Picking an Agent
What are the most
important factors to consider when picking a listing agent?
Listing and selling a home is hard work. It can
also be stressful. That's why picking the right agent to handle
your home sale can make the difference between a mildly disruptive
experience and a hair-raising nightmare.
Sellers who don't already have an agent often
interview several agents before selecting one to represent them
in their home sale. Interviewing agents can be enlightening,
but it can also be confusing. How do you know who to trust?
Credibility is one of the most important factors
to consider when selecting an agent. A trustworthy agent is
one you can count on to do the job and do it well. He or she
is sensitive to other's needs and does not act purely out of
self-interest. He or she is committed to giving quality service.
A trustworthy agent is reliable, steady and dependable. He or
she is open and innovative, never dogmatic or rigid.
One of the best ways to find such an agent is
to ask for recommendations from acquaintances that sold recently.
If you're interviewing agents who weren't referred to you, be
sure to ask for recommendations.
The most informative recommendations come from
an agent's most recent clients. Ask for their names and phone
numbers. Find out what these sellers liked about working with
the agent and if they would hire him or her again. Ask if there
was anything they didn't like about the agent's work habits
or ethics. Be sure to find out how the agent got along with
the other parties in the transaction.
When you list your home for sale with an agent,
that agent will represent you in dealings with the numerous
players involved in the transaction: the buyers, solicitors,
building inspectors and lenders, to name a few. Select an agent
who works well with everyone. Avoid agents with over-inflated
egos or other personality disorders. A successful real estate
transaction depends on good communication between all the parties
In addition to integrity and good communication
skills, you want an agent with years of experience and a good
track record of selling homes in your area. An agent should
have enough time to give you the attention you deserve.
Good listing agents help sellers get their homes
ready for sale. They suggest fix-up for sale work and they know
tradespeople who can do the work. They advise you on which inspections
to order before marketing your home. In addition to checking
out the agent, find out about the agent's company. Does it have
a good reputation? Can the company provide maximum exposure
for your property?
FIRST-TIME TIP: Although it's tempting
to list with the agent who tells you that he or she can sell
your home for the highest price, this shouldn't be the overriding
consideration. Pricing residential real estate is not an exact
science. In most cases, there's a range of market value for
It's unethical for an agent to knowingly overstate
a property's value in order to get a listing. But, there are
unscrupulous agents who will do just that. If you pick such
an agent, you may be badgered for price reductions when the
buyers don't materialise.
THE CLOSING: If you're considering working
with an agent who came in low on the price, ask him or her how
high he or she would feel comfortable going on the price. An
ethical agent would decline a listing if he or she thought it
would be impossible to give the property a good marketing effort
because of a high list price.
What Realtors (and Sellers) Should Know About Web Sites
What Realtors Should
Know About Web Sites
Achieving real estate success on the Internet
takes more than just having a Web site. To be truly successful
a real-estate Web site must be well designed, consistently marketed,
professionally analysed and frequently updated. It is not the
Internet medium that gives a Web site power. It is strategic
and savvy development, execution and promotion that makes the
Using a Web site strategically begins with understanding
that Web sites are not one-dimensional. A Web site is a versatile
tool that can meet many goals and objectives. For a beginning
real estate agent a Web site is especially useful in giving
a prestigious, professional well-established image. A Web site
is also an excellent way to paint a portrait of an agent and
his or her approach to real estate. It should be strategically
designed and written to reflect an agent's style whether it
be flashy, folksy, strictly business or best-friend friendly.
The Web site is also excellent tool for real estate
sales presentations. It allows visitors a virtual tour of properties,
including colourful pictures of homes, tours of interiors and
exteriors and highlights on special features. Moreover with
the current ability to use panoramic 360 degree images, a prospect
can literally feel as if they are inside a home and turning
around in a room. For those real estate agents catering to a
wealthy clientele, the use of video and sound technology can
even be cost-effective. Regardless of how simple or sophisticated,
an Internet Web site definitely advances the typical real estate
process of exchanging phone calls, sending faxes and using MLS
(Multiple Listing Service) into a colourful personal interactive
A Web site is most commonly used by real estate
agents to develop new qualified leads. The key here is marketing.
Sometimes it seems that marketing is magic. It isn't, even on
the Internet. It is a strategic, targeted campaign designed
to achieve specific results. Particularly in the real estate
industry where there is a great deal of competition, it is absolutely
essential to have the marketing basics in place on and off the
The most important rule of Web site marketing
is proper search engine registration. What good is a Web site
if no-one can find it? Unfortunately, however, the registration
process, is not as easy as it sounds. There are more than 1000
search engines, each with their own idiosyncrasies and bureaucratic
hoops. To generate lots of "blind" Internet leads
real estate agents must make sure a Web site developer knows
the ropes of search engine registration.
Search engine registration is particularly important
as a growing number of people use the Internet to help them
relocate. Their relocation exploration includes finding a real
estate agent whom they can trust to help them get settled in
a new home. One feature that will help a residential real estate
agent's Web site become more successful for relocating families
is the inclusion of links to pertinent local resources. For
example, links to various school districts' Web sites can be
very helpful for a buyer. Information about city life or weather
or maps can all be important information links for people buying
or selling homes. In this way, a real estate Web site becomes
an important resource centre.
A real estate Web site is increasingly effective
in generating leads when used with a well coordinated off-line
promotional campaign. Real estate agents should announce their
Web site with a press release to the local paper and mailer
to all the potential and existing clients. It is also imperative
that all printed material include a Web site and e-mail address.
Whether it is a business card, brochure, letterhead, notepad,
pen, on-hold message, or any type of radio or television advertising,
never underestimate the power of Web site address exposure.
Moreover, be sure to check your e-mail frequently and respond
immediately. Some people simply prefer e-mail.
In many ways, a well-designed, technologically
sophisticated Web site enables the Internet medium to be interactive
computer commercial. These powerful sites are known by their
strong themes, dramatic graphics, advanced technology, creative
copy-writing, interactivity, and useful links. These sites entice
visitors to explore different avenues within the Web site, encourages
them to stay, and excites them enough to return to the site
Enticing visitors back to a Web site is often
as important as getting them there initially. Analyse a Web
site frequently to make sure it is receiving the proper amount
of traffic and achieving all its goals and objectives. In addition
to advertising the Web site frequent updates, contests, on-line
newsletters, as well as changing the theme or design or text
of your Web site are all be ways to encourage prospects to return.
You can even use e-mail to send out a press release notifying
prospects and clients of changes to your site
A Web site can be a powerful sales tool for real
estate agents. All it takes is a savvy experienced Web site
developer and marketer and a real estate agent who knows how
to close a deal.