Home Selling in Woodstock>Question Details

Home Buyer in…, Both Buyer and Seller in 30188

How to choose the right Realtor?

Asked by Home Buyer in Georgia, 30188 Mon Dec 1, 2008

We are wanting to sell our home in Woodstock, GA and buy another home in the same general area. We may want to move as far as Acworth about 10 miles away. What are good tips for choosing a Realtor? Do we interview them?

A few things to note:
1) I would like to use the same Realtor for selling my home, then buying my next one (with a discount)
2) I would like to use a Realtor that does not already have listings in my neighborhood so they will be competing with the others.
3) Our home is pretty well-kept and I plan to get a storage unit very soon to unload a bunch of stuff (we have 2 young kids) . How do I know I will get a Realtor that can give me good staging tips advice?

Help the community by answering this question:


1) The discount on the buyer side is somewhat irrelevant and difficult to guarantee depending upon laws and regulations in GA. In NY, there are laws against kickbacks, which would be the only way to guarantee a discount on the buyer's side, as the buyer agency fee is paid by the seller to their listing agent, who then turns it over to the buyer's agent. There is never any guarantee a listing agent will reduce their fee to a seller that will turn into a price reduction for a buyer. As a buyer's agent, we have no control over this. As a result, many agents would discount your listing fee to sell your home instead, which would guarantee you a discount.

2) An agent that has listings in your neighborhood is much more likely to have researched and know values in your area than one who has never listed there. Having 2 listings on the same street does not make the competition between homes any more fierce than if it is with 2 different agents. Your home will be competing directly with another similar home in your neighborhood no matter which agent you have. There are only 2 ways to make your home sell faster than the competition in practical terms: #1 is to have a home that is superior to it's competition. #2 is if it is not superior, price it well enough to make it more attractive than the competition.

3) Many offices have professional stagers employed or agents that are also professional stagers. I offer a 1 hour staging consultation with a professional stager in my office as part of my listing package, but only if the seller agrees to list within the pricing guidelines an objective market analysis suggested. I work with the knowledge that if my marketing is as good as it can be and the home looks as good as it can, the only barrier left to selling it is pricing it correctly.

I hope this helps!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 1, 2008
Dear Home Buyer in Georgia: It sounds like you are on the right track with the questions you are asking. My team and I offer a multiple transaction discount. We offer it on the listing side because the laws regarding buyer rebates are very restrictive and it is very easy to get into legal troubles as a Realtor by attempting to do those. Most lenders forbid them as they also have tricky legalities to deal with. Listing discounts, however, are still legal and we are very happy to be able to do this for our valued clients. The company I work for has a network of nearly 3,000 very supportive agents. In addition to giving your listing a second look when we are working with buyers, our agents will also come to an agent caravan at our invitation and will give us honest, written feedback regarding the condition and pricing of our listings. We pass this information along to the homeowner along with any suggestions for better showings. Lastly, storing those extra items in order to remove clutter is something we usually recommend. You are on the right track and I hope you will give us a call when you are ready to list your home. Good luck!
Web Reference: http://atlantadeb.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 18, 2010
In choosing a realtor to me there are a coupleof things I would consider. One of the most important to me would be personality/principles. The realtor chosen will be a part of your life for the dudration of time it takes to sell and buy, possibly longer. The length of time a person has been a realtor would be considered but not be a deal breaker. The realtors knowledge of the market they are working would also be important. As a buyer/seller you need to be able to believe your Realtor is telling you the truth and trust them. Talk to friends and the realtors they have used, interview if you must.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 8, 2008
Get a referral from someone close to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 4, 2008
Hi Amy -

Right here is a good place to start looking for an agent, you already see that this group is at least motivated and functions well on the web. Bring in at least three agents, get them off script and make them uncomfortable - by that I mean:

1. Agents will be most comfortable working off their rehearsed briefing - force them off of that almost immediately. Your home will be in the MLS, automatically picked up by many web sites and other agents will know about it; so what. Let them get comfortable then after 5 minutes of looking at nonsense graphs and charts, start peppering the agent with off topic questions and see how they respond. Get them out of their comfort zone and see if they really know their business or are just regurgitating company nonsense.
2. Ask to see their personal marketing plans – not the typical company things that any agent has – have them specifically detail a few things that they’re going to do to get your home out in front of buyers.
3. Ask them how quickly they respond to inquiries – then test them later that night by emailing a question that requires an answer ASAP. Do they return calls ASAP or between certain hours, in the morning for calls after 6pm or not at all?
4. Ask them describe how they are going to convince another agent/buyer that your home warrants a visit/offer; have them describe in terms that motivates you to action – while you both are sitting there during the presentation.
5. Find a weak point(s) about the house – ask about them from the buyer’s standpoint and see how they neutralize your objection.
6. How is their market evaluation? Is it a page of “listed-sold” entries with a neat bow? Have they pulled not only the development, but the competing area? Other competing areas as well? Do you see sale to list price ratios? Avg seller concessions? Actual marketing times not just for the listing period when the home sold? Do you see graphs demonstrating trends for the development and area? A profile of your most likely buyer? Ask those questions during their presentation and see what the response is.
7. What is your house actually worth? Will they tell you what you want to hear or what you should hear just to get the listing? Will they list high to “test the market” then start reducing?
8. Ask the agent to see what kind of analysis you’ll see when an offer is presented. Will they complete a thorough review of data, detailing the positives/negatives of the offer, evaluate the strength of the offer and provide statistical data so you easily see how it stacks up? Will they candidly state their case even if you ultimately object? Will they even present something or just tell you “this is a good offer”?
9. I could continue with another 20+ “hot seat” questions but you get the point. If the agent starts with the “ummmm….uhhhh…like…..you know….” are you going to be confident with them representing you? NEGOTIATING FOR YOU?

The point is that many agents have never actually “worked” in this business. This market demands agents that know how to SELL, know how to PROMOTE and know how to overcome objections. Successful agents carry their game plans in their heads – they know how to instill confidence and take control of situations. They also surround themselves with quality associates with similar mindsets.

I look at this operation the same as I do when I get on a plane – I expect that pilot to know what to do when challenged. The best ones handle things so that all I feel is a little turbulence when he might be dealing with a major storm. This business is the same way; turbulent is an understatement for this market and handing the controls to an agent that doesn’t have the drive and skill sets essential to success will result in frustration on your part.

They buying side of the operation is another story; that requires a “hunter” mentality and a ton of stubby pencil work – with so much inventory out there unless you have a systematic approach your head will explode. The amount of garage out there clouding the radar is significant but good deals are there….But let’s get the house sold first!

Obviously I’d love a chance to compete for your business – this is what we do full time all of the time. You can get a taste of how we operate: http://www.hrmiller.com/selling-your-home.asp

Hank Miller, SRA, ABR
Associate Broker & Certified Appraiser
Prudential GA Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 2, 2008

Brad Nix is correct. This process is about you and your family and your goals.

There are many different ways to sell your current home. You can decide between many options from a full service company to a discount brokers. The less you pay (discount broker) the more you have to do however the critical issue regardless is exposure of your property to other buyers and agents. Statistics will tell you a large pool of homebuyers and agents use the internet when looking at property. Even with a discount broker you should get exposure on FMLS which is the listing service agents and buyers use to search property. Using a discount broker can save you as much as 3% ( the average listing costs) of the sales price. You should however be prepared to pay 3% of the sales price to an agent representing a potential buyer of your home. The fact you would not incur the 3% associated with the listing side is the best place to save on the transaction.

On your purchase however I would be a little more concerned. I know of certain companies that provide unique services and protection for home buyers. You can use a traditional real estate agent when buying but in accordance with the documents they will require you to use, the agent is not qualified to give you any advise about any meaningful issue associated with the purchase. They are only qualified to help you locate a property. On the other hand these value added companies not only provide you with a real estate agent to locate property, they also provide you with home inspectors, structural engineers, surveyors and most importantly an Attorney to protect just you thru the entire buying process. The Attorney prepares the contract, reviews all the reports, helps explain the financing, reviews all closing document, goes to closing with you and remains available to you for up to a one year after closing should you have any questions or problems. They provide all this and never send you a bill for any of it. They use the 3% paid traditionally to the agent (and kept by the agent) to pay for an agent, a home inspection, a structural inspection and an Attorney.

You can save money and protect your interest all at the same time just by using the innovative resources.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 1, 2008
Mrs. Hickman,

The link below (requires Adobe Reader) will take you to a page that can be printed and used as a guide during your interview process. Good luck with the process and please call should there be any questions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 1, 2008

The answers below are really good ones, so I will not cover that ground again. I will however mention that the agent who handles your sale needs to take full advantage of the internet and the multiple listing services. I was told by a technician at the FMLS here in Atlanta that only 20% or so of agents use all 12 photo spots when listing a home. The GMLS can take 16, and as a showcase listing agent with Realtor.com, I am allowed to use 25 pictures. I take full advantage of the number of photos allowed and I shoot a 3 minute digital movie of my listings to put out on multiple video channels. Make sure your pick of an agent has the technology savvy to expose your home to the most potential buyers and agents. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 1, 2008
In this online world, you need a Realtor who knows how to saturate your property
on the internet getting it the most exposure all leading to more offers for you.
So go ahead and google the realtor (s) you are considering.
Do they have a website?
What did you find out about them online (are they online?)
What do their online listings look like?
Are they syndicated getting their homes (yours) on Trulia, oodle, yahoo, zillow, hotpads, clr, overstock.com...etc
88 to now 91% of all buyers begin their search online for a home. So you want to choose a realtor that takes lots of photos, gets your property online with those photos, property details etc...for more on this take a look at my website http://www.readytorealestate.com and the section Why list with me....I am licensed in PA but the information on my site can help you when making a selection. Educate yourself now so you can sit back and watch traffic and offers come to you from the "right realtor."

I also agree remove the criteria that you DO NOT want a realtor that has listings in the same area. That will help you. That agent is already marketing a home nearby, now can market 2 or 3 so use that. Now when she is showing her first listing, she then takes them to your home and any others similar. More exposure, more traffic, they will be better educated to select the home that is right for them.

Realtors in your area should be able to easily offer a few home stagers and/or websites for you to gain information on how home staging can help your home.

Remember on commissions you are not just paying the listing realtor to sell your home. Your commission percentage is also there to be attractive to all the other several hundred or thousand realtors in your immediate area. You want all realtors excited about the commission and your home to get it SOLD! Listing with a Realtor puts hundreds, if not thousands of Realtors to work for you.

Kathy Casarin 570-351-1444 or 585-1500 fax: 585-0507
Prudential Preferred Properties REALTOR
$ Multi-Million Dollar Producer $
Fine Homes International Specialist
Chosen As One Of The Nation's Top 50 Realtors On The Rise
Let's Get It Started Let's List!
"In this online world, you need a Realtor who knows how to saturate your property
on the internet getting it the most exposure all leading to more offers for you.
I can and will do that but don't take my word for it..."Google Me!""
Shop Every Home For Sale @ http://www.ReadyToRealEstate.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 1, 2008
A referral from a trusted friend or resource is always the first place to start. Otherwise, I would search local review sites like Kudzu.com or Yelp.com or trust some the responses here at Trulia. The most important thing is for you to feel comfortable and confident with your decision. The best Realtors are honest and up front about what they bring to the table and how they plan to work with you to accomplish your goals.

Quality Realtors also bring a network of referral sources to help with the process, such as stagers, lenders, attorneys, etc... It proves they have a tract record of success and the ability to build relationships to accomplish goals.

I can't emphasize enough how important it is to find someone who is honest. You can interview Realtors until one of them tells you what you want to hear, but is that always best? or just what you want to hear? Someone with a history of success in your market is usually best as it shows they do not need your business (and therefore would say whatever you want to hear), but instead they want your business. They have a passion for the industry and for helping others with the biggest financial and emotional decision in most people's life.

But if I had only tip to give... go with your gut instinct. This process is about you and you goals, not the Realtor.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 1, 2008

It's a good idea to interview agents for the buying and selling side.

Using the same agent to represent you selling your home and buying your new one is a great idea. In many cases the agent will reduce the listing commission for using them on both sides.

I work out of Gwinnett, but we also have an office in your area and the top agent for our company works in your area! She has a proven track record and would be an excellent choice for you to consider.

Feel free to contact me with your information and I could get her to contact you and set up an interview.

James Dudley
ERA Sunrise Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 1, 2008
A few things to note:
1) I would like to use the same Realtor for selling my home, then buying my next one (with a discount)
Most agents will take the discount on the buy side -- of you sign a buyer agreement at the time of listing.
2) I would like to use a Realtor that does not already have listings in my neighborhood so they will be competing with the others. - No two houses are the same and never really in direct competion -- so I would rethink this -- and agent that has a listing in the same area will be drawing twice as many buyers and be focused on selling the listings to become the neighborhood expert in other sellers minds.
3) Our home is pretty well-kept and I plan to get a storage unit very soon to unload a bunch of stuff (we have 2 young kids) . How do I know I will get a Realtor that can give me good staging tips advice? -- Interview two or three -- tour current listings held by the agent to see marketing materal and staging -- most agents will be happy to give you an opion.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 1, 2008
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