When homes are selling as fast as they are in Northern VA, you may wonder whether it really matters who your agent is. When the market is tough, it seems Sellers seek out the top Realtors in the area. But when the market starts to come back, some Sellers are lulled into thinking it doesn’t really matter and so they list with an agent for the “wrong reasons”.
What are the “Wrong Reasons” to list with an agent?
- Your relative is an agent.
- The agent “liked” your house.
- Your neighbor is an agent.
- The agent gave you the highest price.
- Your exercise partner is an agent.
- The agent is a solo agent instead of part of a team.
Whether the market is “good” or “bad”, it’s important to remember that you are trusting your most important financial asset, as well as your family’s well-being, to the person you hire as your Realtor. This is a business decision and you need a professional to advocate for & guide you.
Your relative is an agent. Your neighbor is an agent. Your exercise partner is an agent.
Family members, friends & neighbors can make good Realtors. But the fact that they are a relative or someone you already know is NOT the only criteria to weigh. We often hear “But my friend/relative will be so upset with me if I don’t list with him/her.” If this is the primary reason you are choosing them, it might be the wrong reason.
The agent “liked” your house.The agent gave you the highest price.
Sometimes people select a Realtor because when they interview agents to hire, there is one who is really complimentary of the house and/or one that gives a higher price that is more in line with what they are thinking. These are often the Sellers that come to us to list their homes when they don’t sell with the first Realtor. Hire a Realtor who will be honest with you. Realtors who gloss over possible issues and/or “buy” the listing by quoting the highest price are often the same Realtors whose listings take longer to sell and sell for a lower percentage of list price. The longer a home is on the market, the less it will sell for.
The agent is a solo agent instead of part of a team.
Another comment we hear is “I want to list with so-and-so because she is not part of a big team. I’ll get more personal attention that way.” Imagine hiring a doctor who was a solo praticioner with no support staff. That would mean he would check you in, do your insurance paperwork, weigh you, examine you, diagnose you, treat you, collect your check, schedule your next appointment and then call you to remind you of your appointment. How much time would he really have to spend doing the most important part – diagnosing & treating you?
Working with a team actually means that you will get a LOT more attention and attention from people who are experts in each part of your real estate transaction. You will have the counsel & care of not just the agent, but their professional photographer, stager, listing manager, marketing specialist, closing manager, etc.
IF YOU WERE GOING TO ASK YOUR POTENTIAL REALTOR JUST THREE QUESTIONS, WHAT SHOULD THEY BE?
1. “What is the average days on market and sold-to-list-price ratio in my area and what are your statistics?”
Example: So far in 2013 for homes sold in Northern VA, average days on market is 55 days. The Belt Team’s average is 6 days. Average sold-to-list price in Northern VA is 95.9%. The Belt Team’s average is 99.2%. Our listings sell faster AND for more money than average. So a Seller of a $900,000 home would have netted an extra $30,000+ and saved almost 2 months mortgage payments & 2 months hassle.
2. How many homes did you sell last year?
Example: The average Realtor in Northern VA sold 4 homes last year. The Belt Team sold 116. (Conclusion: Experience counts. Why? Experience begets mastery. Mastery is one reason our homes sell faster and for more money.)
3. Where can I read client reviews about you on a 3rd party site?
Example: You can find reviews about The Belt Team on Zillow.com (and Trulia and Yelp). We are not able to preview or approve the reviews since this is a 3rd party site. These reviews will tell you a LOT about your potential agent and what it will be like to work with them.
BOTTOM LINE: It DOES matter who your agent is. With inventory so low in Northern VA, it’s likely your home will sell. And sell quickly. But it will sell FASTER, easier and for more money with a top agent. Call (703) 242-3975 NOW if you are thinking of selling.