AGENT SELECTION PART TWO
Many people will call in three agents and ask them two questions. What is our home worth and how much do you charge? If the respective agent is still in the running after deducting their fees from the selling price they estimate, only then is their sales strategy scrutinised.
Ominously, the most crucial determinant of a successful marketing campaign [i.e. the selling strategy] becomes a mere afterthought. It is this type of simplistic (and dangerous) thinking which often reduces a home seller’s chances of success when attempting to achieve the maximum price possible when selling their home.
In this instance, Harvey Mackay’s oft quoted adage could apply to some slick agents: “When a person with money meets a person with experience, the person with the experience winds up with the money and the person with the money winds up with the experience.”
What Should You Do?
One option might be to conduct a surreptitious Job Interview when selecting your agent.
It is rarely done this way, but home sellers would often get a better perspective on the merits of each agent if they selected their agent prior to discussing price. This would ensure that most of your focus would be on those important questions which should be asked (and need to be asked) of an agent, prior to listing with them.
A series of set questions which help you understand how each agent proposes to sell your property should be put to the agent in an interview type of environment so that you can gauge how the agent handles themselves in a pressure situation. This will also give you an indication of how that agent is likely to handle him or herself when buyers start to pressurise them on price.
Selecting an agent on the basis of a written sales proposal will most likely lead you to select the best graphic designer or writer. When you are selling a prized asset like real estate, you want the best sales person in town, not the best talker or paper presenter. You need the best negotiator to protect your interests and maximise the sale price you will get on the open market
Don’t get caught up in the “this is how we find buyers” debate. Agents don’t want you to know this, but over 95% of buyers are on either www.realestate.co.nz or using Google to check out your property before contacting an Agent
The best agents will already have some buyers who may be interested in purchasing your home in their database. Focus on these agents first. An agent who can rattle off names of genuine active buyers in your area, should be far more impressive and appealing than the agent who asks you for advertising money to find buyers.
Focus on the skill level of the agent. Can the agent hold their own when you try to cut their commission? If they cannot sell the value of their commission, how will they sell the value of your home? If they are quick to reduce their commission, guess what they will also be quick to do when buyers ask them to get you to reduce the price of your home?
Focus on an agent who can best sell the advantageous features of your home and who will act as a gate keeper in anticipation of buyers who will ask the agent what your bottom line is.
Avoid the agent who wants to know what you as the seller feels the property is worth. Furthermore, avoid the agent who tries to extract a deadline or bottom line figure from you. These are important clues as to what might be around the corner if you hire that agent.
Remember, clues such as these cannot be picked up in a written sales proposal. These clues will become more apparent over a simple cup of tea. If you can’t handle the thought of having a cup of tea with your prospective agent, don’t hire them under any circumstances because it is highly likely that buyers will feel the same way
Ultimately, you are going to have to trust the agent you hire, but you need to be able to trust them on two levels. First, you need to trust
their integrity. How will this agent act and talk about you to buyers behind your back? Will their word be their bond or will you need your lawyer to read the fine print on their listing agreement?
Second, you need to be able to trust in their ability to do the job you are asking them to do. i.e. their level of competence. Do they have the skill, character and nous to deal with the savvy buyers who will aim to put low offers to you in an attempt to force you to lower your asking price? Will this agent be able to discover just how much each buyer is prepared to pay for your home without frightening them off?
The skill level of an agent will be reflected in the final selling price they achieve for your property, so don’t fall for the trap of thinking that all agents will deliver the same selling price. They won’t.