A family member in Sault Ste Marie called recently to discuss how they should choose a realtor to sell their home. I found the discussion to be truly eye opening, which surprised me. We go for ‘job interviews’ all the time. I do know what the most important attributes are, but seeing how the Sault Ste Marie realtors conveyed their value, and listening to their interpretation of the presentation got me thinking about how we do things now, and how we could do things better.
First – relationships are important. The realtor you choose is in a unique position to affect the end result of the sale of your home. You must trust them, you must feel comfortable communicating with them (even if you knew them before), you should feel that you are in good hands, you must know that they will always act in your best interests. How can that realtor affect the result? Well, they must be able to create and maintain a good relationship with all of the realtors whose clients might be considering your home. They must have access to a network of trades and organizations (lawyers, mortgage brokers, municipal staff, as well as painters, electricians, plumbers) who will answer their call. Is the realtor a leader in their industry? In their community? They must have courage to ask the tough questions of other realtors, of home inspectors, and others. The relationship that your realtor has in his/her “community” will affect you as a homeowner. As a realtor, how do you communicate the importance of this to potential clients? As a homeowner, how do you ask the right questions? I suggested to Wendy what I hope our potential clients do when considering us …. Check the realtor’s social media and website; what kind of Google Reviews or Testimonials are there? Is that realtor engaged in their community? How much real estate business does that realtor do?
Second – is this a full-time business for that realtor? Given the statistic that 85% of realtors are working part-time at this (less than 6 homes sold a year), a full-time realtor is doing enough deals to truly know what the market is doing. Even in a market when homes are selling quickly, experience dealing with all types of deals and situations is crucial. In today’s market, successfully handling an Offer Presentation with multiple offers can mean the difference of many thousands of dollars, often the value of the brokerage fee or more.
Third – Data is important. Does the realtor know what has sold in the neighbourhood, what is for sale in the neighbourhood, and what the trends for the area are? Subtle changes can make a difference in how quickly one gets sold and/or what the most effective list price should be.
Finally, the valuation and/or the list price that you are given should NOT determine how you choose a realtor. Realtors are in business to buy and sell homes. Having listings of our own to sell is a key part of the business. We want your listing. There might be an inclination to tell the homeowner what they want to hear. It takes courage to speak the truth, particularly if you know the homeowner wants to hear something different. Going back to the Data one more time, it should be obvious what range your home should fall in. Good realtors will all recommend pricing that falls within a similar range. With Robertson Kadwell, we believe in collaborating on setting a list price. We all analyze the data, we have a recommendation, but ultimately the Sellers make the final decision on the list price. It is their home after all.
During this Pandemic, and back in 2016/2017, pricing based on data went out the window. Sellers were and are getting more money for their homes than logic would suggest. In a market like this one, be sure to choose a realtor who you trust to have your best interests at heart and who you feel will be able to negotiate from beginning to end. In addition to the negotiations at the table on Offer Night, the negotiations start right at the beginning with the preparation and curation of the home, the marketing, the dealings with the showings, and continues right through Closing. Don’t underestimate how important this part of the process is as well.