I am a Glendale CA real estate agent and my childhood best friend needs to sell her mother’s home. I am just a bit too far away, so I agreed to help her hire the right agent to sell the home.
I didn’t know who to call, so this entire process was just like any of you might experience.
How do I find someone to interview? How will I know who is legit and who is lying? And, can we talk about the commission? Listening to the agents talk about their fees was beyond eye-opening.
(Do you want to go straight to my recommendations and a form for interviewing agents? Click here for The Bottom Line )
Find The Agents
I started with my personal network of friends and asked for referrals. Then I checked these referrals against information on the web. I eliminated any agent that I could not find on the web and anyone with incomplete or obviously incorrect (usually old) information. Ditto if they were listed as “actor” and not Realtor. Then I studied the agent’s websites- were they experienced, did they sell homes like my friend’s, and was there anything different about them?
I picked three agents- two with solid information on the internet and one that I suspected might deliver the lowest commission.
See Agents like an Expert…
Price. I wanted to understand how local buyers would rank my friend’s home against these recent sales- I know that buyers consider more than just room count and square footage! Anybody can get recently sold homes off the internet. The expert helps us understand perspective. How much does a desirable school district impact the value? How about unusual lot size or newer construction?
Marketing. Great marketing will attract higher offers. I wanted to see the marketing plan, but I also wanted to hear their strategy. Agents love to list out features like photography and internet advertising. The only strategy I heard is “more”. Anyone can do “more”.
Credentials. In the moment of the presentation, the credentials (experience, performance and reviews) didn’t seem important. However, the lack of consistent information from each agent has led to weeks of confusion. My left-brained friends can’t make a decision and it’s driving them (and me) a bit crazy. I now have a solution for that.
Commission. This is the hardest part of the process – for everyone. The customer wants the best value for their money. The agent wants to be paid what they feel they are worth, but they also want the listing. It is tempting to decide based on commission- it is easy to understand and it is a known entity. Everything else seems a bit of a gamble.
I have deep experience with the difference an agent can have on the bottom line dollar. I can fill your head with specific examples of where I have taken advantage of other agents to my client’s financial benefit. I can also show you where our skills brought a sales price 5% and more above what other agents thought they might get.
In this story one of the agents agent caved in less than 30 seconds. He went from 6% to 4% and showed that he wanted a quick sale where he represented both buyer and seller. There was no indication that he had any thoughts about achieving the highest sales price.
Agents are usually either oriented on saving you commission or getting you the highest net. In my experience, the agent who is oriented on highest net delivers a LOT more value to the home seller.
The easiest way to make a logical fact-based decision on an agent is to start with a consistent set of facts. I prepared a form that you can use when you need to find a listing agent for your home. You can get the form instantly, by email. If you would like to know how to interpret the answers to these questions, CLICK HERE.