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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Matchmaker Matchmaker, Choosing the Right Realtor: The Seller’s Agent

As a homeowner, choosing the right Realtor to represent you is one of the most important financial decisions you will make, and yet many people give little thought to this choice. Generally, your home is the single largest investment you will make and its value will determine financial stability for years to come. Proper standards should be applied when choosing a Realtor much like when you select your doctor, lawyer or any other professional service provider.

Here are eight tips to keep in mind as you begin your selection process.

What’s In a Name? – Reputation Matters
A Realtor’s name is his/her ticket, and those who are in Real Estate for any length of time know that your reputation usually precedes you for better or worse. For a homeowner looking to sell it is a good place to start.. It has been said that the Real Estate business is largely referral based. If you know someone who has had a good experience with a Realtor, make a “date” and see if you mesh.. However, don’t just assume that because the Realtor was good for your friend, it will be a good match for you.
My Realtor, My Brother, My Friend…Sometimes

A common mistake is hiring a friend or relative as a representative in a Real Estate transaction who is not qualified. While Cousin Vinnie may be the family favorite, he may not be the best choice to sell your house. The boom several years ago, yielded hundreds of “weekend warriors” using Real Estate as a hobby or extra income. A friend or relative can serve you well as long as they are a full time experienced professional. If you choose not to use them, the fact of the matter is that a true friend or loving relative should understand and respect the importance of your decision and will recommend an excellent colleague.

Can We Talk? - Communication and Comfort Levels
The home selling process can be a lengthy one, so it is extremely important that when you make your selection you will have chosen someone you feel comfortable with. Do you feel that you can call and discuss your concerns and your ideas without feeling intimidated or belittled? A great Realtor hears what you are saying and makes the effort to make you feel like part of the team selling the property. Talk with the Realtor. If it seems like you are speaking different languages, keep looking. Men may be from Mars and Women from Venus, but you and your Realtor had better be from the same planet.

Show Me The Money– Ask To See A Marketing Plan
We are now in what is considered to be a “buyer’s market.” Therefore, you need a Realtor equipped to market your property appropriately. The objective should be to attract as many buyers as possible so that your house sells for the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time. Ask to see a marketing plan. Fact: 85% of today’s buyers surf the net prior to calling any Realtor. Your Realtor’s company should have their own web site and your Realtor should have his or her own web page where your property will be posted. Are they a member of is linked to over 60 other sites. Will your property be advertised in the major Real Estate publications? If so, how often and what kind of ads? What other types of promotions will be done? Will there be Open Houses? An open house at the right home can be effective if it is promoted well through advance mailings and advertising. How will their marketing be different or better than any other Realtor?

Results, Results and More Results – Sales Performance
While a marketing plan is very important, the Realtors’ track record tells you how effective it can be. How many sales for the year is a good beginning, but don’t forget to find out how many homes were listed that did not sell, the average length of time on the market, and how many price reductions each home required. A great marketing plan is only great if it works.

My World And Welcome To It! – Market Knowledge

A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is a very important tool for any Realtor to determine your property's market value. The price is established by comparing your property to similar properties that have sold in the area within three to six months. Two pitfalls to avoid: 1) Don’t use homes currently on the market as a key to pricing yours. The current price of houses on the market may be the reason they are still for sale. 2) Don’t live in the past, “Mrs. Kravitz sold her house for $500K last year”. The only sales that are relevant are current sales. A great Realtor knows his/her inventory, can evaluate your house and tell you how it stacks up next to the other homes on the market. A CMA will give you the numbers, but make sure your Realtor is “in the trenches” daily and knows your competition.

Sold To The Lowest Bidder - Discount Realtors

Commissions are negotiable and the standard commission when you list a house is 6%, split equally between the two agents. At times Realtors will offer 5% and even 4% commission in an effort to convince the homeowner to give them the listing. Unfortunately, what the homeowner fails to realize is that discount Realtors diminish their chances of a sale for a number of reasons; 1) Other Realtors are less likely to show their property since compensation for this property is below standard compensation, and 2) with the reduced commission on the listing side there are insufficient funds to properly market their home. If you want a bargain go to K-Mart, but don’t use a discount Realtor.
Honesty is the Best Policy, But Not Everybody is

Be Realistic About Pricing –Okay, here are a few truths. Not everybody’s child is gifted, some clothes will make you look fat and the check is not necessarily in the mail. Let’s face it, not everybody is totally honest. Beware! Some Realtors will make grandiose claims regarding your homes’ worth just to get you to list with them. When the house does not sell, you will eventually have to lower your price. Why waste valuable time?. This is why an accurate CMA is so important. Don’t be taken in by false promises.

South Jersey offers hundreds of committed, talented and hard working Realtors that meet and exceed standards of excellence. Take the time so you can make the right match.

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