So you have to sell your home (in the worst market of the past 100+ years) and you're trying to figure out how to choose a real estate agent. You know that you need to interview some agents for the job of selling your home, but you have no idea what to do. Use this brief article as a reference to the key steps in choosing the real estate agent (real estate company) to market and sell your home.
If you read many articles on how to choose a real estate agent, they will often recommend that you interview two or three agents. Personally, I would recommend that you interview just one, and that would be the one that your research told you is the best one to get your home sold. Use the following processes and you will be able to find that agent in your area.
The Nature Of The Real Estate Brokerage Industry
In most industries, great sales people are responsible for bringing in new customers. The convince people to sign on the dotted line after showing them the benefits of working with their company. Most CEOs will tell you their companies are only as good as their sales processes.
But real estate is different. Just as in corporate America, real estate agents have to bring in the business. They have to get Sellers and Buyers to sign on the dotted line after showing them the benefits of a home (or an offer from a Buyer). But unlike corporate America, real estate agents then have to do all the follow-up work that a new listing or new sale creates. They have to do the marketing, the advertising, the field work, the showings, the inspections, the research, etc. etc. etc.
You see, in 99% of all real estate companies around the US, real estate agents do all the work. I know of no other large industry where the business model is so skewed to such an imbalance. Nonetheless, you can still make great decisions in regards to how to choose a real estate agent, you just have to recognize that the interview process is not the time to discover anything. You see, a good salesperson will come to your home and "close you" on why you should hire them to do all of this work.
Do you really want to be "closed" by somebody? Wouldn't you rather observe proof of current performance, rather than be dazzled by a glossy sales pitch that gets you excited but does not really explain to you how and why your home will sell? Remember, roughly 60% of home sellers failed to sell their home in the past 365 days, so you really need to understand how to choose a real estate agent.
Before You Interview A Real Estate Agent
This is the most important step in getting your home sold. The National Association of REALTORS survey of homebuyers showed that 94% of buyers used the internet when buying their home. To maximize the price that you get and to minimize the time it takes to sell your home, you absolutely must hire the agent who dominates the internet with its local web site.
Don't be fooled by promises of exposure on 100+ web sites ... because you will get that from just about anybody you hire! Yep, that's right. We all have feeds that go out to realtor.com, century21.com, remax.com, zillow.com, trulia.com, etc.com, etc.com, and etc.com.
You can hire the worst real estate agent in your market area and still get exposure on those sites, so with 60% of the listings failing to sell, that must mean that exposure on those sites is not what is needed to get a home sold!
So how do you know which real estate agent or company dominates your local housing market? Just go to compete.com and input the websites of all agents that you are considering. Don't be fooled by putting in the brand site (in my case Century21.com), you must look at the site they use to target regional buyers that transition locally from the large sites I have already mentioned.
When You Interview A Real Estate Agent
While I advocate only interviewing the one agent that you know is the best in your area, I would certainly interview more than one if I was unhappy with the first interview. The key is to confirm that you have found the one that will get you the TARGETED EXPOSURE that your property needs. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of targeted exposure, just follow this link to a brief video explaining why targeted exposure sells a home.
You should spend as much time with the real estate agent as necessary for you to have a solid understanding on how she or he is going to drive traffic to your listing (on the internet). Assuming that you have chosen an agent with very high traffic on the internet, the key is to ensure that you will get traffic reports to your specific property listing. While this might appear to be confusing for you, it had better be well received by your listing agent.
For sure this is the toughest real estate market for as long as anybody can remember, but new technologies and systems are available that will give you a distinct market advantage if you leverage the benefits of a progressive marketing plan on the internet. Be wise and join the 40% of home sellers who succeeded in getting their home sold last year.
Joe Manausa, MBA is a 26 year veteran of real estate brokerage in Tallahassee, Florida and has owned and managed his own company since 1992. He is a daily blogger with content that focuses on real estate analytics and providing his clients with a tactical advantage in today's challenging market.