What Makes a Home seller a Good Realtor
Every listing agent has a similar goal – to sell your home for the most money in the shortest amount of time. But it’s much more than that, and many factors make a good or great agent different from an average one.
Sellers evaluate real estate agents based on the service they provide, their skill level, their expertise, and their personality. Ultimately, the best real estate agent for you is the one who knows your goals and expectations best.
What Services to Expect from a Realtor When Selling
All agents should provide the following basic services. If you’re considering working with an agency that doesn’t cover the items below, consider trying to negotiate a lower commission. Here’s what to expect from a real estate agent.
Provide comparative market analysis
Your attorney should be prepared with a comparative market analysis (also known as a CMA). The report provides an overview of homes similar to yours that have recently sold in the same area.
Realtors use it to help you determine the right listing price for your home and to inform you of the price range you can expect based on local market conditions.
The agent should tell you about factors that can increase or decrease the price you can get, such as your home’s condition, location, and features.
Attract and screen qualified buyers
There are many ways an agent can attract buyers, but standard practice is to list on the local MLS and make sure the listing also shows up on major real estate portals like Zillow and Trulia. Your listing should always have a full and clear listing description and a professional photo.
Bringing in qualified buyers is one of the most important tasks of any listing agent. According to Zillow Group’s 2018 Consumer Housing Trends Report, 89% of sellers view bringing buyers to their homes as an extremely or very valuable representation service.
Your agent should speak with each potential buyer’s agent to review offers and gauge their interest — this is especially important if you’re selling in a seller’s market, as you may receive multiple offers.
Your agent should be able to understand how much down payment the buyer has put, how much they are willing to pay in earnest money, and how quickly they want the deal to close. Serious buyers usually have clear answers to these questions and prefer to bet their money online.
Your agent should coordinate showings, always giving you an agreed upon notice time in advance. Depending on how your agent team works, the showing home could be your actual agent, team member or assistant. Your agent can also allow the lockbox to show if you agree, buyer’s agent allows private password for himself. This is more common when the seller has already moved out of the property.
Sell within a reasonable time frame
The ideal time frame for a sale depends on your real estate market. In a hot market, homes can sell in as little as 30 days. But in cooler markets or rural areas — or if you’re selling a luxury home with a more limited pool of buyers — it can take longer. Your realtor should tell you the average time to market in your area and provide an estimate of how long they think your home will take to sell. They should then do their best to achieve that estimate.
Communicate offers, handle paperwork and facilitate negotiations
Your agent is required by law to inform you of all offers. Their job is also to handle all negotiations between you and the buyer and guide you through the actions needed to close the deal, such as signing documents and arranging inspections and appraisals.
According to the Zillow Group report, sellers said facilitating paperwork was the second most valuable service provided by agents, with contract negotiation coming in fourth.
Extra Services from a Good Realtor
While the services discussed above are standard in all listing agent-seller relationships, the best agents go above and beyond and offer additional benefits.
Understanding of new technologies
Leading agencies integrate new technologies into sales processes. Not only can technology tools help agents find more clients, but sellers can also help sellers find buyers quickly, which is a boon for you.
Videos and Virtual Tours
In addition to offering real estate photography (which is the norm in today’s online-centric marketplace), good agents understand how multimedia can attract buyers. They’ll offer video or 3D tours of their listings, which pique buyers’ interest and minimize showings for buyers who end up not interested. They can also help you reach out-of-town or international buyers who are unable to visit in person.
Access to a private off-site network
Good agencies are usually ranked in the top 10% of their market, which gives them access to professional networking groups. With a huge network of other top agents at their fingertips, a good agent can even test buyer interest in your listing before it hits the market, which may limit the number of days your home is on the market— — a plus for attracting buyers before the listing becomes obsolete.
What Skills to Look for in a Good Realtor
Beyond the basic services they provide, good realtors have skills that set them apart. Agents with these skills are diamonds in the rough, using their expertise to ensure each client gets the best financial and emotional outcome from their home sale.
A great agent knows the importance of good communication with clients. That means they clearly set expectations, ask questions when you ask them, answer the phone when you need their help, provide feedback on everything from pricing to home improvements, and offer advice to help you get the most from your sale. No wonder 81% of sellers say responsiveness is extremely or very important.
In addition to communicating with you, a real estate agent needs to skillfully communicate with buyers and buyers’ agents. They should express themselves clearly during negotiations, communicate your needs, and avoid making false promises to move the deal forward. They should respond to the buyer’s agent just like you would, answering calls promptly and responding quickly to showing requests.
The best realtors operate a retention and referral based business, which means most of their clients are repeat buyers and sellers, or people referred by friends and family.
These agents are likely to have excellent online reviews on sites like Zillow, Trulia, Yelp, and Facebook. According to the Zillow Group report, 28% of sellers learned about their agent from a friend, relative, neighbor or co-worker, and 23% had previously worked with an agent in some capacity.
A good agent also provides valuable advice to real estate attorneys, brokers, contractors, and other vendors who can help you get your home ready to sell.
Local market knowledge
A good agent will know what’s selling in your area and will know how to highlight your home’s best features to get the top price. They’ll also understand seasonal trends in your market and can help you determine the best time of year to sell so you can sell for more money in less time. According to a Zillow Group report, 80% of sellers are looking for agents who are proficient in their local market.
Strong marketing strategy
Professional Photography: Good agencies include the services of a professional photographer in their commissions, and sellers recognize the value of this service. Sellers listed photo taking as the third most valuable service agent offer.
Social Media Marketing: Today’s top agents have a strong social media presence and are eager to post your listing on sites like Facebook and Instagram. 71% of sellers say social media marketing is an important thing for their agents to take care of.
Willingness to host an open house: 80% of sellers say hosting an open house or private tour is a valuable service. A good agent should offer an open house shortly after your home hits the market.
What character traits make a great real estate agent?
In addition to their service offerings and real estate industry-specific skills, the best realtors are dedicated, committed, and willing to help. Consider these most important character traits that sellers consider extremely or very important.
Credibility is the quality that sellers say is the most important to an agent — and for 86% of sellers, it is extremely or very important. A trusted agency won’t convince you to work with them by giving you an unattainable price tag. They always set reasonable expectations, outline their responsibilities, and give you time to review the listing agreement before you decide to work with them.
A good agent is always honest, even if it means saying things you don’t want to hear – like your house isn’t worth what you think it’s worth, or that it needs improvement. They form a relationship with you based on honesty and have your best interests at heart.
Top agencies put sellers’ needs above commission. That means they’ll do everything in their power to move the deal forward, whether they’re personally involved in helping furnish your home, or buying that new light fixture a buyer wants.
Real estate is not a 9-to-5 job, and good agents understand and accept that. They don’t resent clients for contacting them outside of traditional business hours, nor do they go on vacation without telling you.
Good agents know that sometimes plans change, but not every deal works out. If you decide to take your home off the market, they will understand that they won’t hold you on a commission agreement if you change your mind.
What is the best real estate agent for you?
In addition to service, skills and attributes, the best realtor for you depends on your goals, your style of communication, the level of support you need and your personal values. The right surrogate for you is not always the right surrogate for someone else. Consider these additional attributes that can help you determine whether you have found the right agent.
Personality Match: You want an agent who “knows” you. You communicate easily with each other, they can adapt to your needs, and you generally have a friendly, comfortable relationship.
Attentive: The right agent for you knows how much support you need and is honest about what they can and cannot provide. Many sellers, especially novice sellers, are looking for someone who can hold hands and answer many questions about the process.
In fact, 84% of sellers say they rely on their agent to guide them through the process from start to finish. Some sellers, especially those who have sold a home before, may just want an agent who can take control and sell the home without too much back and forth.
Financial flexibility: Sellers often look for agents who are willing to negotiate commission rates or create custom agreements to help them sell in a way that meets their financial needs.