Fact or Fiction: How to Choose the Right Agent

In Real Estate Insights, Real Estate Tips, Sun City Palm Desert, Sun City Shadow Hills

There is no perfect formula to find the perfect agent to list your home. However, there are a few tips that can help people to try and find the right agent or Realtor® for the job. The Sun City Insider asked the lead agent at the Jelmberg Team, Penny Jelmberg, for an example of a typical question asked by homeowners looking to sell their home. She gave the Sun City Insider this insight:

“While at a listing appointment last week, the welcoming homeowner, now our client, asked me a question that I have heard many times before. “There are so many real estate agents out there Penny, why should I choose your team?”, she demonstrated her point by displaying five postcard mailers and the community magazine littered with various Realtor® ads.”

While Penny answered has answered this question many times, she felt that it really does not get to the core of what really is important when selecting an agent or Realtor® to list and sell a home effectively. In this article we outline some of the core misconceptions that may hold back an individual from find the perfect agent.

Market Timing for your home sale.
Time on the Market is an important factor when listing a home for sale.

If you have lived within a Del Webb Sun City Community through a fall and winter season, we’re sure you have grown accustomed to the enormous amounts of real estate advertising via direct mail postcards, ads in your community magazine, and/or the newspaper. Real estate agents understand that when it comes to listing, buying and selling homes, you have many options, and they have to put their best foot forward in an attempt to capture your attention. Unfortunately, in their endeavor to accomplish this, some agents may tend to distort facts in the process.

Following is a handful of fact or fiction statements to assist you with the overwhelming task of sifting through advertising and choosing your agent. Remember, your home may be the greatest investment of your life, and once you make the clear decision to move, choosing your agent is the second most important choice in the process. Choosing the right agent can help secure a quick sale and smooth, virtually stress-free escrow. On the other hand, choosing an agent without the necessary skills may spell disaster and cause your home to sit on the market for months and potentially sell at a greatly reduced price. Take your time and choose carefully. The facts presented here will help you do just that.

Fact or Fiction?

A) Most everyone knows a real estate agent, so it’s better that I choose someone I know to represent my listing, sale and/or purchase a home.

Overwhelmed Agent
A home sale can be a big task for inexperienced agents. Always choose a true professional and ask to see their recent sales.

Fiction! You would think that it makes sense to hire a relative or friend, as they would take extra special care of you during one of the most important transactions of your life. However, all too often it’s just the opposite. Experience is a huge factor in properly pricing, marketing, and procuring the right buyer for your home, and this is just the start of the services your agent should have mastered.

Your real estate agent should have expert level ability to navigate the negotiation of offers, and ensure all contractual details are completed on time per your purchase agreement (this may include but is not limited to; disclosures and contingencies, to repairs and escrow documents, etc.). Hire the expert, if that happens to not be your friend or family member, they will understand.

B) The brokerage your real estate agent is affiliated with is a major factor.

Fiction! Agents or real estate teams generally act independently of each other.
Agents, regardless of broker affiliation, show buyers the available homes that best fit the buyer’s stated needs (not homes only listed by agents affiliated with their brokerage). As the internet has become a prevalent tool for home searches and sales, the value the broker once provided agents and ultimately homeowners has diminished. All brokerages, big and small have both accomplished agents and those that lack the appropriate skill-sets to properly represent their clients.

C) I should hire my agent solely based on his/her advertised number of sales, or the agent that claims to be the #1 Realtor® or “community expert”.

Fiction! As you have probably deduced from the ads littering your mailbox, community magazine and the Desert Sun, there are many self-proclaimed “community experts”. Some will even publish their sales numbers to communicate their effectiveness (this is a practice that our team utilizes). Be careful here, sales numbers are useful, but can be easily misunderstood. Terms like “clients represented” can easily distort true sales numbers. This is because there are generally two “clients” on the listing side and two on the buyer side. Another technique sometimes used is to include all the sales of the agent’s brokerage in their sales numbers. These statistics are meaningless. The true data you want to know is how many sides (buyer and seller transactions) has the agent or team successfully completed on their own? More importantly, how many have they completed in the last six months or year? While historical sales numbers indicate longevity, recent sales numbers help measure the agent’s current effectiveness, marketing strategies and overall health of their business. This is important for you, as the relationship with your Realtor® is a partnership, the goal being to connect your home with the right buyer as quickly as possible and at the best price. You naturally want your partner’s business to be healthy, performing at peak capacity and using cutting edge technology and business practices to accomplish this. With this in mind, we highly encourage you to interview potential agents and teams. Get your questions answered about their business, services, marketing, and knowledge and find the agent or team that fits best with your goals of selling and/or buying. Sales data alone does not paint the whole picture.

D) Listening to your agent generally works best, even if what they tell you may not initially be what you want to hear.

Fact! You hire an agent for their knowledge and expertise toward your goal of listing and selling your home. Most homeowners have a strong idea as to what they’d like their selling price to be. This can be a good starting place; however, the right agent should have vast knowledge of current market conditions, comparable sales information, and be able to communicate how these factors affect the price and salability of your home. If an agent agrees to price your home above market value, it may sit for months with little activity. By the time the price is lowered to align with the old market conditions at the time your listing became active, it may be too late as market conditions have likely changed with the seasons. The right agent will be confident enough in their abilities to tell you the truth based on current market values, which may very well save you money in the long run!

E) It pays to talk your agent into reducing their commission.

Fiction! There are no set commissions and you have the right to offer as low of a commission as your agent is willing to accept. However, keep in mind that you often get what you pay for, and this rule undoubtedly applies to who you list your home with. Who do you think will work harder in selling your home: an agent who will be receiving a 3% commission or a 2% commission? A better question is, who will invest more to get your home sold? Selling your home requires a substantial upfront investment by your agent in the form of time and marketing. If your Realtor® agrees to and expects to get paid less for the same services provided to their other clients, you may be lucky if your property appears on little more than the MLS. The greater the commission, the more an agent may be willing to spend toward the goal of selling your home.

The same can be said if a reduced commission is offered to potential buyers agents. If an agent is showing several properties (including yours) to potential buyers, is that agent going to make an extra effort to get your home sold at 2.5% or the house down the street at 3%? Pay the right agent and they will get your home sold at a true market value.

There are many things to consider when selling your home which it is important to go into a listing appointment prepared to ask the right questions. If you are more informed on the important factors in choosing an agent you will be more satisfied with your sale price and reduce the stress associated with this important task.

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One commentOn Fact or Fiction: How to Choose the Right Agent

  • I’m glad that you mention how you hire an agent for their knowledge and expertise so it’s a good idea to listen to them. When choosing a real estate agent, you’d probably want to find one who you’re comfortable with and who is willing to communicate with you. If you can communicate well with each other, it could ensure that they’ll explain the process to you and give you recommendations that will help with your situation.

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