I hope you get a chance to read and print out the blog attached to the link below before any further interviews. Good luck.
To be completely honest, trying to sell a home within this market is an upward battle for many homeowners. Location always dictates price, however, many homeowners do not realize that the condition of the proprty also dictates offers. Abingdon is a very nice area where a lot of buyers are currently looking to move due to its close proximity to major routes, shopping, and restaurants.
What you need is an agent who can be completely upfront with you in regard to pricing your home and staging it yourself for showings. Most homeowners already have all the necessities to make their own homes stand out above other active homes within the area. All it really takes is a little effort from the homeowner to make their home look as if it is a home that another prospective buyer would want to make their own. Keeping the home as clean as possible and de-personalizing is a must. Removing excessive clutter, re-arranging furniture and opening shades and window treatments for showings will make your house appear larger and brighter, which is very welcoming to buyers.
Another key component that goes hand-in-hand with maximizing your showings are pictures. Pictures are absolutely priceless to most buyers in this market. When an agent sends a listing to a buyer via e-mail and there are no interior pictures, it automatically gives the buyer the sense that the home probably does not show well inside and therefore they should not waste their time viewing it when there are a lot of other listings within a particular area that do have quality interior pictures readily available on display.
In today's market, over 90% of buyers begin their search on the Internet. Most use the widely known site Realtor.com to start their searches. If your agent is not a subscriber to this Web site then no interior pictures will be displayed, which will hurt your possibility of a showing. There are also many other Web sites that buyer's use to search for active homes (i.e. zillow.com, homes database, hsaplatinum.com, craigslist, etc.). You want an agent that can syndicate your actual listing to all of these sites for maximum exposure.
If you have any other questions in regard to selling your home or would like to schedule a one-on-one consultation, please feel free to contact me. I currently own a home within the Monmouth Meadows development in Abingdon and know the area well.
Thanks for your time,
Home Selling Assistance Platinum
Any claims I make to a potential client I can back up - either with awards I won with my company (that are listed on my company site), or state awards and recognitions I have won - all are verifiable - if you aren't sure - ask their broker for verification! If they mislead you in any way - scratch that name off the list.
Remember, it doesn't have to be the number 1 person in the company, but it should be a top agent who is experienced and has extensive knowledge of your area. Ask what percentage of business they do as a listing agent, as compared to being a selling agent.
Once you have the "experience" question taken care of - see who you feel comfortable with - see who presents him or herself in a professional way....with a straight forward approach and comprehensive marketing plan. You don't want someone who will tell you what you want to hear - you don't need a cheerleader...but you DO need a hard working, competent agent with a degree of enthusiasm and assertiveness, who will stay on top of things, keep you informed, anfd work as a team with you to get the job done. Make sure they will give you feedback on all showings, and update you on any market changes as they occur .
>> How do I find out if they are the top producers when they all say that? They are #1 in their company!!
I'm sure ... :-) How sad. Ask each of them for their sales figures for 06, 07 and 08. # of homes and total revenue. And were these their listings or were they more on the buyers side? You want a really good listing agent - one that is great at marketing.
The Broker (one who owns and runs each office) is the one to talk with about this. Be very to the point with him - you only want to only interview their TOP 2-3 agents that are GREAT at marketing and listing homes. He should be made aware (but politely) that you are interviewing at least one other firm (that you will not name - as "I'm sure you wouldn't wish your name used, etc").
You see - if you don't select one of his agents then it is VERY likely that he loses your business entirely. The broker gets Half the commission for that side of the transaction (say you do a 5% contract then he gets at least 1.25%). Granted it is "possible" that one of his agents will also be the Buyers agent if you go elsewhere but much less likely, right? And if he gets your listing then he'll push his office hard to also find the Buyer - so then he gets 2.25% (or more). Ahah!
So ... if you go to him and just want to meet his top producers - period. And he knows that he will be competing for your business ... he would be an idiot to gamble on losing your business, right?
Does this help?
Thanks for the additional info. Here goes round two.
>> I had an agent which didn't realy help me out much. She kept on reducing the price and didn't have the latest pictures on her site, even though she had a proffessional photograper take pictures! finally last week I asked her how many properties she had sold last year, and this year. She told me 3 last year and 3 this year. That was all I needed to hear. She also told me she had me on the internet and didn't know what else to do to get this house sold! So I fired her on Wednesday April 1.
Good for you!!! Lesson learned. Ok - time to move forward.
>> I am now interviewing real estate agents.
You'll need to meet about 4-6. One that you Like is important but also one that is a real pro and knows his/her business. I would avoid an agent that comes on too strong - if he/she strikes you that way they can strike a potential buyer the same way too.
>> The only problem is I am hearing that some of them recommend a stager and others said that they could do it for me.
I would not use my realtor as my stager or use a realtor that also side-lines as a stager. I want my realtor to be a full-time realtor - period with no other distractions. However, a good realtor will provide you with ideas and honest feedback where appropriate (e.g.: your rear deck might benefit from a new coat of stain, etc).
>> Most of them tell me I should list my house for $350,000 1 told me 359,000 staged, 1 at 349,000 and one at 345,000.
What are the recent sold comps for your home? If under $350K then perhaps you should list at 349,900 - but no higher. Otherwise some potential buyers will miss your listing entirely at 350,001 or higher. Broadly, 10% above the Sold comps is about right as an asking price - except to not exceed a $100K or $50K mark per above.
>> So now I am getting confused! So I am have a few more coming in on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning and Wednesday I will finally make my decision. But I need help!!
Take it easy. Breathe! LOL. Start staging away. I'd recommend meeting only the top 2-3 producers at 2-3 large firms. Some agents are about to disagree with me. Why? Because they are not top producers and I'm effectively "stealing their meal ticket". Their needs don't concern me - yours do.
I don't sell real estate but I am in sales. Top producers year-over-year are that way because they do many things right - it's not a coincidence and it's not luck.
But styles do vary among the winners circle. I really liked the #2 agent at a branch and she was very good. But I was distictly put off by the #1 agent at the same branch - she just came on too strong. She was very competent and sharp but - if anyone can put me off (hard to do) then they might offend one of MY buyers.
One agent I know of absolutely hates it when other agents list things like "top producing agent in 200X". Know how many transactions she had in 2008? A grand total of two ... :-)
I just read your explanation of your situation. Even I am confused by all that is gong on in your life!
I am curious, though..........You didn't ask the agent how much business she did prior to listing with her?
OK, so you need to move forward......and soon!
The range of prices you were given isn't very broad - around a 4% differential - they all seem to point to a list price in the 350,000 ish range - it's hard to fine tune a price, as this is not an exact science, and the market is so unstable, but in this market, I suggest you list on the more conservative side (staged or otherwise). Obviously, I haven't seen your home, not do I know your area, but if the numbers ranged from 345,000 - 359,000 - stratigically, I'd go with the lower end of the range to encourage more showings. Staging will help, even if you do it yourself.
Get yourself organized. Have a list of questions to ask each agent. When you are done interviewing, take a look at the answers. Also, look at the listings online that the agents already have. See who has the maximum number of photos, and GOOD photos.( I can never undertsand why agents post dark, poor shots). Do all the above, and It should help point you in the right direction.
I'm confused. There must be more to this story. Usually it is easy to find multiple agents that want to List your home. Would you please elaborate? You don't want to delay any longer than you have to, if you need to list this season - every week that passes now can hurt you. BUT - if you aren't staged well that will hurt you more than 1 more week.
On the 2nd question - if you need professional help to Stage then yes. If you can do it yourself then no. Please find below my quick list of staging 101. Please feel free to ask follow-ups.
1. Rent a storage unit and get Everything unneeded out of your house - giving it a bigger appearance. This is a good opportunity to throw loads of stuff out, and donate other stuff also. This also means packing up all clothing that you won't need for a few months - it'll make those closets nice and roomy! Some of this may be done as he may not be living there anymore?
2. Eliminate ALL clutter and Clean everything - make your house spotless
3. Paint all rooms that need painting. If you have rooms that are not neutral, consider re-painting them as such (this also can mean painting ceilings a nice flat white if they are not already. And don't leave the cans in some closet afterwards - as evidence that you just did it - put them in storage too or hidden in boxes. If you have a room with nasty stained carpet - replace the carpet. If your basement is unfinished, paint all walls white - preferably with dry-lock or similar. Please pay a lot of attention to the kitchen and bathrooms - even the grout needs to be fresh and clean.
4. Do any and all simple repairs (outside trim for example)
5. Make sure you have really good "front door appeal" - if needed, repaint all trim, the entire front door, and polish the door knob.
6. Put down a layer of fresh much in the front by the bushes. Weed the beds.
In short - avoid any "possible objection" that a potential buyer might have to buying your home. You never know what little thing will set someone off - to either not buy - or ... offer you LESS. Make it easier for your agent, whomever he/she is - give them a very good product to sell.
I've been looking at properties since last July and just went to contract a month ago. You might be shocked at the number of sellers that don't bother to properly stage - and by doing so - leave thousands of dollars on the table - and lengthen their sales cycle.
House staging isn't rocket science - everything you need to do is free info on the 'net - my list above will keep you busy enough anyway. You shouldn't need "a pro" to help with it - but a good realtor will help with honest feedback.
Get a good understanding of SOLD prices for comparable homes - and your house needs to be priced accordingly - not too far above these numbers (unless you have really amazing upgrades to your home).
Well ... right off the cuff - those are my initial thoughts and recommendations.
Do you really think, Sandy, the poster, is srill interested in "intervewing" anyone?
For future reference - the date the question was posted is located under the bold part of the question.
A good listing agent is key to selling your home.
A good listing agent is key to selling your home.
I'm glad you found an agent that you like and am happy for the peace of mind that you probably have now.
I am glad that there is a stager that works with my agent free to me!
Again I'll keep you posted!
It's so great to hear that comments here helped you!
Good luck with your sale progressing - it sounds like you are in competent hands now, and will have a good workig relationship with your new agent.
All the best............keep us up to date on your progress.
Also, it looks like he was honest with you about pricing and didn't tell you what you wanted to hear.
Let us know what happens!
I finally decided on a Full Time Real Estate Agent who works close. He is full time, has quite a few affliations. I have talked to one of his clients they couldn't say enough about him. He answers his phone and his phone number is local. He has a Stager that he recommends and is "free" for my use. He advertises on more than 20 internet sites and also has an "in" at Ft. Mamouth, NJ. and Ft. Meade, MD. He also advertises in several magazines. We have discussed the price to sell the house and that we might have to reduce it if it doesn't sell. At this time, I feel that he is the best one for the job! Hopefully in a month, I will see some results! Again, thank you all for your input!!
Have clear expectations and communicate them to the Realtors you interview. Make sure that you understand what the Realtor expects to happen once the property is listed, and what will happen if the expectations are not met. Be clear on your needs - when you need to move, how much you need to net, etc.
Then compare the proposals of the Realtors and select the plan that you believe has the greatest probability of success.
It has been a long time since I have put a house up for sale! How things have changed!!
I will look back throught my interviews and pick the ones that I think will do a good job, then call the broker that they work for and ask the questions!!
Thank you all,
Sandy-Bel Air, MD
It is difficult to make suggestions without actually seeing your home.
I am a licensed Realtor in Harford County, Maryland and a Lifetime resident of the County.
I would love to meet with you and discuss a plan to get your home sold quickly. We can discuss staging at this meeting.
As an agent with Century 21, I am able to market your home extensively on the internet. As you may have heard on the radio, April is open house month at Century 21. We also have a number of relocation buyers coming to the area and we are marketing to these buyers.
Please give me a call and we will get you house sold.
Jefferson had some good suggestions for "staging" your home on your own. Please take a look at my blog here on trulia - "How to Set the Stage to Sell your home" - it has some additional hints and ideas for getting your home ready to sell. It does make a huge difference when a home shows well.
As far as finding a suitable agent to list the home - goodness, all you have to do is make a few calls, stand back, and watch the stampede of agents offering to list it!
Look to see who is most professional in their approach, has extensive knowledge of your area and has a good track record. I am not quite sure what is difficult for you - but do your due dilligence, and I am sure you will find someon you are compatible with.
Good luck to you!
I had an agent which didn't realy help me out much. She kept on reducing the price and didn't have the latest pictures on her site, even though she had a proffessional photograper take pictures! finally last week I asked her how many properties she had sold last year, and this year. She told me 3 last year and 3 this year. That was all I needed to hear. She also told me she had me on the internet and didn't know what else to do to get this house sold! So I fired her on Wednesday April 1. I am now interviewing real estate agents. The only problem is I am hearing that some of them recommend a stager and others said that they could do it for me.
Most of them tell me I should list my house for $350,000 1 told me 359,000 staged, 1 at 349,000 and one at 345,000.
So now I am getting confused! So I am have a few more coming in on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning and Wednesday I will finally make my decision. But I need help!!
Please contact me directly to see how I may be able to help you.