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10 Questions Every Seller Should Ask Their Agent

You’re Selling Your Home. Isn’t Your Goal to Get More $$?

 

True story.

My husband and I used to work for KitchenAid. There was a salesman there that would say, “A dog with a note in his mouth could sell a stand mixer.” Funny saying and it stuck with me. Sure the KitchenAid stand mixer is an icon, truly an icon. In fact, it is one of the few shapes, along with the Coke bottle, that are trademarked. Yes, the shape is actually trademarked. That is rare! What he was saying is that it wasn’t hard to sell a stand mixer. Every store wanted to sell them. The trick though was to sell them for more, keep the price high, not over-distribute and keep demand up. That takes a joint effort; quality product, good marketing and the sales team’s best negotiation skills. I thought about this saying the other day in relation to home selling. Anyone can sell a good home. If it’s a gorgeous home, it is going to sell. The science behind it though is what it takes to get it to sell at the highest price possible and get it to appraise. And if it isn’t a gorgeous house, you need an agent with the vision and the support staff to help you get there! Let’s look at the 10 questions you should be asking when choosing a listing agent.

1. How experienced are you?

There is no replacing experience. One of the reasons I love real estate is that it is ever-changing. To stay on top of that takes experience, knowing how to handle the challenges that come up and having people you trust to help out- attorneys, inspectors, contractors. We all work as a team when a problem arises to get it solved and hold the deal together. This is an art and a science.

2. Do you exclusively list homes or do you work with buyers too?

Why is this important? Because, buyers agents are out with buyers all day and can hardly answer their phone or text, much less work on a marketing campaign for your home. It takes us a full day to get a listing properly advertised on all of the websites we use. We also have 4 full-time buyers agents looking for a potential fit for your home!

3. Do you have qualified support staff to help you?

As I mentioned above, it takes a full day to get a listing created in FMLS, MLS, to enhance the listing on sites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, videos uploaded on paid sites, Facebook and other social media campaigns created, the appointment only system set up so that our sellers are ready for their showings, etc. And that’s before we even do flyers, postcards and other advertising. There is no way a single agent can do all of this work and then be out with buyers all day. Trained marketing experts are essential. In addition, we have a brilliant operations manager that handles systems and contract to close. This keeps the sales agents focused on selling and follow up, not paperwork.

4. Do you provide professional staging?

Even the best home can benefit from professional staging. Our stager looks at rooms as they will be photographed. She sees the house through the eye of a camera lens. She has a great eye for style, color and putting things together, even things you forgot you had!

5. Do you provide professional photographers/ videographers?

The photographer is essential. Not only do they need to be a good photographer/ videographer, but they need to know what we want to see to show the home in the best light. The angle matters, the height of the camera when taking pics, and knowing what we want to see and what we don’t want to see in the room or in the lot. This takes the experience of an agent that knows what sells and what doesn’t. That’s how we determine what to show.

6. How will you market my home?

You need to know who your target is. Is it likely a family, empty nester, first time home buyer? We target the listing to our most likely buyer by emphasizing the features of the home that buyer wants. Again, the agent has to have enough experience to know what is important to the potential buyer. Even the order of the pictures matters. We only have a few seconds to gain their attention online! They say timing is everything. We start a coming soon campaign several days before the listing is live, directed at both agents and buyers, to push people to your home that first weekend. That anxiety of someone getting “their home” makes buyers write offers! We’ve also studied the power of social timing to know when to place social media campaigns.

7. Where will you market my home?

As you know, everyone is starting their home search online. With our team, you have the marketing power and technical prowess to expose your listing to the right buyers at the right time. We pay for advertising on major sites, like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com so that your listing shows up on the first page. We also pay for social media advertising like Facebook and Instagram, directed at your target buyer. These systems are complicated and take someone tech savvy to run, in combination with someone that understands marketing and how to attract the right buyer.

8. Do you have the budget to market my home appropriately? 

The average agents make less than $40k per year. Our marketing budget, just for marketing our listings, is over $300k. Powerhouse sites like Zillow are not cheap. That exposure, however, is priceless. We also pay for search engine optimization on our website and always link our advertising back to it. We get over 30,000 visits to our site each month!

9. How will you come up with the list price for my home? 

This takes skill and is more of a science than you would think. All of our agents have studied under appraisers to know what they are allowed to use as comparables, underwriting guidelines, and adjustment values. This also allows us access to their system called Compflo. With this system, we can pull true square footage above and below grade. Over 90% of agents use tax records which are wrong about 90% of the time! It may say the house is 5000 sf but what it doesn’t say is that the house is over 3000 sf above grade and the rest is in the finished basement. The values we use above and below grade are different. This is why Zillow can’t get their Zestimates right here. Our tax records are wrong and they don’t give an accurate portrayal of all of the things that make up a home value. 2, 3 or 4+ car garage? Finished basement? Pool or hot tub? Barn or stables? Additional guest house or pool house? You get the idea. A lot goes into assessing the value of a home. You have to be analytical and unfortunately, a lot of agents just aren’t. Even if you don’t know what you are doing as an agent and get lucky and sell a home at a high price, you have to be able to hold value. We send an appraisal review using data from Compflo to the appraiser before he visits the home.

10. What are your market stats? 

Our sell to list price ratio is 98%. The area average is 96% or less. Our average is for all price points too. Most of our homes under $400k sell at 99-102% of asking. Homes priced over $500k have more competition and some take longer to sell. In higher priced homes, we may purposely leave some negotiating room. Every situation is different, every neighborhood is different. That’s where experience and knowing the area really comes into play.

We specialize in the North Atlanta suburbs and would love to talk to you if you are thinking about selling your home. When you compare us to other agents, be sure to use the 10 questions to ask when choosing a listing agent. Have other questions? Call or email us at info(at)sherryandcorealestate(dotted)com.

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