As a Listing Specialist who has been selling homes for over twenty years, it’s easy for me to forget that for many of you, this may be the very first time you have sold a home, or it may have been decades since you have been through the process. I have to remind myself before meeting with folks for the first time, that home buying and selling terminology that I consider routine may sound like a foreign language.
As I meet with home sellers and interview for the important job of selling their home, I really want to slow down my pace and ask the all-important question: What is the Number One Thing you will expect from me as your Realtor?
The Number One Answer May Surprise You
Almost without exception, when surveys go out in search of answers to this question, the answer isn’t “Just sell my house!” The Number One attribute home sellers are looking for in their Realtor of choice is frequent communication.
Here is what a home seller told me recently about her past experience with a Realtor:
“Nine months ago I hired a Realtor from a company I knew was well respected here in town. She promised me that she would keep me closely posted on the marketing she would be doing, and give me feedback on the showings, but ever since the sign went in my yard I have to hunt her down to know what’s going on. What happened to all that personal service she promised? It has left me with a bad taste in my mouth because she has broken all of her promises to me.”
This home seller’s frustration is echoed throughout the land. In surveys conducted by Realtor.com year after year, lack of communication from their real estate agent tops the charts as the number one complaint.
How To Help Ensure You Get Regular Communication From Your Realtor
1. Set your expectations from the start. When you interview Realtors, let each one know how often you want to be contacted, and how. Define a communication schedule. Do you want to be emailed once a week on a Monday, or would you prefer a phone call? For some of you, a quick text is all you want or need.
2. Ask to see a marketing schedule. This may be a little intimidating to some listing agents, but that’s okay. This will separate the good listing agents from the great listing agents. If your agent has promised high-quality and frequent marketing of your home, he or she should have no problem providing proof of where and how often your home is being advertised.
3. Decide together what you will be discussing. This is important, because you will also need to be prepared to hear the truth. A good Realtor is not going to simply tell you how many “hits” you received on the various websites, but is going to tell you the straight-up truth about what the potential buyers are saying as they view your home. (We use a scheduling service that sets up all home showings and sends out surveys for the real estate agents to fill out. Those surveys come to me and they also come simultaneously to my seller clients, so we discuss this in great detail once a week, openly and honestly.) If you keep hearing weekly that the buyers didn’t write an offer on your home because they didn’t like the wallpaper in the kitchen, it’s time to go ahead and take it down. If the feedback week after week is telling you the price is too high, chances are your home is not going to sell until you make the decision to drop the price.
4. Communication is a two-way street. Hopefully you will have built a good rapport with your Realtor and you both feel you say anything to each other without fear of negative ramifications. If you feel you are not getting the level of service you had been promised, let your Realtor know, and give her the chance to fix it. That’s why chatting once a week is so important. If something is weighing heavily on your mind or something seems to be going terribly wrong, you don’t want valuable marketing time to slip away that could make – or break – a sale.
Keeping It Real
Going all the way back to that initial interview, trust your instinct. After spending an hour or two with each Realtor, you should have a pretty good idea of who you would feel comfortable hearing from on a regular basis. The Realtor you hire will be someone you will be trusting with your personal and confidential information, so choose carefully. Take your time and have all of your questions and expectations written out so that you won’t forget to go over things that are important to you.
What About You?
This blog is my own UN-scientific survey to ask you what is most important to you when searching for the right fit in a Realtor. Please let me hear from you.