You Think You Want to Buy or Sell – What Next?
Story by Ann McClure as it appeared on The McEnearney Associates Blog
To not be overwhelmed, ideally, start with a recommendation. Call a trusted friend, neighbor, colleague, or family member who had a good experience.
Ask a respected service provider…If your contractor or CPA was top-notch, find out who they know and trust in the real estate field. What did they like (or not like) about their experience? What qualities and skills make their particular Realtor recommendation a standout? Also search that person online – check out their website, social media presence, and any sales data you can find.
A word of caution though – avoid going down the rabbit hole, like Alice. You can get distracted by the sidebars, flashy ads, and shiny objects. Your computer or smart device and the seemingly mystifying and clairvoyant powers-that-be these days track your clicks, moves and inquiries and have developed algorithms based on your searches. They use them to direct you to offers and paid ads.
Stay in your lane and remember there is a reason you asked for referrals. Not all the qualities and skills you value may be searchable online. You need someone who has the talent and bandwidth to help you.
Posting on your community listserv or forum has the potential to open you up to a Pandora’s Box of mass responses and inquiries. In today’s competitive market, if unsolicited sales agents get a whiff of your interest in buying or selling, you will be hounded incessantly. Keep your shortlist of potential Realtors to the suggestions of the trusted few you asked for recommendations.
The alternative to the online search is an old-fashioned call or email. Or text the agent – tell them you were referred and you’d like to set up a time to chat. For the best service, share who referred you and what you hope to accomplish.
What happens on the Realtor end? We ask detailed questions about your motivations for a move, concerns you have, your timeline, housing goals, and budget. If you’re buying, hearing what is important to you, your long-term goals, and your likes or dislikes will help the agent narrow the list of available homes and save you time.
A Realtor will provide you information about the market, recommend responsive local lenders, and can walk you through the upcoming process from making an offer all the way through to settlement.
If you’re selling, we’ll ask for the property address, find out what’s important to you in this process, and ask for a detailed list of improvements and when they were completed. This is not just information for your Realtor, this helps establish your tax basis, is useful for insurance-related issues, assists in establishing value for an appraiser and aids in the marketing of your home.
Point out to the agent your home’s special features. Is it the only one in the neighborhood with a double garage or one of few backing to parkland? Detail your concerns. Are there needed or neglected repairs? Do you feel your house is too close to the one behind you? Are you concerned about road noise? A Realtor will have a professional perspective and can share how these issues might affect price. Finally, the Realtor will ask you for an appointment to meet you and see the home.
The next step for the Realtor is preliminary research and analysis of what might impact the sale. We search for comparable properties in the neighborhood, certainly, but sometimes we must dig deeper. For example, what if you have a historic home and those around you are not? We may need to create a broader search and tap into other resources like other Realtors who have sold similar properties or local appraisers.
When we meet, we will come prepared with information about us and our company – it might include sales data, our track record, testimonials, and general marketing ideas. But the main focus of that meeting is YOU – your housing goals and the property you are selling or looking to purchase.
Be prepared to be candid with your Realtor. If selling, provide a tour, share your concerns, and what you think makes your home special. Why have you loved living there (or can’t wait to leave)? Even the negatives give a Realtor time to figure out a way to overcome objections.
Once the Realtor has sufficient data (research, answers from you, conversations with other agents, viewing of competing or recently sold properties), they will offer a pricing and marketing strategy based on your home’s position in the marketplace. Here’s a forewarning though, sometimes your agent has to deliver news you don’t want to hear – but ask yourself, is this information fact-based and data-driven? Keep an open mind. The numbers don’t lie, even if you don’t like them!
A good Realtor will offer regular market updates, insights, and feedback from agents. Lean into your Realtor based on the recommendations they make – they are the conduit when the market speaks, and it will speak to you!
At the end of the day, whether you’re buying or selling, choose a Realtor that not only has the skills, but makes you feel comfortable. You’re going to spend a lot of time together.