I may get some backlash for the secrets I will be uncovering about the real estate business, but I think full-disclosure is warranted in a business that is shrouded by misconceptions, many of which may be intentional. Here are some statements you might hear from your Realtor and the things you should look for:
"Your home isn't selling, we have to reduce the price"
This might be true in some cases, but how can a seller understand why a price reduction is requested? In 9 out of 10 cases when this happens, the seller just hears the words, "We need a price reduction." Instead, imagine if the seller heard, "We need a price reduction, here are the numbers and feedback, all in one place." All of a sudden, this request becomes more manageable and understandable.
"I cannot price your home at the price you want"
The Realtor may not want to sell the home at your price, but they can do anything you want. Taking a straightforward and open approach avoids running into a lie. Just tell the truth people! Try this instead, "I understand you want this higher price, but I do not take listings that are overpriced. I would rather disappoint you now, than in 6 months."
"Zillow and Trulia are the best places to find real estate"
A lazy Realtor will say this. There are better tools out there to seek real estate, and the MLS is only the beginning. You Realtor should have other ways to find you homes to look at, otherwise they are neglecting a part of the market where opportunity abounds.
"I cannot take a cut on commission"
This is typically a false statement. There may be restrictions because of the company, but if a manager is going to lose a listing because of a lower commission, they will accept it. This does not address the fact that a Realtor willing to take a lower commission will likely put a fraction of the effort required because the payout decreases, and with it the tools and money spent decreases, but that is another topic.
"I cannot spend money on marketing on the internet"
Having the know-how to market listings effectively is something lost by many Realtors. Instead, they opt to say they cannot, when really they mean to say they don't know how. Marketing through the Internet is a skill that is honed by few, but those that can use their money to effectively target buyers will get ahead of the pack, quickly.
"Listing your home in the newspaper and through direct mail will get it sold"
Physical advertising is dead. Newspaper and direct mail advertising are for the benefit of the Realtor, not the seller, in most cases. According to NAR, in 2014 92% of buyers used the internet in some way in their home search process. The Internet is IN.
"Open houses are for the benefit of the homeowner and getting the home sold"
A minute percentage of buyers purchase the home they see at an open house (According to NAR, in 2014 only 9% of buyers found the home at an open house that they purchased). Most buyers prefer to search the internet and see inventory with their Realtor. The open house is a branding tool for Realtors and to recruit clients. However, there ARE benefits to an open house for the seller, though they are not discussed often enough. When a Realtor markets the open house, if they are doing it right, they should be promoting the open house in ways that they might only be able to do for an open house, such as an Open House Promotion. This is where the seller sees benefit, specifically through these additional promotional means.
"I can only show you homes within X miles of my office"
Real estate has become a much less location-restricted business. Realtors can now sell and buy across town, county, and state lines. If you get this line from Realtors, they are being deceptive. The better way to convey this, is, "I can only show you homes within X miles of my office because my knowledge of that area is minimal. You would be better served using a Realtor with expertise in that location."
"I can take the photos that are better than a photographer"
A photographer should always be able to take better pictures than a Realtor, but that's not to say a Realtor can't take great pictures. Basically, they want to spend as little money as possible, and this would add to the expenses. As a seller, I would ask if the Realtor uses a DSLR camera with a wide-angle lens, and if they touch up the photos before putting them on the Internet. If they cannot do these things, demand a photographer.
"I am marketing the home on Zillow/Trulia/Realtor/major brokerage sites"
Inherently, when a home is put into MLS, your home will most likely be put on these major websites, no matter what. A decent Realtor should go far beyond these means of marketing. Ask questions about which other websites they are promoting your property to.
Assisting buyers and sellers in real estate is not easy. According to the National Association of Realtors, there are 1.167 million Realtors, or about 1 Realtor for every 300 people in the country. That is a LOT of Realtors. 80% of the Realtors get into the business thinking it is easy, unaware that there is a huge amount of necessary skill to be successful. If your Realtor says any of these things, find someone else. After all, there are so many Realtors, you should have no issues finding one!
We (Joe and Chris Balestriere) are Realtors in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Our blog is meant to educate buyers and sellers and equip them with tools to get the most out of their Realtor, whether it is us or someone else. We focus on technology and how it enhances the work we do for our clients--we are not top CT Realtors by accident.