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Judging An Agent’s Listing Presentation

I brainstorm with dozens of real estate agents every month. I have sat down with literally hundreds of them over the years. And one of the primary questions I ask them is “Why would I list my home with you?”. I am constantly amazed that over 90% of them give the same exact basic answers.

They discuss the 50 websites they have access to, brag about their (or their company’s) market share, and present a standard marketing plan sprinkled with print media and open houses. Shockingly, these agents are puzzled when home sellers choose the agent with the lowest commission or the one who promises a higher sales price. When every offer is basically the same, wouldn’t you pick the one that puts the most money in your pocket?

In today’s world, where only 10% of the available inventory is going to sell this month, you need more than a listing agent…you need a LEADER. As far as I am concerned, there are three components to leadership:

1. Expertise

An agent must prove themselves as well versed in many areas in order to ask someone to follow them. Market trends like those discussed in this blog daily, interest rate movements, the changing mortgage landscape, knowledge of your competition (the other homes for sale that are also trying to lure any potential buyers), and being a raving fan of the community are some of the components that make an expert. Additionally, experts have others in their sphere of influence who are experts in other disciplines- mortgage, taxation, estate planning and more

2. Listening Skills

How can anyone help anyone if they don’t take the time to LISTEN? They need to understand your needs. What’s more important…price or timing? Why are you moving? Where are you going to begin the next chapter of your life? What are the reasons you bought your home (because it might give a clue to your eventual purchaser)? Great agents ask a lot of questions. If you find yourself asking more questions than the agent, you have not found a leader. Leaders listen so they can help their followers get the result that the followers desire. It’s called Servant Leadership.

3. Creativity

Once you are comfortable that an agent knows their stuff and that they care more about your result than their pay check, you need an agent who has unique solutions to the problem. Simply stated: How can they get your house to stand out with all this inventory? An agent’s marketing plan is what ultimatelyattracts potential buyers and, if your agent is just putting you in with all the clutter of the big websites on the Internet, you are doomed for disappointment. Single property websites, text messaging, QR codes as well as geographic, cultural and employment marketing strategies are crucial. Unique Open Houses that incorporate potential repairs, renovations or upgrades with the FHA’s 203K loan could be important as well. Or, you can also try anything else that’s “outside the box”.

As a consumer, it’s okay to follow when you find a true leader- one who is a creative, serving expert. Take it from me…they are rare.  However, when you find one, they are worth their weight in gold.

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11 replies
  1. Sheila Doherty
    Sheila Doherty says:

    Great piece. Real Estate has changed huge from when I 1st became a realtor in 1996. There is no excuse not to be better, serving with greater passion, and getting the job done for both buyers and sellers. The information shared these days is overwhelming yet powerful if harnessed for the good of our industry.

  2. Dean Hartman
    Dean Hartman says:

    Susan, thanks for the nice words….

    Judy, when a house needs work (like many do, especially with all the short sales and foreclosures on the market), why not include a contractor at your open house? They can do renderings and bring samples to show what the home could look like. Add in your loan officer and an explanation of the 203K program and you can creat excitment about a less-than-perfect home.

  3. Josette Skilling
    Josette Skilling says:

    Right on the money! It’s all the parts working together in a well executed plan that will make for a successful sale. What the seller is willing to do to get there is critical and then we need to base all the other elements of the marketing plan on that motivation.

    Commission is part of the sales tool and I find that when explained like that sellers start to see how it’s the wrong focus. If we were all widgets it would be easy to base on price :)

    Love the great tip on bringing in the 203K and construction experts to explain how to solve the problems right there as buyers are looking!


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