An Experienced Real Estate Agent Will Save You Money!
…yes, even the full commissioned ones! I’ll explain.
The real estate market is saturated with new Realtors. Homes are selling faster than in the past decade, they are selling for full value, and it’s a piece of cake! Right? Well, not exactly – and most new agents can agree. Being a real estate agent, or Realtor is not as easy as it seems. Picking an inexperienced agent to sell your home will end up costing a lot more than just time and energy (but it will cost you those too). I’ve met with a few people recently who didn’t understand the scope of the home sale process, and lost a lot of money on attempt #1 to sell their homes. Whether you have only lived in your home a few years, or 30 years – the kind of money involved in a real estate transaction is not pocket change. If you accidentally dropped $10,000 while walking down the street, you’d be pretty upset. Why should this be any different?
Did you know that real estate agents in our area are given actual limited legal authority over the transaction? We are not lawyers (OUR lawyer cannot stress that enough) but in 1985, the Washington supreme court ruled that real estate agents could practice law to the extent of their contract documents in most standard transactions. This means the agent you hire is legally responsible for the transaction. We are held to the same standard as a layer in these transactions. It’s not exactly a good time to be shopping for discount representation. It’s like 99 cent chicken sandwiches from fast food joints. It might save you money… but it just might destroy you.
Step 1 – Deciding what you want and need –
Have you lived in your entry-level condo for two years, and now you plan to upgrade? Have you lived in a mid-range detached home for 5 years, but now you are relocating for work? Is this your family home for the past 30 years and you are now downsizing? Each transaction is different, and each one requires a different plan and execution. An experienced agent will treat each one differently. Going into a long term investment home and treating it the same as you would an entry-level condo is devastating for the homeowner. Each situation required different marketing, different pricing, and different treatment. This is one of the most important places you will save money with an experienced agent. Pricing your home incorrectly not only guarantees that you will lose money, but if could ruin your listing permanently. We have seen homes NEVER sell that sat on the market for too long due to overpricing. The problem with technology is these stigmas follow your home sale. If you take your broken listing off the market and try again a year from now – it will show that it sat on the market at year ago. You can’t escape this tarnished reputation once it’s there. Price your home correctly, and it will save you money!
Step 2 – Agreeing on a plan of action and pricing strategy –
Your real estate agent will sit down and go over recent activity in your area. In a perfect world your Realtor would show you recent sales that actually match your home style and property type. This is not always easy however, especially for real estate transactions that are unique (external buildings, shops, barns, large property in town etc). This is where your agents experience is going to pay off again. I’d say 90% of listing appointments we go to start with a seller who thinks they know the value of their home. It’s usually based on a zestimate they saw online, or the neighbors home sale etc. When we suggest a listing price, we highly suggest people list as close to that price as possible to prevent their listing going stale. Anything that’s been sitting on the market more than a few weeks will be required to drop the price in most cases. Once you drop your price two times, buyers demand another price drop. Pricing it correctly means you start out with negotiating power and more control over the transaction. An inexperienced agent will agree to price the home however you want, and just hope you drop your price later. This is bad for their reputation and on your ROI. Watch out for this false promise of value.
Step 3 – Cross ALL T’s and dot ALL I’s –
There are a set of basic forms used to sell and buy homes. New agents are familiar with them enough – but don’t REALLY understand what they mean, or how they can be used against you. The legal forms in a real estate transaction are there to HELP you and PROTECT you. They really are, and the state board works hard every years to help make them better. But they don’t cover everything, and neglecting certain forms can be devastating. This is where an experienced agent can help make sure you are protected no matter what happens. Whether your home is a pretty straight forward sale, or whether it’s a farm outside county lines – you need to be protected. We hope that all people involved in these transactions are good people with good intentions. The truth is not always that, and unexpected things happen all the time! When something happens, you need to be protected and your agent needs to be on the ball. Ready to dodge and weave the punches that life inevitably throws us. It’s not for the faint of heart. We have to be prepared for divorce, death, natural disasters, fraud and so much more. Nobody thinks these things will happen to them, but they do. Be sure your agent is experienced enough to be prepared and ready to take action. You can’t imagine how much money can be lost in some of these scenarios – and you don’t have to find out the hard way. Let our experienced Realtors save you money.