Picking a real estate agent is something that is often taken lightly. That can be a very costly mistake. Not costly in an obscure way that leads to frustration. I mean in a literal financial loss of tens of thousands of dollars directly attributable to a below par agent.
This also not the cost that results in obvious financial loss. Dishonest dealings, glaring contract errors. These events make it to court or come to the surface fast. I’m talking about swathes of homeowners get incrementally less for their home because of low standards.
The results achieved by the best agents compared to average agents can really add up.
5 Ways An Average Agent Can Cost You Money
Bad Pricing – Pricing mistakes can be very costly and once you have gone live with a price in the MLS the cat is out of the bag. Buyers will forever know what you were willing to accept on that given date. You want an agent that is confident they can deliver on an agreed price.
Bad Photography – The best photographs are professionally taken. Professionally lit with studio lights. Then they should be hand selected and ordered by your agent. The optimum is fewer great pictures. The goal is to entice a showing. Too many pictures confuses people.
Poor Text Descriptions – Good copy is a true skill. People scan listings online super fast. They are looking at price, numbers of bedrooms, location and a few photo’s then bam onto the next listing. That is until they find one. A possible. At that point their focus becomes just a little sharper. They read every line. If your agent doesn’t have a good description of the house you can and will lose interest. That will cost you money.
Weak Negotiations – Negotiation is a delicate dance. It requires tenacity at the right moment and diplomacy throughout. It takes a cool head and a knowledge of when to push forward and when to retreat just the right amount to achieve the best result. A weak negotiator will cost you money every time.
Poor Attention To Detail – The devil is in the details when it comes to a real estate transaction. Small costs can really add up. With an average agent you can constantly feel like they are missing these small details and the costs end up being pushed your way.
Top Tips For Picking A Fantastic listing Agent
The good news is that while there are thousand’s of average agents out there. You can find a great agent. It gives you an almost unfair advantage over other sellers. You just have to know how to find them.
Read The Online Reviews – But with caution. Most reviews are requested from happy clients. You can get some useful information but it’s worth remembering that the reviews were most likely requested by the agent.
Check Active Listings – Zillow and Trulia or any other real estate website will carry listing broken down by listing agent. How the agent presents current listings is how your home will likely be portrayed. Safe to say you need to be blown away at this point. Anything less than perfect is not good enough.
Ask For A Referral – Again with caution. When you ask a friend for a referral understand that most likely they will recommend an average agent. They may of enjoyed the experience of working with their agent but be unaware that they left $20,000 on the table.
Once you have narrowed down the search to a few possible candidates ask them for these data points prior to your meeting. Each listing agent can pull this all directly from the MLS, on their own stats and on any other member.
Total number of listings taken in last 2 years. Number of those listings sold – You are looking for an agent with an above average listing success %. This is a much more informative number than how many homes have you sold. Some agents are good at getting listings but bad at selling them all.
What is your sold price to original list price ratio for the last 2 years – This number tips you off on pricing ability and negotiation.
These data points will give you great insight into whether an agent can do better than average for you. After this information you have a basic idea of each agents competence. From there you will just have to trust your gut on who can get you the best price.
The agent you hire might be able to get you 10% more than an average agent. It will pay to pick wisely.