Maybe you even have a particular agent in mind to list your property. You know the one. You’ve seen her or his signs everywhere and you’re convinced that she or he has got to be the agent you need to help you navigate a successful transaction.
But is that agent the best Westchester agent to sell your home? Before you sign on the dotted line, consider three reasons you should take the time to interview at least three agents first.
Setting The Right Price
Most people think that because their neighbor got $1.2M for a house just like theirs, that is exactly what they will get when they sell (if not more), and that any agent off the street can look at the MLS and come to this same conclusion.
If houses were razor blades or TV’s, this would be true. Those items are considered “commodities.” For commodities, the seller sets the price and people pay the set price because they need the item. And face it, for the most part, one razor blade or TV is basically the same as the next in the same price range.
Real estate prices, on the other hand, move based on supply and demand. Your neighbor got $849k for your same house because there was at least one buyer ready, willing and able to buy at that price (the “demand”), and there wasn’t another similar house that was more attractive (the “supply”). Today, if there is less demand and/or more supply, your selling price might be lower, if all other things are equal.
Even beyond basic supply and demand, other considerations might also impact your asking price, such as how fast you want to sell your house, whether you need to time your sale to coincide with the purchase of your next home and/or whether you want to encourage a bidding war.
Talk to multiple agents and ask each about their pricing strategy for your Westchester home. The best Westchester agent for you is the agent who has a clear understanding of why s/he is recommending his or her price.
Tweaking The Price As You Go
Even a hunch price might be an okay starting point, because the next step is to watch the market’s reaction to your price. Reaction is measured by foot traffic to open houses, phone calls to your listing agent and web/social media/MLS hits, among other means. It’s critical that you hire an agent who knows how to monitor all of these channels, so that both of you get the market intelligence you need to determine whether your listing price needs to move up or down.
If you want the highest possible price for your home, do not – under any circumstances – hire an agent to list your house who doesn’t know how to track web-based analytics for your property. Most people are shopping for homes on the web and social media. If your agent doesn’t know how to measure that traffic, you’ll be missing an important piece of information to help you obtain the highest and best price for your property.
And I’m not talking about tracking one website, such as the agent’s. I’m talking about all web-based channels where the property is distributed, including agent websites, broker websites, real estate portal websites like Zillow, social media and the MLS, among others.
The best Westchester agent won’t be satisfied just getting your property sold for you. The best agent will “push the market” to get you the highest possible price under current prevailing conditions. An agent who isn’t monitoring all possible information about supply and demand impacting your particular property won’t be able to push pricing for you.
And one last thought on the topic of pushing the market. The agent best equipped to push the market knows more about real estate trends than what is going on in your immediate market. That agent is also following broader regional and national trends because those trends influence our little micro market, too.
2 – Exposing Your Property To The Widest Market Possible Brings The Highest Price
A good agent will expose your property far and wide to create the most demand possible and the most buyers vying for your property. These days, that means syndicating your property internationally.
International buyers for your little Westchester bungalow? Definitely!
Not only are international buyers interested in all things Los Angeles, we have other factors in Westchester that are extra attractive to an international audience, with proximity to LAX and LMU among them.
So how does a great agent get your property in front of the widest possible market? Social selling, media partners and agent networks are critical. Ask your agent candidates how they plan to get your property in front of the largest possible audience. The more people, the more demand. The more demand, the higher the price.
3 – Service Matters!
Figure out what’s important to you regarding service and quiz your agent candidates. Do you want somebody who is available to you at the drop of a hat? That uber popular agent you had in mind might not have time to personally handle each client’s transactions. If this matters to you, ask upfront!
What about transparency? Do you want to see the traffic reports on your property? Make sure this is part of your chosen agent’s practice. Do you want access to your transaction file throughout the process? Ask about that.
What about understanding the listing and sale process? If you want to learn how the process works, you need an agent who will explain the process and patiently answer questions.
Maybe you don’t want to know anything about the process and just want to know when the check has been deposited in your account.
When it comes to listing agents, one size does not fit all, no matter how popular or competent a particular agent appears. You owe it to yourself to interview at least three agents to find the best Westchester agent for your needs. At a minimum, you will learn a lot about home selling strategies through the interview process.
Three Bonus Considerations
1. Commission should not be your primary factor
You don’t have to look very far to find an agent who wants to compete by offering discount commissions. We all like discounts and saving a few bucks on commission sounds appealing, right?
Don’t be fooled. Dig in on what you’re going to get for that price. Will you be holding your own open houses? Will you get enough of your agent’s attention to get the highest possible price? Maybe getting a higher price will outweigh a little extra commission. Work the numbers.
And don’t forget that the commission you agree to in the listing contract is split between your listing agent and the agent representing the buyer. Make sure you understand how the commission will be split. If less than 2.5% is offered to buyers’ agents, those agents will not be incentivized to show your property to their clients. At a minimum, your property will not be at the top of their showing list.
2. If you don’t like your listing agent, fire him or her
The listing agreement you sign will likely state that the term of the contract is for six months, at which time it will “expire” if your property doesn’t sell. It’s a little known secret, but you don’t have to wait six months to ditch your agent if you’re not happy with her or his service. If you tell your agent you’re not happy, s/he should be happy to help you transition to somebody else. If not, call the broker. Nobody wants an unhappy client, especially in this day and age of web reviews and social platforms for complaining.
3. Interview checklist
To make it super simple for you to interview your agent candidates, I’ve created a customizable checklist for you. Download it in Word format here.
Give Us 30 Minutes
At this point, I hope you’ll agree with us that interviewing more than one agent is a good idea if you want to list your home and get the most money possible. Give us 30 minutes and let us demonstrate to you why we’re your best choice to list your Westchester home with to get the highest possible price. Our clients don’t end up looking like this guy.
About Silicon Beach Properties
Silicon Beach Properties partners with Living90045.com to provide real estate content, information and advice for L9’s readers. Silicon Beach Properties is a boutique real estate group catering to tech types and others associated with LA’s Silicon Beach and Tech LA. Silicon Beach Properties was founded by Tracy Thrower Conyers, a former lawyer/new media tech entrepreneur. Tracy and the team at Silicon Beach Properties are recognized experts on Silicon Beach and its impact on residential and residential income real estate, and have been featured by several respected media outlets, including the LA Times, KPCC and KCET. Silicon Beach Properties’ primary focus and expertise includes buying and selling homes and residential income properties in Venice, Marina del Rey, Mar Vista, Playa Vista, Playa del Rey and Westchester. Silicon Beach Properties proudly partners with Keller Williams Silicon Beach. Connect online with Silicon Beach Properties: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest. CalBRE #01712960