Prepare your potential seller client with the questions he/she needs to interview agents BEFORE you are last interviewed. This list will show the sellers that you’re interested in the best representation for their needs (which is, of course, YOU!), but it also shows the sellers just how prepared you are even before you show up.
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Many home sellers make the critical mistake of thinking all REALTORS® are the same. They list with the first agent who comes along. Most REALTORS® sell only a small number of homes in their careers. With limited experience in real estate, how are they capable of maximizing the profits from your home sale? Does it make good business sense to put the responsibility of selling your home with someone who has no plan or qualifications? This letter will help you with valuable information to help you make the best decision to maximize your return.
Start by doing a few hours of research. Ask around. Get to know who has the most signs, ads, and marketing material in your neighborhood. Who’s the most active agent? Compile a list of agent names, and ask these questions to help you determine which agent is right for you.
Could you email me some information about yourself and your website? You can often get a good idea of which agents are the most professional by looking at their promotional materials. How are they going to market your home if they cannot market themselves? Track how long each agent takes to respond to your request, and how quickly they follow up. If they do not respond efficiently to your requests, imagine how they will handle potential homebuyers.
Watch to see if they ask you questions. If I know your goals, I can customize a marketing plan to achieve them!
How many homes have you listed and how many homes have you sold in the last six months in my neighborhood?
Look for an agent who has experience with homes similar to yours and is active in your area. If your home has specialized features, look for an agent with experience in those areas. Your agent should have a good record of selling homes, not just listing them; after all, a sale is your ultimate goal! I will bring an exact list with phone numbers and emails of your neighbors whose goals we have met!
What is your average length of time from listed to sold? Don’t automatically assume the shorter time on the market, the better. The time on the market could mean agents are selling homes quickly at low-ball prices. Look at what the asking price was compared to the selling price. An agent who sells quickly and close to the asking price is effective at helping clients determine the right price and helping them get it.
Ask for their list price to sale ratio. I will bring mine, which continually beats the average agent’s ratio in the MLS by 3.2%.
How long have you been in business and to what professional organizations do you belong? The length of time real estate agents have been licensed is not a sure-fire sign that they are winners. They may have been in business for ten years but only part time, whereas agents who have been in business for just two years may be top producers. Also, take into account what professional organizations they joined. A non-impressive minimum should be a licensed professional who is a member of the local real estate board and multiple listing service, as well as the state and National Association of REALTORS®. Local community groups and associations are also pluses in terms of networking and commitment. The CCIM designation is by far the most impressive designation.
If you have the time, I will bring the completion certificates!
Do you have an assistant or support staff? By employing someone to handle their business details, agents can spend more time meeting your needs. However, make sure you know how much time the agent will spend and how much time the assistant will spend on the sale of your home. It may be fine to let the assistant do most of the legwork as long as the agent is there at the most critical times of the transaction period. Then again, if the agent has no help, it is almost impossible to focus on your goals in this paperwork-crazy world.
How often will you hold open houses? Will showings be “easy access” or “by appointment only”? Simply putting a sign on your lawn and holding open houses every Sunday will not sell your home. Too often, open houses make the property a target for low-ball bidders. Look for an agent with a specific plan for each open house. Easy access with a lockbox will increase showings by 21%.
I will provide well-marketed 15-minute open house tours that will work better than all-day endeavors.
What listing price do you recommend? On what is that price based? Pricing is the most critical step to selling your home. Take great care in choosing an agent with the knowledge to price your home effectively. Keep in mind that the selling price should attract prospective buyers to your home, get you top dollar in the current market, and reflect the condition of your home. Be realistic and avoid “yes” agents who will say “yes” to your price, while your home languishes on the market. Also, low-ball agents will try to talk you into a low price to sell as quickly as possible.
There is a right price that only a local agent with years of experience can evaluate.
What does the listing agreement entail, what are the beginning and expiration dates, and what are the fees I will be paying? Have your agent go over every detail in the listing agreement until you understand it completely. Make sure the beginning and ending dates are on the agreement. A good standard for length is six months. Know exactly what fees you will be paying, and remember that less is not always better. If the agent stands to make very little commission, that will be reflected in the amount of time and effort that is spent marketing your home. If the agent reduces his commission to get the listing, it may mean he will do the same to your price.
The normal commission is between six and seven percent for a top performer who gets top dollar in the shortest time.
What disclosure laws apply to me? Make sure your agent helps you with locating professional inspectors for the various mandatory home inspections required in your area. This will also create a home marketing file that includes a property fact sheet, a property transfer disclosure statement, pest control report, applicable CC&Rs, applicable study zones report, home inspection report, property profile from the title company, plans for alterations or additions, and special equipment reports for pools, spas, sprinklers, alarm systems, and permits on all improvements.
A top agent will ask for these items and prepare a report for the buyers.
What separates you from your competition and will you provide feedback? Where and how often will you advertise? Do you have 24-hour promotion capability? What is your internet and SEO strategy? How will you or your team follow the leads? What methods of social networking do you employ?
You should receive clear, quick answers to these questions. Agents who are innovative and offer new methods of attracting homebuyers will measurably outperform agents who rely on older methods. Selling effectively in today’s market requires progressive technology strategies, plus value and service for both buyers and sellers.
I sincerely hope these tips are helpful to you. I can give you clear answers to all of these questions, and I will compete favorably for your business. I would consider it a privilege to make a no-obligation presentation to you. If you would like a no obligation consultation, please call me at 815.929.9258 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
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