Your listing has expired and now you're wondering what to do. The most important question you must ask is “Where did I go wrong?" Be prepared with the right information so you can interview your prospective agent with confidence and assure you make the right choice moving forward.
With hundreds or even thousands of dollars at stake and weeks of time invested, don't risk making the same mistake twice! Make sure your next agent is eminently qualified to sell your home. Don't risk this decision out of obligation to a friend, family member or acquaintance. Your listing has expired, and it's all too easy to develop the identity as a "problem property" in the marketplace. Therefore, it's vitally important to choose the right agent this time around.
Typically, most people will ask business associates, family, or friends to recommend someone they've had good luck with - someone they can trust. Other sellers will watch neighborhood real estate signs to see who is listing many of the homes. Still others rely upon the reputation of the major national franchise companies. Then, of course, there's always the yellow pages. All of these methods could prove to be disastrous!
Trust Your Instincts First!
When selecting an agent, he or she should be someone you feel good about - someone you're willing to trust with one of the largest financial transactions you may ever make. This report is designed to empower you with the information necessary to make the right decision before you arrive at the place where you're ready to sign on the dotted line again. Don't allow the prospective agent to dictate your time table. If an agent is impatient, you should immediately consider them suspect. Be careful.
Do Your Homework!
Ask for references from past sellers – before you sign another listing agreement, check out these references. Flattering letters praising the agent's work in a presentation book are a great start, but dig deeper. Ask for telephone numbers and names of the past three sellers, and the names of at least two current listings.
Know the company's reputation – ask your business associates, family and friends about the company or agent, and listen carefully for the very first thing they say. A company has a reputation in the community. Listen closely for it!
Call the real estate commission – call to ask about consumer complaints. Be sure to note the number and nature of the complaints, but don't base your entire decision on this information. In a slow or declining market, agents will get more complaints because the sellers are frustrated that their home isn't moving and they want someone to blame when it's simply poor market conditions. Therefore, always allow your prospective agent to explain any complaints and if their response seems reasonable, take that into consideration. One other note: if an agent does a large number of transactions per year, they will naturally be exposed to the potential for more of these kinds of comments. If an agent isn't doing anything, they obviously won't generate a complaint.
Call the Better Business Bureau – see if the agent has had any bad dealings with his or her customers.
Ask for a record of the agent's marketing innovations – how are they dealing with the current market conditions? Is there a plan to beef up their advertising and marketing efforts to benefit the seller? Residential real estate has a long history of economic cycles. The market is either hot, improving, static or declining... and with each cycle there has to be a plan to cope with the current market conditions.
Don't Stop Asking!
Ask for a comparison chart of last year's sales to this year's sales. How is the agent and company doing? Ask for a history of the agent; how many companies have they been with and why did they change? If the reason is always "money," there may be something wrong! Be careful because if your agent changes companies, your listing belongs to the broker and you may get a new inexperienced agent as your replacement... and this could be very costly!
Ask for a detailed marketing plan — request a step-by-step plan of the first four weeks, eight weeks, and twelve weeks that your home will be on the market. Make sure your agent is utilizing the latest innovative technologies for generating sales leads. There are now ways to generate leads 24 hours a day - literally! These new marketing tools will help sell your home faster and for more money.
Define planning times – establish a time with your agent to go over the marketing results within the first 15 days. Ask for all showings and feedback from other agents. Help the agent understand that any news is good news - you can use it to help you make adjustments in your marketing plan.
If you follow these suggestions, you're sure to avoid the mistakes of the past. Make sure you're dealing with a competent professional... making the right choice is worth thousands of dollars and your peace of mind.