As an active, full time real estate agent in the Pascack Valley of Bergen County, New Jersey, I observe that a majority of my fellow REALTORS® are professional, do good by their clients, and most importantly, get their home sellers’ houses sold. Unfortunately, I also encounter some agents who are incompetent, lazy, just don’t care, or a combination of all those negative traits. If you feel like your listing agent is the latter, FIRE YOUR REALTOR® NOW!
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So what are some warning signs that you need to can your real estate agent immediately?
Lack of Communication-You signed the paperwork, the agent put the sign on your front lawn, and now you never hear from them. A good real estate agent will communicate with you at least on a weekly basis. He/she should be giving you feedback from showings, informing you how many internet hits your listing is receiving, sending new sold comparables/active listings in your neighborhood, and just checking in with you to see if you have any concerns. Sometimes, I am calling listing agents to show one of my buyer clients a home, and the listing agent doesn’t call me back!
Your Home Listing is Lackluster-Did the agent put 15+ pictures in your listing? Studies show the more pictures a listing has, the more likely a potential buyer will click on the listing. Are the pictures reasonably well done? I recently saw a new listing come on the New Jersey MLS that had 15 pictures, but ALL 15 were blurry! There is no excuse for that! Is there a suitable, accurate description of your home? One sentence of some vague details about your home is just not acceptable. Are you handling all the showings? Some sellers may want to be contacted directly, but realistically, your agent should be the go between to handle all the calls and setup the showings.
Your Home is Not Being Marketed Properly-Internet marketing is vital to getting your home shown and sold. What web sites is your house listed on? Again, how are the pictures? Are all your homes features being expressed in the advertising? Is video being utilized in the marketing? Although not as effective as internet advertising, is your listing agent marketing your home through old school methods also like print advertising, open houses, and just listed postcards?
The Listing Agent Has No Justification for the List Price-The listing agent is doing you a great disservice overpricing your home. I had a listing last year in Westwood. It was previously listed with another broker. The seller explained to me how the agent came up with the list price. She took what they paid for the house (back in 2005) and added in the cost of the upgrades they made and boom, there is the list price! That isn’t the way to price a home. That home ended up being overpriced by almost $100,000! The list price should be based on homes similar in age, condition, style, and location. The agent should perform a Current Market Analysis (CMA) using recent sold homes (less than 6 months old if possible), under contracts, and active listings from your neighborhood. Sometimes using expired listings is useful, as they can show a home possibly being overpriced and the reason why it didn’t sell. Also,remember, the actively listed homes are your competition.
The Listing Agent Isn’t Adapting to Current Market Conditions-Pricing a home isn’t an exact science. Some homes are so unusual, there really aren’t any comparables. So its up to your agent to keep abreast of the market and speak to you about adjusting your list price. Think of your list price more as the initial price. If a comparable home recently sold across the street for $50,000 under what your home is listed at, its probably time to reduce your price. If you aren’t getting many showings or any offers, its time to adjust your list price. Your agent needs to be proactive and not let your house linger and while you have to fork over your monthly mortgage, property taxes, and home insurance.
This is just scratching the service but these are basic things your listing agent should be doing and if not, FIRE THEM and hire a real estate agent who will do everything they can to sell your home in a timely manner and for the most money possible.
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Click here on methods to make your home more marketable.