what makes a good buyer's agent, and I've had a couple good ones. But I haven't had good luck with either of the two homes I've sold in the past 15 years, as judged by how long they took to sell.

My questions are:

1. What does a "good" agent do for a seller that a mediocre one doesn't? The MLS is the biggest marketing tool, and they all list them there. It doesn't seem to me that they can do much to drive traffic through or make people love the house or make offers. When I've bought houses, it wasn't because any agent talked me into it.

2. How do I tell, when talking to agents, whether they'll meet the criteria in #1? They all have fancy books showing big marketing plans. But how do you glean the wheat from the chaff?

I guess my underlying feeling/worry/question is whether seller's agents really add value enough to merit their commission.

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bleigh

I have NO idea. Seems to be pretty difficult to find a good one. Thought I found one and he's not responsive at all. Supposed to have emailed me my listing paperwork yesterday at 4 pm and it's 10:39 next day and still haven't gotten it. Need it all done and turned in tomorrow for him to pick up our listing. My current agent is pulling her sign today and I'm feeling a little wonky about the new guy. UGH!!! This is our first house to sell and the experience is pretty sucky. Totally understand it taking a while to sell, but I don't understand agents that don't do their job. Good luck to you!!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 10:49AM
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notto

It's difficult to find top people in "any" profession.
I read somewhere that there is an 20/80 rule.
Twenty percent of people are great in their professions, and eighty percent of people are not so good. You always hope that you go to the top doctors, lawyers, accountants...realtors.

I would go with a a good producer, who advertises a lot. You want your realtor to place your house on as many websites as possible, like 9-10. Many today try to cut corners and place it on the MLS and one other one, because it's expensive to list your home on various sites. Only the realtors who have a good monetary padding through the Recession can afford to do that.

You hope that your realtor is liked by her/his colleagues so they cooperate or try to show your listings. This is a tough one because it's a cut-throat industry.

Word of mouth helps.

There is always 2 sides to that coin. Many times sellers are uncooperative and think their house is worth more than it is. This principle negates everything that a realtor tries to do to sell a house. The house sits. The realtor is blamed. You will not listen to the realtor's suggestions, so they avoid you. Then again, you may get a bad apple and he/she may avoid you because they're lazy.

Get 3 realtors and interview them. Have them do comparables. Do NOT go with the highest listing price. That may be a trick to get you to list. Ask questions. Have them give you their plan how they will market your house. Get specifics. Ask for their track record. Ask what has worked for them. Think about it. Get it in writing. EVERYTHING is negotiable, that includes the commission, the showings, the open houses, the feedback,the websites, the brochures...what each of you will do to make the sale happen.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 11:36AM
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aloha2009

I used to sell real estate myself so knew some of what to look (and look out) for. We sold our house last year and I had a wonderful experience with a seller's agent but you have to do your homework.

We almost went with the buyer's agent that we had for our new purchase (we owned two homes for awhile) as he worked out well for that purpose BUT when it came to us selling, it wasn't going well from the get go. It was a difficult decision as we had developed a more personal relationship but we ended up going with someone else just prior to us listing. Remember this is a business transaction.

We interviewed several applicants (they were getting a hefty commision off of $500,000). Knowing that the MLS is in their favor, we talked commissions and what they would do. The realtor that I found was one in which I had posted directly to where we would be the selling agent and they would be the buyer's agent in which we would save on a commission. He called and it was his energy over the phone that I allowed him some time to come over and talk with us (ask anyone that knows me, I'm not an easy sale). Though he was young, his hungriness to get the listing was unmistakable. I called up his referrals and I asked what made him stand out (which proved very true for us too). We hired him. When filling out the contract he actually talked us into a higher sales price then we thought we should go (which we leveraged with giving him a higher commission if he pulled it off. By the way the other realtors that gave us estimates didn't think they could go quite that high. All this was AFTER we had decided on him not before (some people get swood by someone that can get more for their house). He was so adamant though, we figured we'd try it at the higher price.

End result, we had a bidding war over the house and sold it within a week for basically the full price! Throughout the week, he emailed us a few times a day and talked to us as appropriate. We were informed at ever turn. In fact his son was born the day the 3 offers came in and you wouldn't have thought he missed a beat (though we felt a bit guilty). Though we had others that were more seasoned realtors, they seemed tired and mechanical. Go with a true salesman but make sure you follow up with their references. Good luck

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 12:45PM
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sojournervt

If you want to sell fast, a REMAX agent, everything else being equal, is probably best. He/she has their own money invested and reaps the highest percentage of the sale. An agent that keeps in touch is what you really want. In a poor market, RE agents are only human,; they start to believe what buyers and other agents say. If it is negative...ie) price to high...bad color..."brown" you want that feedback.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 11:36PM
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earthworm

So many true things stated here.
Greed does play a huge role, that and bad attitudes.
I'd like for our lawmakers do something in this area.
Reform is needed, but I have doubts if they are capable of this.
Its nigh impossible for a man to know what his property is worth.
Why not try an auctioneer?
Or, if you really wish to sell, do so privately.
Here, I was lucky, the purchase of the cars and the last two houses were without the hassle,cost, and interference from real estate or used car agents.
Buying and selling itself could be a more pleasant experience.
ReMax ?
Probably no better than the others.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 9:10AM
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annainpa

Well, there's no "one size fits all" as far as what makes a good selling agent. Referrals from satisfied friends who sold homes in hopefully similar price range and area, would be a good start. It's true that a lot of agents listing presentations are similar, and that if you're also not connecting on a personal level with any of the agents you're interviewing, that it can be hard to "sort the wheat from the chaff."

So much of the success of selling happens in decisions and acts that you and your agent do in consulation before you ever go on the market. Which comparables are picked and what adjustments are made and full supply and demand (absorption rate analysis) are key.

A good agent is or uses a good photographer and helps you stage or works with a stager if needed so that the pictures show at their best. A mediocre agent takes pictures with a cheapy non-wide angle lens that show laundry baskets on top of dryers, toilet lids up, pet food dishes with pet food trailing out, etc.
A good agent has absolutely accurate information on your property,measures the house themself or has a reliable assistant do it, and will make sure you've provided them with at least a years worth of utility information before the sign goes up, so all information a buyer might need is immediately ready. A mediocre agent doesn't put down room sizes in the MLS, or relies on your guestimates or a previous agent's if the home was listed before.

Don't want to go on forever--but there is a difference.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 12:14AM
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weedyacres

Thanks for the advice so far. My biggest problem with getting referrals is that the people that have (successfully or unsuccessfully) sold have left the area. But I hadn't thought of calling agent-provided referrals.

Sounds like it's key to go over the comps and pricing with a fine-tooth comb, and browse their listings to see if they've staged their other listings well.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 10:07PM
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jane__ny

Annainpa, gives good advice. It is exactly what we did when we listed our home. We called a few people who sold with her and she spent a month working with us before listing. She was fantastic, had a lot of connections with other agencies and was able to 'pull strings' many times to get showings.

She had a stager sent to the house who advised us, referred a host of people to help us get work done. Her handimen were fabulous and experienced in getting a house ready for sale.

The photos were so professional, we didn't recognize our home in the photos.

It was a difficult market to sell a house but we got a contract in 4 months.

We adored her and still do. Whether she would be a good buyers agent, I'm not sure. But she was a fabulous sellers agent.

Jane

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 11:00PM
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