This article, of course, is a generalization as not all agents are the same. There are some GREAT agents I know who provide fantastic service and put their clients first. Sadly, there are some other agents who are the opposite of this. The type who hide things from their clients and give poor service.
Here are ten things that agents are not always completely forthcoming about with you for a variety of reasons. Watch out for these when you are considering who to use for your real estate needs.
1. I have another job: Some agents do not practice real estate full-time. If your agent tells you this, run, do not walk away from that situation. I know, I know, some of these agents are great people. Maybe they are teachers and practice real estate in the summer only, but the buying and selling of your home is too important to leave to somebody doing it part-time. You have to be in the profession day in and day out to really get a feel for what is going on, where the deals are, and stay sharp with your negotiating skills.
2. I do open houses for me: Trust me on this as I am an agent and hear other agents talk about open houses. Agents do them because they hope to get buyer leads. Period. Yes, some open houses lead to sales, but far and away it is not a viable marketing strategy. Your home has a great chance of selling through many other forms of marketing and an open house can be excluded. Want proof of what I am saying? The most common tactic for rookies to get new business is to do open houses for other agents. This should tell you that it isn't about the most qualified person sitting in your home for three hours, it is about anybody sitting in your home for three hours. The seller feels served and the agent gets what they want.
3. My commission is negotiable: This is ALWAYS true. Your agent may blame their company for not giving them the ability to discount commission, but all agents work for themselves. We are not employed by our real estate companies. We are independent contractors. If your agent is unwilling to work with you and that is important to you, move on and find another qualified agent who will.
4. The truth about your house price: When an agent is competing for your listing with other agents, it is fairly common for an agent to "buy the listing". This simply means they tell you that your home is worth more than it actually is. This sounds good to a seller so they sign with that agent. The probem is, there is very little chance your home will sell at that price. Agents do this for a few reasons. 1. They get your listing instead of the competition. This is a big deal in real estate. 2. A sign in your yard and your listing marketed under their name is a chance to get other business through leads generated on your home. 3. many people have trouble firing an agent. Therefore, over time, they will ask for price drops to compensate for pricing it too high to begin with. Using that strategy, eventually they might get you down to the right range and get it sold. However, if you went with the agent who priced your home correctly from the beginning, you would have saved yourself months on the market.
5. You could be getting extras: Photography is a great example of this one. Most agents still shoot their own photos. It is safe to say, that agents are not trained photographers. Other agents, like me, use a professional to shoot your home photos. Which type of agent would you rather use. An agent who does not provide their service, will not be quick to tell you that other agents do offer it.
Another example is sites like Realtor.com. This website takes listings automatically from our MLS and puts them on that site. Once there, some agents do nothing with them. That means, your listing is really plain and boring on one of the most searched sites in the country for home buyers. Other agents pay money to "Showcase" your listing. This means you get more photos, more text and more attention. ask your agent about these things.
6. Lowball offers are ok! Nobody wants to get a lowball offer, but the absolute worst way to handle them as a seller is to get offended. This happens all the time and it is petty. Do you really blame the buyer for trying to get a good deal? Remember, it is a starting point. It is an invitation to start a conversation. Just because a buyer starts low does not mean they will not end high. Just throw them a counter, doing nothing, gets you nothing.
7. The actual cost of selling your home: Make sure your agent goes through an "Estimate of Net Proceeds" with you. This form will detail out most of your costs associated with selling your home. Remember when you sell a home in Iowa, you have to catch up on taxes that are always behind in Iowa. This is generally your second or third biggest cost after commission, and people often forget about it. Make sure you know what the "Brokerage fee" is as well. Most all agencies charge this and it goes to office staff for preparing your paperwork. I have seen that fee as high as $500. My office charges $75.
8. Your house is ugly: Let's be honest, it is tough for an agent to tell you negative things about your home. To help yourself, help your agent get this information out so you can do something about it. Your agent will be worried about offending you, but not telling you something that could prevent you from selling is worse. Let them know it is truly ok to criticize the house if it needs to be.
9. They are not the right fit for you. Agents want the listing badly, but sometimes, they should not get the listing. If an agent specializes in town homes in Norwalk, they may not be the right fit to list your mansion in Ankeny.
With that said, there are a lot of similarities from one property to the next, so an agent can sell many different types of home, but if this is a concern for you, ask the questions up front to gain a comfort level if your agent is the right person for the job.
10. I'm actually not that good at this real estate thing: Not all agents are good at real estate. It is a fairly easy business to get into. Do some research. Google your agents name. Does anything come up? If not, that is a bad sign. Ask for testimonials. Do they have any? Read them and study them. What are clients actually saying about the agent.
Do they have their own website? Are they on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn? Buyers today are tech savvy, you want your agent to be as well.
Do your homework and look around. You may be surprised what you find.
As always, I am here to answer your questions or talk about real estate with you. You can reach me at 515-864-6444 or by email at Mark@MarkCharter.com.
You can learn more about me at www.MarkCharter.com
RE/MAX Real Estate Center
Licensed to sell real estate in Iowa.