If you’re one of the brave souls that’s ever attempted navigating through the treacherous waters of selling your home, then you’re not a stranger to the stressful nature of such a transaction. Sure, selling a home sounds quick and painless, especially if you’re using a realtor, right?
Thousands of homeowners that don’t understand the anatomy of a real estate transaction (or just want mass MLS exposure of their home), will hire a realtor, aka a “glorified real estate agent”. They do this under the assumption that a realtor will make the transaction go smoother, simpler, and most importantly, faster. Unfortunately, many home owners have quite a different experience.
Here are a few signals to look out for that could mean it’s time to find another realtor:
1. You House Simply Isn’t Selling
The idea that a real estate agent, through their hard effort and experience finds just the right buyer for your home is simply a real estate myth. You see, there are only 3 main factors that will actually cause your home to go from unsold to…sold. They are: Price, Condition, and Location. No one can change the location, so if a home is priced correctly according to its condition, then anyone can sell it…not just a realtor.
So, if you’re house isn’t selling as quickly as you were told by your realtor, then why should you blame them? Because once you hire a realtor to represent you, they owe you a fiduciary duty.
You see, in acting as a fiduciary to you, they should properly research the market, and advise you to list the property at a price that will bring offers. If the realtor advises you on an incorrect list price that’s too high, in order to “get the listing”, then you won’t know until months later when your house remains unsold.
2. Promises Are Being Broken
It’s not uncommon for a newbie real estate agent that desperately needs a listing to over-promise and under-deliver, especially in regard to the amount of money that they say they can get you for your house. But newbie realtors and agents don’t always intentionally make promises that they can’t keep; sometimes they lack the experience in properly determining home values for their clients.
If a realtor tells you that they can sell your house for $150,000 in 60 days or less without providing proof of similar homes selling at that same price within that same time period, then red flags should go up right away. Agents that list “over-priced” homes using this technique have a pre-planned strategy to encourage you (after a few weeks have passed) to reduce the list price of your home. If you’ve found that your agent/realtor has over-priced your home, ask them to release you from the listing agreement immediately and either sell your house without a REALTOR or hire a new one.
3. There’s Zero Marketing Being Done
Believe it or not, the only marketing that a realtor really has to do to generate an offer on a well-priced home, is to list it in the local Board Of Realtors Multiple Listing Service (the MLS). Once listed, your home is instantly available to hundreds or even thousands of other realtors and their buyers to see. So it’s actually the MLS that’s a realtor’s best and usually only marketing tool to get your home sold quickly and for the most amount of money.
If your realtor doesn’t take the time to have professional photos taken of your home, and quickly get all the details accurately entered into the MLS and on the market by the agreed upon date, then you should be extremely concerned. Why? Because if your realtor can’t do the ONE marketing task that is actually going to bring offers, then you have to wonder what else their letting fall through the cracks during the remainder of the selling process.
4. Communication Is Seriously Lacking
You’ve heard it before, “communication is key”, and in a real estate transaction, it’s not just a cliche; thousands of dollars could be lost if communication is lacking between you and your realtor.
You should be concerned early on, if you believe that you’re realtor isn’t informing you of:
- the feedback received from buyers that have seen your home but have yet to make an offer
- offers from qualified buyers in a timely manner
- potential issues with the buyer’s loan processing/approval
- statuses of reports, such as inspection reports or appraisals
- the status of your counter-offers
Realtors need to be in constant communication with their clients throughout the entire listing agreement period. If yours isn’t, you might consider a different realtor.
5. Questions Aren’t Getting Answered Accurately Or Honestly
If you find early on, that your realtor can’t answer simple questions that directly relate to the industry that they work in, then you could be setting yourself up for failure. You absolutely must make sure that your realtor/real estate agent is competent enough in their field to be able to hold your hand and guide you properly through the complexities of selling a piece of real estate. Their not selling cars or mattresses; their selling your nest egg that you’ve treated like your firstborn.
With that in mind, if your realtor isn’t able to answer these questions accurately, they are highly unqualified to be your Fiduciary:
- When exactly does the “Option Period” expire?
- The buyer wants to negotiate repairs before the inspection. Should we?
- How do you know that this buyer is qualified to purchase this home?
- Do you know the track record of the selling agent that is representing the buyer?
- What factors are preventing my home from selling, besides price?
Due to the complexities of a real estate transaction, unfortunately, most home owners lack the experience to “know what they don’t know”. If that’s you, then don’t let fear stop you from hiring a realtor to represent you, just be mindful of what we covered in this article, before, during, and after you decided to work with a real estate professional.