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mitchjav 07-14-2020 05:37 PM

Selecting a Real Estate Agent / Company
 
Hi all...

We've been interviewing Real Estate Agents as we're getting ready to sell our home. We've spoken with four agents from some of the popular companies in the area (& perhaps nationally?) - Weichert, Sotherby's, Remax & Berkshire Hathaway. Two of the agents we felt a really good connection with; two of them not so much...

Of the four agents, three of them gave us a pretty consistent range for setting a price - one was a bit higher. They each brought strong marketing plans to the table and commissions were fairly consistent - although one was 1% less than the others. Each had good tips for readying the home for sale (some were consistent, some unique). Overall, each of them told a strong story.

So, given that we feel the personal connection is important, we're inclined to go with one of the two who we feel good about ---but also wondering about the company that backs them. Does anyone know if one of these companies brings something to the table that tips the scales in their favor?

Also, if there's anything we should be looking for in the agent themselves that I haven't mentioned, welcome that feedback.

RunningBum 07-14-2020 05:46 PM

Maybe the amount of advertising each company does locally? Will your house get a picture and small write up in the Sunday paper and all the realty magazines in grocery stores, etc?

cbo111 07-14-2020 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RunningBum (Post 2456714)
Maybe the amount of advertising each company does locally? Will your house get a picture and small write up in the Sunday paper and all the realty magazines in grocery stores, etc?

I'm not sure if buyers even look at newspapers or magazines anymore, certainly not young prospective buyers. Realtor.com and zillow are where the focus now resides.
I've had decent success with Coldwell Banker and Remax in the past few years. Although the last agent I used was pretty much unable to put together a sentence. I ended up writing the MLS description for him. One thing to ask about is the split your listing agent will have with the selling agent. Often it is 50/50, but some agents go as low as 2% to the selling agent. Which translates to fewer agents bringing buyers around to look at your property because it is not financially worth their effort.

CoolRich59 07-14-2020 07:08 PM

I've found that an agent most familiar with your area is likely to price it right and get you to a sale quicker.

The last time we sold we interviewed 3 or 4 agents. One couldn't even manage to spell our last name correctly and the "marketing plan" he presented looked like something a high school student put together. The other two were good, but the agent we ultimately chose lived down the street from us and I knew she'd sold several other houses in our neighborhood.

She got our house sold in less than a month.

sengsational 07-14-2020 07:20 PM

Besides finding one that will work with you, the price is a factor. They all collude to say that the listing agent gets X% and the buyer's agent gets X% (usually 3% each). See how they react if you do the quick math and say, I'm paying you $10K for your half, exactly what will you do for me? If you don't like the answer, or think "It doesn't take much effort to answer the phone", then just pay a fixed fee of $350 to get it in the MLS. If you hire a listing agent, give them a couple of months, at the most. If they don't sell it quickly, you can find another agent. The more time you give them, the less incentive they have to get moving on it (they figure you'll get anxious before they do, and lower the price). Oh, and read the listing contract. Don't let them take both halves (6%) if the buyer shows up without an agent. Every pre-printed contract is designed to make them safe in collecting their commission. Nothing in any of their the pre-printed contracts is set in stone. If they don't like what you cross out, find another agent.

jfn111 07-14-2020 07:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sengsational (Post 2456760)
Besides finding one that will work with you, the price is a factor. They all collude to say that the listing agent gets X% and the buyer's agent gets X% (usually 3% each). See how they react if you do the quick math and say, I'm paying you $10K for your half, exactly what will you do for me? If you don't like the answer, or think "It doesn't take much effort to answer the phone", then just pay a fixed fee of $350 to get it in the MLS. If you hire a listing agent, give them a couple of months, at the most. If they don't sell it quickly, you can find another agent. The more time you give them, the less incentive they have to get moving on it (they figure you'll get anxious before they do, and lower the price). Oh, and read the listing contract. Don't let them take both halves (6%) if the buyer shows up without an agent. Every pre-printed contract is designed to make them safe in collecting their commission. Nothing in any of their the pre-printed contracts is set in stone. If they don't like what you cross out, find another agent.

It's called a variable rate commission and is pretty common. The end result is the commission drops if the listing agent finds a buyer. A 6% commission may drop to 4% as an example.

sengsational 07-14-2020 07:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jfn111 (Post 2456763)
It's called a variable rate commission and is pretty common. The end result is the commission drops if the listing agent finds a buyer. A 6% commission may drop to 4% as an example.

Commonly written into contracts by companies striving to make lots of money on a windfall, I suppose. I heard of a situation where an agent collected 6% when the people selling the property actually found a buyer that had no agent. The listing agent did zero extra work and collected twice the commission. I've since learned it's illegal in some states, but not NC.

jfn111 07-14-2020 07:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sengsational (Post 2456775)
Commonly written into contracts by companies striving to make lots of money on a windfall, I suppose. I heard of a situation where an agent collected 6% when the people selling the property actually found a buyer that had no agent. The listing agent did zero extra work and collected twice the commission. I've since learned it's illegal in some states, but not NC.

I'm not sure what your arguing? That's why you want a variable rate commission in the contract.

CaliKid 07-14-2020 08:50 PM

The company means nothing. The agents pay for their own advertising. To me it's all about the connection you make with the agent, if you like their marketing plan (most important), and if you like their commission.

Also commissions are negotiable but you have to be careful, in my opinion, as negotiating it too low could effect how buyer's agents present your house.

davebarnes 07-14-2020 08:58 PM

The question to ask the prospective agent is: how many sides have you done in the last 12 months?

Retired Expat 07-14-2020 09:39 PM

Miles from home?
 
Do you like to travel? Some airlines will give you bonus miles if you use a broker they refer you to. Or if the broker you want to use is willing to sign up with them. I have done it twice and earned over a million frequent flyer miles out of it....

Using miles to maximum benefit basically covered the brokers fee. How to do that is another thread...

travelover 07-14-2020 09:58 PM

I'd second the notion to limit the listing contract to a few months. Agents are salespersons and they can easily fool you, but if they botch it, you'll know because no lookers, no sale. It is not ideal to start again with a new agent, but better than being stuck with a loser.

Scrapr 07-14-2020 10:18 PM

I would look at the recent transactions. There are a boatload of agents in it for family & friends. Then another bunch so they can socialize at the "Club" & write it off. Many many agents don't actually produce much. As in make a living. It's more like a hobby.

sengsational 07-15-2020 08:02 AM

Right. The barrier to entry is negligible, so anybody that wants a hobby can do it. The number of sales is a double edged sword. You want someone who spends 40 hours a week marketing houses, and getting sales, but it's hard to tell which ones spend 35 hours a week to secure listings and 5 hours a week marketing houses. That's why I'd just pay the flat fee to get it into the MLS and in so doing, cut the commission in half unless the answer to the "how are you going to earn your $10K" is very compelling, and I realize I couldn't do those things myself.


What I'd have a hard time with is being a "general contractor" to get repairs done quickly and cheaply; I tend to overthink these things, so get stuck trying to lock-in a contractor. So an agent that has known, trusted contractors adds value, especially if they manage them (on time, on budget, etc)

sengsational 07-15-2020 08:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by davebarnes (Post 2456803)
The question to ask the prospective agent is: how many sides have you done in the last 12 months?

Could you elaborate?

jfn111 07-15-2020 08:15 AM

The biggest problem with being a "hobby" agent is the recurring costs. MLS fees, NAR fees (if you want to be a Realtor), Supra key rental to open electronic lockboxes, Broker desk fees and continuing education costs. 80%+ of newly licensed agents are gone within a few years.

Ronstar 07-15-2020 08:47 AM

We met our realtor (Berkshire Hathaway) at an open house where she was showing a condo in our snowbird neighborhood. The condo didnít fit our needs, but we had a great chat about our desire to sell our condo and buy a house.

Her and her partner later made a proposal to us on how they intended to sell our place and how they could find us a new place. Their proposal was impressive so we hired them.

They had a good plan on how to fix a few things, how to market the place- photos, videos, word of mouth even before they officially put it on the market.

It sold the first day to a client of one of their realtor contacts. They were very thorough through the whole process and through closing. And they were spot on in finding us the new place. (Although we later decided not to buy a new place yet.)

My advice would be to pick a realtor who has the best plan to market the property, who has the most experience in selling property similar to yours, and who has a vast amount of resources and contacts to help in getting the property sold fast for the best price.

CoolRich59 07-15-2020 08:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scrapr (Post 2456828)
There are a boatload of agents in it for family & friends. ... Many many agents don't actually produce much. As in make a living. It's more like a hobby.

//Slight thread drift.//

This is what concerns me for when we decide to sell. Our nephew is now a hobby realtor (he has a full-time job and a young family). But, based on the chatter at recent family gatherings, I understand that he's now the *official* realtor for anyone in the family who puts their home on the market.

While I think he's a fine young man, there's no way I'd use him because selling homes is a hobby and not his occupation. This portends to be another example of me being cast as the family curmudgeon. :blush:

//end thread drift.//

freedomatlast 07-15-2020 09:01 AM

When we recently sold our house at the beginning of the Pandemic, realtors were very restricted on what they could do. So we listed it on Zillow ourselves and it sold in a day and a half and we saved a ton of money. Why not give that a try first at least for a week or two. Itís free and thereís really nothing to lose.

NgineER 07-15-2020 09:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by freedomatlast (Post 2456998)
When we recently sold our house at the beginning of the Pandemic, realtors were very restricted on what they could do. So we listed it on Zillow ourselves and it sold in a day and a half and we saved a ton of money. Why not give that a try first at least for a week or two. Itís free and thereís really nothing to lose.

We have also had a great experience with selling our house ourselves. You have to make sure you get it listed on the MLS, this can be done for a flat fee - usually less than $1000. The company we used provided us with a MLS listing, electronic lock box for $500. You'd still want to pay the standard commission for the buyers agent to not have someones real estate agent not showing it to you. Zillow might be sufficient, I haven't tried that approach, but I'd still recommend getting it on the MLS.

We saved $10k when we sold, listed and sold within a week. This approach was the advice of a real estate agent friend.


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