Home Selling in Bel Air>Question Details

Sandy, Home Seller in Abingdon, MD

Trying to find someone to represent my house is very difficult what do you suggest?

Asked by Sandy, Abingdon, MD Sun Apr 5, 2009

Also is it a good idea to have a stager for selling the house?

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Answers

29
Sandy,

I hope you get a chance to read and print out the blog attached to the link below before any further interviews. Good luck.

http://www.trulia.com/blog/rockinblu/2008/12/i_ve_got_my_fin…
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 6, 2009
Hi Sandy,

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,

Matthew Smoot
Home Selling Assistance Platinum
443-504-8930
MTSmoot@hsaplatinum.com
Web Reference: http://www.hsaplatinum.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 5, 2009
Sandy.........
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 .
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 5, 2009
Hi Sandy,

>> 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?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 5, 2009
Hi Sandy,

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 ... :-)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 5, 2009
HI again Sandy
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.
Best wishes
Debbie
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 5, 2009
Hi Sandy,

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.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 5, 2009
John, in case you didn't notice - this question was asked way back in April, 2009!

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 26, 2011
In this market, advertising and marketing your property is probably your agents most important job. Simply Goggle the agents names. If they can not manage to show up everywhere on page one and two of Google for their own name then they probably do not know how to get your property up there either.
good luck.
A good listing agent is key to selling your home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 8, 2010
In this market, advertising and marketing your property is probably your agents most important job. Simply Goggle the agents names. If they can not manage to show up everywhere on page one and two of Google for their own name then they probably do not know how to get your property up there either.
good luck.
A good listing agent is key to selling your home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 8, 2010
To much to type if you would like go to my website http://www.chooseahomenow.com for my contact information
give me a call and I will help you select an agent
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
Lori;
That might be all that is needed to get the listing!
I didn't even think about the dog when choosing the agent, but it doesn't hurt!
Sometimes dogs can sense a persons personality!
But 80lbs is a little too much on the lap!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 10, 2009
Too funny. I've actually had to stop at a store and buy a change of cloths inbetween appointments cuz on one listing appointment, the dog kept trying to jump on my lap...it was at least 80 lbs.

I'm glad you found an agent that you like and am happy for the peace of mind that you probably have now.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 10, 2009
This might sound crazy! But even the dog liked him!! Taylor, my dog, cried to get pets from him and wouldn't leave him alone!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 10, 2009
So far we are off to a good start, the stager was here yesterday and did some quick fixes. Now to go and get some paint and some fabric to make some valances!! Thank goodness I don't have to paint the full house!!
I am glad that there is a stager that works with my agent free to me!
Again I'll keep you posted!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 10, 2009
Hi Sandy
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.
Debbie
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 10, 2009
Congrats, Sandy. You talked with an agents past clients and researched what he has to offer..so many people don't bother to do the homework you do.

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!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 10, 2009
Alright! Glad to hear that you are on track! Please let us know how things work out and glad we could help!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 9, 2009
I want to thank all of you!
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!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 9, 2009
Hi Sandy, Find a good experienced, full time, full service Realtor who knows how to market your property. I have been doing Real Estate since 1972. I believe in Staging a property to give that 1st showing a plus.. I can give your property an edge on the competition.. i advertise in more than 22 internet sites as far as local papers..I can offer you full service and multiple list service at a discounted rate.. I work for a large Discount Broker and we do it for less. No long term committment.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 9, 2009
Sandy
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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 6, 2009
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
MVP'08
Contact
Sandy, let us know what you do and where the link to your home's listing ends up so we can all check out your place and give feedback!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 6, 2009
Thank you all so much!!
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
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 5, 2009
How do I find out if they are the top producers when they all say that? They are #1 in their company!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 5, 2009
Hi Sandy,

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.
Thank You,
Tracey Simms
Tracey.simms@century21.com
443-807-0419
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 5, 2009
Hi Sandy
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!
Debbie
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 5, 2009
Here's the story from the begining til now!
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!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 5, 2009
Sandy, what seems to be the problem? There are many wonderful agents out there! Is there anything I can do to help?
Please contact me directly to see how I may be able to help you.
Sincerely,
Marney Kirk

realtormarney@yahoo.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 5, 2009
Sandy, do you mean to list your house for sale? Sometimes, staging helps. If you can get your property on a property tour or have a broker opinion open, you can get a lot of (often blunt) feedback.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 5, 2009
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