Some days I feel like banging my head against the wall.
I heard a friend say recently that she didn't understand why her neighbor's house had not sold. After all, they went with the Realtor who gave them the highest price. Said just like that. Never once crossed her mind how inconsistent with success that was and she had no understanding whatsoever that her neighbor was likely "bought" with a too high price that the agent knew he couldn't bring in.
Thus the head banging. How do I counter the assumption that people have that we as agents are going to get you more than your house is worth? The market dynamics are what they are and the true competence any seller should be seeking is to find someone who understands that market with a keen sense of buyer urgency, has a marketing plan that includes many creative ways to get your house in front of buyers and a good grasp of the current financial climate.
You are not selling your house to the highest bidding real estate agent. I'm going to repeat that. You are not in a bidding war with real estate agents.
But you are in a war with other sellers to compete for the same pool of buyers. And that is the critical role of a really good listing agent: to bring the market to you. The most market possible so a probable buyer will surface and buy your house. That buyer is going to set the final price for your house if you decide to take it. Not the listing agent!!
I experienced this recently with sellers who interviewed me to sell their home but wouldn't tell me what they thought it was worth or what they were considering selling it for. They said they really liked me and wanted to go with me "based on the price I gave them."
That head banging thing again...
No matter how many times I said it was like playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey to find the right price at which they'd hire me, they never saw the error of their ways. Or maybe they did and just thought that if they kept up the search they'd find someone who would do a CMA and come up with the elusive price they were looking for.
Seriously, how can anyone expect a professional to work like this? And how easy do you think it would have been for me to say because I have such a good marketing plan, I'm sure I'll be able to get you $1.2M for your home, when I knew it would likely sell for no more than $1M. They would have signed an exclusive listing agreement with me so fast, but before the ink was dry we'd be talking about how the market wasn't responding and they'd have to think about a price reduction to get sold.
There was an agent in this particular market who very likely would do exactly what they thought they wanted. They have no way to connect the dots and know the postcard they received from the agent touting her success at selling another home in their neighborhood, did so with 485 days on market and a 20% reduction from the original price to the sold price. That was a painful process for the seller and one that could have been avoided if they had listened and chosen the agent who could help them:
1) Get the home in the best condition and get excellent photography in place
2) Understand the market pricing and help them price with their motivation and needs in mind but with the fundamental reality that the buyers would set the final pricing
3) Market the house with more than just the local MLS in mind. The house needs to be marketed all over the Internet so there is widespread coverage that brings in the buyers who are relocating as well as any local buyers.
4) Help them get out of their own way so they can successfully sell their home and get on with the next phase of their lives
I fully understand the lure of that high price someone gives you. It's like the siren song that reels you into the rocks... As a seller you need to remember that your focus is on hiring someone who can back up the recommended pricing and get your house sold. Just because you can throw a rock and find someone who will tell you what you want to hear is not reason enough to hire them for one of the most important transactions in your life.
If you are looking to buy or sell a home here or in one of the other lovely surrounding Bethesda real estate communities, please start your search by calling me, a Bethesda Realtor.
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Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
Copyright © 2010 by Josette Skilling
Bethesda Real Estate and Bethesda Homes for Sale