When you hire an agent, you’re hiring a skill set.
Agents offer expertise in pricing, staging, marketing, negotiation, contract preparation, due diligence and project management.
A good agent is also a skilled leader, advising clients of how to seize opportunities and avoid pitfalls.
Like anything requiring personal skill – be it golf or tennis or surgery – some practitioners are better than others.
One obvious difference between agents is cost. Some agents charge less than others and it’s easy to understand which agent is best on this metric.
Yet, the more expensive agent may actually achieve a higher net bottom line for a client.
Not all agents are created equal.
One seller’s recent experience is inspiring and instructive … and typical of what consumers will experience when they find a highly skilled professional to represent them in a real estate transaction:
The sellers listed their house with an agent in May. It was in a good area. It was in a normal price range.
Yet three months later, it was still on the market. Few showings. No offers.
The retired couple who owned this home were not under financial duress. They owned the property outright with no mortgage owed on the house.
Getting the house sold, however, was key to plans they had for the next phase of their lives and they were immensely frustrated and stressed over the lack of success.
As the listing expired with the first agent, the sellers were referred to a Colorado Home Realty (CHR) agent. They agreed to work together and he got to work.
Following a methodology developed, trained and practiced by CHR agents to ensure that sellers receive the highest possible price for their real estate, here is what this CHR agent did:
- Staging: The agent arranged staging for this vacant property so as to highlight the livability of the floor plan. He also arranged for a professional cleaning of the home at his expense.
- Professional Photos: A photographer was hired, again at the agent’s expense, to take high quality photos of the property.
- Property Description: The description of the property in the MLS was changed to make it more readable and to emphasize key benefits of the home. This is vitally important as this is the information that is picked up by popular public sites like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com
- “Showing” Simplicity: The agent used a showing service that makes scheduling showings quick and easy. He also counseled the sellers not to require a 24-hour notice for showings, which they had been requesting previously.
- Additional Marketing: Targeted Facebook ads where used to reach potential buyers and an email flyer about the home was sent to all agents in the area just prior to it going back on the market.
Equally worth noting is a key item the CHR agent did NOT do … he did not suggest a decrease in the asking price.
Being overpriced can definitely keep a property from selling, but the agent’s market analysis convinced him that price was not the issue. This property was priced properly for the current market conditions.
The agent got all of the above done within just a few days of the first agents expiration.
The home went back on the market on a Thursday morning and here is what happened:
- There were 26 showings in the first 24 hours.
- Multiple offers materialized.
- By mid-afternoon on Saturday, the property was under contract for $11,000 over the seller’s asking price!
The vital takeaway for consumers is that real estate agents are not commodities. Each one is different and achieves a different result for a client.
You don’t get the same result from every agent.
If the first agent had snagged a buyer for the client after being on the market for a while and without competing offers, it probably would have been at a price 2% BELOW the asking price.
Instead, the second agent was able to get 4% OVER the asking price by being more skilled at real estate fundamentals.
Agent #2 got the sellers 6% MORE than Agent #1 would have gotten.
Even if Agent #2 was charging 1 or 2% more for his service, the sellers would walk away from the closing table with a lot more money in their pockets.
Moral: The least expensive agent is rarely the agent that offers the best value.