Interviewing a real estate agent to sell your home is the process of hiring a professional to work for you. The majority of home owners consider their homes, their largest asset. It is important to hire a real estate agent with the expertise, professionalism and guidance to sell your home with a positive outcome.
My personal experience with interviewing real estate agents left a lot to be desired. I am a Texas Realtor® and I am proud of my occupation and the real estate professionals I work with. We are an extremely hard working bunch of folks who take pride in what we do. Our customers are our priority. There is no boundaries for calling us or less than the best for performing what we are contracted to do. That said, I wish the whole world worked like my over achieving network.
I was put in the position to sell out of state properties where I am not licensed to perform as a real estate agent. Due to extenuating circumstances, I was put into a position to interview and hire real estate agents/brokers to sell these homes. Just like hiring a nanny, I was trying to hire an individual with my own work ethic, tenacity and perseverance. Instead, I met the following individuals:
Contestant #1 – I received a postcard, while in Florida, from a local real estate agent with accolades and photos of homes she had sold. I don’t know when she sold these homes nor do I know if she was everything the postcard proclaimed she was. My thoughts were that if she could afford the mail out, she must be experiencing a degree of success. I will never know because she never responded to my voice mail message requesting information.
Contestant #2 – Internet research yielded a list with the dominant listing agency in the local Florida community. This company also had the largest number of signs in front of homes. My voice mail message was not returned. I guess they are a busy bunch or never received my message.
Contestant #3 – I received another postcard from a local real estate agent. This postcard had a list of recent sales with the addresses. I called the agent and he answered the phone on the second ring. An appointment was made for the same day. He was on time and was dressed professionally. This true professional listened intently and took notes for matters important to me. He then answered each question, briefly provided a history of success and promised to provide the services expected.
Contestant #4 – This individual was a referral from a friend. The friend had never used his services, but he was a known agent and neighbor. An appointment was made and he was on time and dressed the part. After introducing myself and offering him a seat, I never had the opportunity to say another word except, “Thank you for your time” when I was showing him the door to exit. This man provided comps that were not comparable. He talked non-stop without any hint as to what the commissions and fees were, his marketing methods or remarks about the house. In fact, he didn’t even look at the house.
Contestant #5 – I actually received a letter, in Texas, from this real estate agent after he had seen that I terminated a Pennsylvania agents services. The letter included an impressive list of recently sold properties, marketing methods and sales strategies. An appointment was made and he was on time, dressed appropriately and was forthright in answering questions, offering professional guidance and a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) for the property.
Contestant #6 – This real estate agent called me when she saw the “For Sale by Owner” sign in the front yard of the Pennsylvania property. I admired her tenacity in the attempt in obtaining a listing, but I informed her on the telephone that I was not going to sign a contract with her broker. I hung up the phone and an hour later, she and her broker were knocking on the front door. She was a new agent but doing all the right things for obtaining a listing contract, except listening to her prospective customer. “No” really did mean “No”. By the way, this brokerage charged a $250.00 fee, plus a commission which was higher than all of the other local real estate agencies.
Contestant #3 was hired to sell a Florida property. He was absolutely terrific. The buyer’s agent did not attend one follow-up appointment or return calls for days. Contestant #3 attended to all showings and inspections, even letting the buyers into the home to measure for furniture. The first time Contestant #3 and I met the buyer’s real estate agent was at the closing to receive her commission check. The title company informed the buyers when the closing was scheduled because they did not receive any response from the buyer’s agent.
I sold the house in Pennsylvania (FSBO). Contestant #5 would have been the real estate agent of choice for selling this home if I had run out of calendar to remain in Pennsylvania. The home successfully sold within one week. Contestant #5 was efficient with returning telephone calls and follow-ups. He is a strong communicator and great service is evident from his resume of success.
Many times, I have had to take on the role of both listing agent and buyer agent because the buyer agent didn’t have a clue as to what to do. Another problem I have personally witnessed is an individual with a real estate license but does not put the customer’s needs first. I have witnessed buyer agents leaving a closing to pick up children from school or run a personal errand. If you are a part time agent, represent yourself as such. I’ve typed contracts for them and provided direction with routine processes.Their broker is paid a commission, as well as the real estate agent. Servicing my customer is the first and only priority. I it means a timely process to properly represent them but directing others on how to do their job, I’ll do whatever it takes.
A heartfelt appreciation is extended to all who assisted me when I was new to the occupation. Your patience is being paid forward with almost every transaction I am fortunate enough to pursue and capture. Thank you.