GET THE BEST PERFORMANCE FROM YOUR LISTING AGENT
How to get peak performance out of your listing agent.
|Why do some home sellers breeze through their real estate transaction with ease, while others end up frustrated with their listing agent? Of course, they may simply have selected the wrong agent. But, sometimes the difference is the seller's attitude. Sellers who understand the real estate business and how it works, have a real advantage in motivating their real estate agent! Here are six tips on how to get peak performance out your listing agent.
1. Understand the importance of commissions.
Real estate agents work on straight commission. That means they devote their time and resources to selling homes that give them the best opportunity to earn the most money. Although commissions are negotiable, the usual fee is 6 percent. Some agents expect 7 percent, others accept 5 percent and a few work on a sliding scale. Although a 5 percent commission is not a complete turn-off, 6 percent is definitely more interesting. You can bet that if the commission offered is less than 5 percent, your agent's motivation, marketing budget and client service will suffer greatly.
If your listing agent agrees to a discount commission, chances are good that the buyer's agent is also being offered a reduced commission. Here's how it works. The listing broker and the selling broker typically split the commission paid by the seller - 50/50. Many buyer's agents start showing homes that offer 3 percent for their side, then they go to 2.5 percent listings. Many won't even show a home that offers them only 2 percent. So, if you really want to sell your home, make it as sweet as possible for both the seller's and the buyer's agent.
2. Offer a bonus to the buyer's agent.
Another strategy is to offer a bonus to the buyer's agent. This can make your home stand out from the others and it may get shown more, based strictly on a higher commission! As a result, you may get a buyer who normally would not be shown your house if the commission was lower.
3. Understand the importance of proper pricing.
An over-priced home hurts both the seller and the listing agent, because it sits on the market for a long time and eats up the agent's marketing budget. Everybody spins their wheels with an over-priced home. If you insist on over-pricing your home, your agent may ask for a higher commission to cover the extra time and marketing expenses.
4. Get a written marketing plan.
Right up front, you should request a detailed marketing plan from your listing agent. Then, review it from time-to-time to be sure it's being followed. The plan should include a time table for the various activities and some thought should be given to the target buyer and how to reach them. A written marketing plan sets specific standards of performance for the listing agent and includes agreed-upon goals and objectives for the real estate relationship. Use Neal Hribar's powerful 7-stage home marketing plan as a guide to cover all the details of a good marketing plan.
5. Get your home in top condition and keep it there.
A house that's in good shape is more appealing to buyers and is easier to sell than a fixer-upper. That's why buyer's agents prefer to show the most attractive and best-maintained homes first. People buy homes that are clean and sharp so, make your home sparkle and shine. If you can't afford to get your home in perfect condition, at least keep it clean and get rid of your clutter. See Neal's home staging program for more home enhancement ideas.
6. Make your home easy to show.
Selling your home can be uncomfortable because nobody likes to have their privacy invaded. But, accessibility is really important when selling a home. If a seller does not want a "for sale" sign, I'll honor their request. But I'm quick to point out that we'll eliminate about 25 percent of the telephone inquiries. Or, if the seller does not want any open houses we lose another marketing tool.
Some sellers can get ready for a showing in an hour. While, others require unreasonable advanced notice. If you want to sell your home, make it available for showings. Like a low commission, an inaccessible home turns off real estate agents. When I run into a home that's difficult to show, I'm usually off to show the next home for sale - life's just too short to waste my time!
HINT: Communicate with your agent about any concerns you may have, because they don't like being left in the dark about things any more than you do. Sellers can stew over something for a week before they pick up the phone and call their agent. Communication is a two-way street and many times your agent is not aware that you're not happy. Call your listing agent the moment you're not satisfied with their service.
BONUS HINT: If you get any calls about your property, if a potential buyer just stops by, if an agent fails to keep a scheduled showing appointment - take names and telephone numbers and pass them along to your listing agent. Demonstrate your eagerness to cooperate and your willingness to keep the lines of communication open. If you run into a complete communication breakdown, you can call the office manager or broker to request another listing agent. Use this tactic only a last resort because you don't want to get a reputation among the real estate community as a difficult seller.
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