by Michael Ertem
.Isn't that the best thing to have? Who would not like to increase their bottom line? I hope you do.
Let's talk about the commission first and then talk about how homes are sold and why you need real estate agents to sell your home in spite of the advancement in technology and information flow.
Agents are doing whatever they can to keep home sellers from paying less. If you try to negotiate the fee, they will tell you that 5% is already discounted from their usual 6% fee. They will tell you that the value they bring to the table is priceless. Every one of them is going to talk about the values that are very similar to each other.
My question is, what values? Who decides on it? Is it because they tell you that it is a value you take it at its face value? You receive a calendar with a football schedule with the agent's picture on it or some useless magnet you use on your refrigerator that also has agent's picture. How about a newsletter that was written by someone else with recipes. Is that the value they are bringing to the table? Seriously ask that question to yourself, what is the value this agent is bringing to me?
My personal philosophy is that I bring value because I will perform all the duties that a Real Estate professional should perform as a part of the job description while bringing substantial savings to my sellers and buyers. That is why I am offering a 1% LISTING FEE and rebates to home buyers. That's what I call value.
Honesty, integrity, fiduciary duty, professional ethics and other values are the foundation of any relationship. It is a given and expected, besides, you are the one who can confirm those values in an agent, not because you are told they are so. I will never understand why anyone advertises those values, as if doing the right thing is a matter of exclusivity. We are supposed to be honest, possess high integrity, be ethical, and provide fiduciary duty as decent human beings at the minimum. I personally know some people who talk of integrity often when they don't even have an understanding of the concept. I am sure you know people like that around you too. Identify them, it is really not that hard if you listen. To me, value is bringing strong consultancy and education to home sellers and buyers, as well the monetary value of savings, period.
Now, let's talk about the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Frankly speaking, we the real estate agents get our power from the MLS. Information is power and if you can control the information you are in a position of power. Almost all the houses on the market for sale are listed in the MLS. It brings the widest pool of buyers. Open houses, ads in newspapers or magazines or fliers are no longer effective. They don't sell homes; they help agents to identify buyers. Hence, they are marketing tools for the agent not for selling the home. If you decide to sell your home yourself, you won't be able to list it on MLS, and since you are missing large pool of buyers, the chances that you are getting the best price market bears for your property is not that good. There are, of course, exceptions so it is not impossible. Statistically speaking the odds are not in your favor when you are trying to sell as a "for sale by owner."
Here is another truth for you, Listing agents don't sell homes. Is that a surprise for you? The path to marketing a home is clear, and it is not a rocket science. First, you present the home at its best: whether stage, remove clutter, or do some minor fixing or a coat of fresh paint. Second, price right and third, expose it to as many buyers as possible. Most buyers find their home through internet searches. Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, Redfin, and many other sites, including individual agent websites offer great search tools. Professional photography is essential. A picture is better than a thousand words. Social media marketing with pictures and videos is proven to be very important; where people can share the information with their friends and increase the exposure.
Your listing agent is your advocate; he represents you. You are going to be dealing with him for several weeks. First and foremost, you need to like him, and then trust him. Look for body language, consistency in his words, check his knowledge and experience, not because he is telling you he is experienced, find your way by probing qualifying questions. The character is important; stay away from persons with huge egos. Frequent usage of "I" is one clue. He is more concerned about himself, and his achievements than with you. Listen, listen and listen and believe when some tells you who they are in between their words. They always do and they reveal their personality within their conversation. Pick it up by listening.
Here is one more fact: your home is not going to sell for more than what qualified buyers are willing to pay. Then, how do you get top dollar for your home? Please pay attention to the word "qualified". The final price always depends on the market conditions. It is a simple equation of supply and demand. If there are more people interested in your home, you will get a better price. Your listing agent's skills and knowledge come in to play here; just as an example, he can make several calls to top offerers and encourage them to go even higher in their bidding, which results in a higher price for you. Doing simple things like this will give you more and all it depends on the person you hired.
Finally, MLS is king, and if you have a skillful listing agent who has experience in real estate, combined with experience in life, psychology, human behavior, marketing, communication, negotiation and technology and if you can get all these at a discounted price, you are the winner. I prefer to be called "a full-service reduced-fee broker" rather than discount broker because "discount" implies reduced services. You don't have to sacrifice service levels to receive savings.
No matter where you are around the country, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. Although, I only serve homebuyers and homeowners in greater San Francisco Bay Area, I will gladly answer any of your questions.