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What’s the Best Way to Choose Your Real Estate Agent?

What’s the Best Way to Choose Your Real Estate Agent?

How do You Choose a Real Estate Agent that will Stand Out From the Crowd?

Choosing the best real estate agent to help you in the purchase or sale of your home can be a daunting task.  Most agents are spending thousands of dollars advertising to attract your attention.  In many cases, all that gets for you is someone that needs to churn out as many transactions as possible in order to cover the cost of all that advertising.

So what about online reviews on an agent’s website, Yelp, Google or other similar platforms?  That can be a good choice, but think about how useful, or not, those reviews might be.  Generally, a satisfied customer will be happy no matter what and so they will post a positive, glowing review about how great the agent was.

Curiously, I’ve read a bunch of these reviews and rarely find any that include a specific example of how that agent solved a difficult problem, made the seller money, or saved a buyer money.  Rarely do the reviewers talk about how the agent protected their interests, reduced or eliminated stress when dealing with high levels of complexity, or made them feel like education was a part of the process.

And, perhaps part of the reason is that many reviews are just fake.  It’s way to easy to go online, create a personality and write a positive review for yourself!  Even easier is just to have friends and relatives write reviews.  I recently came across an agent’s profile where the only review was written by her husband!  So, are these the kind of reviews you can trust?

On the other hand, what about negative reviews?  They may be more useful on several levels.  For example, I have an incredibly negative review on a website, not from my client but from the other party in the transaction!  I love this review because the reviewer says that I was not representing them and that I was looking out for my client and they couldn’t have their way because it was not what was agreed to in the contract.  Of course, those aren’t the words that the reviewer used, but any reasonable person would understand the unhappy reviewer was simply reflecting how well I defended and protected my client.

So if you are depending on online reviews, then I’d encourage you to read the negative reviews with more interest than the positive ones.

What about the sites that claim to have agents compete to get your business?  Think about this, a real estate transaction is highly complex, there are many laws that govern and a single mistake can cost you thousands of dollars.  As a seller, is getting an agent that will reduce their commission to sell your house in your best interest?  If they are willing to give away their own money that easily just to get your listing, what are the chances that they will truly work to protect your money when it comes to negotiating sale price, terms, repairs and so forth?

But is there a better way to find a really good real estate agent?

Yes, there is!  Notice the people you are in conversation with that are thinking about buying or selling or that have relatively recently completed a real estate purchase or sale.  Here’s another hint, when you are asking for recommendations, if the person just bought a house and you are thinking of selling, that may not be the best agent for you.  The buying process and the selling process have a very different focus, so the best buyer’s agent may or may not be the best seller’s agent and vice versa.

That said, if you want a better experience when it comes to hiring a real estate agent to represent you, call or text 661-375-7325 or email Sally@YourRealAdvantage.com to get my list of the top questions to ask when looking for the best agent to hire.  No cost, no obligation, it’s my free gift for you.

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Your House Is Ready to Show, Where are the Buyers?

Your House Is Ready to Show, Where are the Buyers?

You’ve done all the right things: taken care of deferred maintenance, spruced up the paint, super cleaned and decluttered.  Advertising is in place, agents have visited to preview, but you haven’t had any showings.  What’s the problem?

Ideally, every seller hopes that they will have the house ready to sell and immediately get a call for a showing that then turns into the new owner of the home in 45 days.  One and done!  What could be better?  That’s the ideal, but it is quite rarely the reality.

If your house is ready to show and has been properly marketed, then there is only one reason that you are not getting showings.  Before we get to that reason, what does “properly marketed” mean.  Marketing is now a specifically targeted activity that produces measurable results.  The goal of marketing a house is to create awareness and get attention.  Think of it as a formula:

Awareness + Attention = Showings & Offers

There are many ways to market a house that produces measurable results.  Some of the more traditional methods, like print advertising in newspapers, flyers on sign posts and similar means are less effective because it is very difficult to capture the prospective buyer and provide follow up.  Without the ability to measure response the advertising effort is essentially wasted.  Fortunately, the the internet has grown up to such an extent that it makes targeted marketing relatively easy.

Think of how often you are surfing the internet and all of a sudden an ad appears that is just like the thing you were recently looking to buy.  That’s targeted marketing and that’s what gets your house the Awareness that leads to the Attention it deserves.

If you have the Awareness and Attention but not the showings that lead to offers, then it all comes down to price.  Now here’s another thing to consider, time and price are very closely related.  If you are committed to moving relatively quickly, your house needs to be priced accordingly.  If your house is unusual, has challenges (like undesirable neighbors, other neighborhood problems, etc) then you will likely need to be listed below what would otherwise be fair market value in order to get the Attention to turn into Showings and Contracts.

If you want to learn more about how a pinpoint price analysis can help you do this, call or text 661.375.7325 or email Sally@YourRealAdvantage.com to schedule your no-cost no-obligation consultation today.

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Is an Open House a Good Idea for Getting Your House Sold?

Should You Have an Open House?

Is an open house a good idea when it comes to getting your house sold?  Truthfully, the answer is usually not.  Here’s why….

NAR (National Association of REALTORS®) statistics show that only about 1% of the time does a buyer for a property appear as the result of having viewed it at an Open House.  Certainly, we could easily make the argument that having that 1% chance alone is enough to justify having an Open House but there are plenty of reasons why it’s not a great idea.

Holding a public Open House means that you are letting random strangers in to view the property.  Most of them are probably not shopping for a home at all but are simply looking for something to do and saw the Open House sign.  Those are not your buyers, they are just wasting your time and getting your hopes up.

There’s a much worse aspect to holding a public Open House though.  It can be an opportunity for a potential thief to stop by, get a look at what you have and then know what and where to look at a later date.  Reports show that thieves will even use a showing as a means of scheduling their theft (that’s why it’s a good idea to have your agent insist on buyer pre-approval before scheduling a showing).

Speaking of pre-approvals, chances are really good that a potential buyer that shows up alone (without their agent) at an Open House, probably does not have a pre-approval for a loan yet.  That means they really aren’t a buyer.  They are really just a looker.

So why do so many agents recommend Open Houses to the seller?  Because it’s a great way for them to get leads on potential buyers so that they can make more sales of other properties.  Do you really want to use your home as a platform for an agent to advertise for more buyers for themselves?

NAR statistics also show that about 25% of the time the buyer for a property is by someone who already lives nearby or knows the seller.  Want to find out more about how to leverage those potential buyers?  Call or text 661-375-7325 or email Sally@YourRealAdvantage.com and we can talk about how to put the power of the 25% to work for you.

 

 

 

For more articles in this series, check out:

5 Tips to Make Your House More Sellable

Getting Ready To Sell Your Home? Tips to prepare

What Does Showing Ready Really Mean?

Is Your House Show Ready?

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Is Your House Show Ready?

You’ve done the initial decluttering and you’ve touched up the paint, repaired the obvious deferred maintenance and your house is on the market and ready for showings.  That’s an exciting feeling because now you know all your hard work will pay off!  You believe that now agents will want to schedule showings for their clients and multiple offers will be yours to sort through.

Before we get quite there, let’s review best practices to be ready for a showing.  First and foremost, you really need to keep the house sparkling clean and always ready.  If you work away from home, then you want to turn on strategic lights to highlight the best features in the house and make it feel welcoming.  If you are at home when a showing request comes in, then the best bet is to turn on every light in the house.  Not only does it create a feeling of airiness, but agents and their clients won’t feel the need to touch every light switch in your house!

If your views are awesome, don’t open all your blinds, curtains, etc.  Experience shows that buyers may be distracted by the views and have no memory of the house itself.  This can result in never getting an offer because the buyer doesn’t have any clear memory about what was outstanding about your house.

Do at least partially open blinds to let some light in.  However, if you have plantation shutters and they do not fold neatly against the walls, you may want to leave them closed against the window and just tilt the vanes a little.

Make sure the only odors are neutral.  That is, the prospective buyer should not be able to smell your pets or last night’s dinner.  Do not try to mask any odor with a different odor like candles or other scents.  That just makes it worse!

Here’s a great hint for you to make it easy to get in and out of your house.  If you like me, pull into your garage and then open the already unlocked door to go inside from there, it is more often than not that a showing results in that door being locked.  That has been a disaster for many sellers who are now locked out of their house.  I recommend if you don’t do it already that you make sure you always have access to a house key so you can avoid that common and often frustrating mistake.

Hope you have found these tips useful.   If you want more great ideas for getting your house to show in the best possible way, please call or text 661-375-7325 or email Sally@YourRealAdvantage.com.

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