7 Ninja Tactics For Choosing The Best Real Estate Agent
How can you choose the best real estate agent to help you sell your house?
There are many basic and mediocre tips for finding and evaluating real estate agents out there, but what tactics and resources can home sellers turn to in order to rip through the glossy marketing materials and overly rehearsed sales pitches? The following highlights just how you can find the best real estate agent for your own sale:
1. Listing Reconnaissance: Pocket listings have been on the rise. There may be some home sellers that really want, and benefit from their listing remaining off market. Agents can definitely benefit if they can hold out and double dip on commissions or sell properties cheap to their friends. Most home sellers don’t benefit from that, or from lengthier listing times. So how can you get a feel for what Realtors are doing with their other listings? Are they advertising “off-market” listings in San Diego on their website? Do they have signs on other local properties which you can’t find listed online or on the MLS?
2. Survey the Landscape: If you’ve ever been subject to a real estate listing presentation, you’ll have experienced the listing presentation package. It’s full of marketing promises: all of the marketing the Realtor and their brokerage firm will do for you. This is the basis on which they say they will earn your business, and their commission. This may include sending out direct mail postcards, sending out email broadcasts, setting up a unique website for your home, and syndicating your home listing across dozens of real estate websites. Some will do all of these things all the time. Others will get your signature on the listing agreement, pop your home in the MLS, and get on to the next listing presentation. You need a Realtor that follows through on their promises. And today the web is a big deal when it comes to selling homes. So pull out your smartphone and check to see if they are following through on these items. Are their other clients’ listings on all of the websites that they list?
3. Double and Triple Check the Numbers Strategy: Pricing strategy is critical for selling a home. There are many great Realtors out there. There are many real estate agents with strong ethics, and that are really good at their jobs. There are others that feel the heat of competition and that will tell prospects what they want to hear to get their signatures, or which just don’t have the experience yet. So get a second and maybe even third opinion on your home value, and pricing strategy before signing on.
4. Spy on Their Open Houses: Okay, perhaps not in the sense of literally stalking them. But check if they are really hosting open houses for other clients. Sometimes they are not necessary, and agents can pull out all types of figures to support that. However, if they are promising them, and you want them, make sure you are choosing an agent that follows through. Few do. Check the newspaper, check the classifieds, check their websites for open house listings.
5. Test Their Reflexes: The difference between the efforts some real estate agents put into winning listings versus helping buyers can be shocking. Obviously you want an agent that will treat home buyers well and respond to them with equal effort. At least if you want your home sold, want it sold fast, and for top dollar. Gaining listings is gold. If you win the listing, the hope is often that someone else will sell it for you. That’s not good enough. You want an agent that is as diligent about answering the phone, returning emails, voicemails, text messages and social media messages as diligently as that agent pursues you for your home listing. The only way to know is to try them out. Play mystery shopper, or get your friends or personal assistant to do it. Call, Tweet, and email them. Check response times and demeanor.
6. Online Reviews: Online reviews are tricky. They appear to be an easy and fast way to judge how a vendor or any type will perform. Sometimes this works. Other times it doesn’t. If you are going to go this route – dig deep. Remember that a savvy marketer can easily influence reviews by paying for good ones, or creating fake accounts. At the same time, unscrupulous competitors can hack the industry by posting bogus reviews to bring done agents that are really good. So go through several pages of Google results before forming an opinion.
7. Resolved Versus Unresolved Complaints: The presence of complaints in itself shouldn’t really be a factor. If you are in business long enough, and do enough business, you’ll get complaints. That’s just the society we live in. Today those that do love the service often have other reasons for not leaving good reviews – like privacy and reputation management. And the ones that love to rant and rave and leave bad reviews usually will at any opportunity. You’ve probably fielded a few unfounded or unfair complaints in your own lifetime. If you serve 100 coffees the same way as a barista there will be at least one person that doesn’t like it. Or is having a bad day and sees you as a viable punching bag. What makes the difference is in the resolution. What makes a better person to do business with? One that has had 10 complaints, but never bothered to make any effort to patch things up, or one that had 15 complaints but resolved them all amicably by going out of their way to make things better, even if they weren’t in the wrong?
Realtors can still provide value in helping homeowners sell. However, there is a huge difference in the quality and effectiveness of agents out there. You want the best in your corner, or leading the charge for you. Find the great ones by using the above tactics