By Ron Wynn
I recently got a buyer referred to me by a family law attorney who sends me clients often. This particular “buyer-client” was a serious, qualified and motivated person, who just wasted three months and lost several homes she wanted. Her agent it seems was clueless and distracted by other things, which became more and more obvious.
When emails were responded to more than 24 hours late, after a simple question was asked or a simple request had been made, it became apparent that the agent was not focused and had other more important priorities.
Personally, if I were a buyer, I would take great offense to be put on an “auto listing search” by an agent or even to receive listings that my agent had not personally previewed, by email.
In the case of my new buyer/ client, she was specific that she wanted a particular school district, no major traffic streets, a minimum of 2 baths and a pool, or a yard large enough to add a pool. She also wanted a flat street and ideally a street with walkability to a café or coffee house. Why would her agent be sending her listings with none of her requests being honored? In fact, he hadn’t seen the homes, was not familiar with the neighborhoods, and had no clue about seller motivation, comparable sales, and the true value of the homes he was emailing.
An agent has the responsibility to do some work and to provide far more than “simple public information.” Why would a buyer have confidence in an agent who has done nothing to prove his or her knowledge, skill and strategy?
A buyer does not need to see every single listing on MLS. A buyer wants to select listings sent to them with personalized comments with each, and only listings that meet the minimum criteria.
A buyer wants to know why these particular homes are the best choice and why the pricing is either on the low side, at fair market value, or on the high side. Based on a demonstration of the knowledge, skill, responsiveness, and dedication, a relationship strengthened by a feeling of trust will be built. From there, the client can have peace of mind knowing that their best interest is a priority.
A selling client, on the other hand also needs that same peace of mind, to know that his agent is knowledgeable, hands-on, responsive and personally cares. As a seller client, you do not want to continually hear how busy and exhausted your agent is because you will begin to feel like a stepchild to things that are a bigger priority and more important.
From another perspective, agents who have no other business may be responsive but have no other pipeline to keep buyers coming to his or her direction. This is not the perfect scenario either.
Part-timers and “C level agents” are generally not up to speed on pocket listings, price reductions, and new listings not yet on Redfin, Zillow or MLS. You want an active agent who has you in mind as a top priority. Your agent should be keeping you totally updated on new listings competitive to your home, price reductions, open house activity, buyer comments, agent comments, market trends and shifts in the local and overall market.
When it comes to submitting an offer, your agent needs to be razor sharp. He or she needs to know the competition, understand the seller motivation, and communicate exceptionally. When an agent is representing a seller, he or she needs to know the market, present justification for a seller’s price and terms and have the ability to draft an outstanding final contract to avoid future liability, inspection drama or delays caused by loose, poorly written contingencies and timelines.
Your agent needs to know how to play the game for you to be a winner, that is for you to get top dollar, to sell your home as is, to get through inspections quickly and, with little to no renegotiation at all from the original agreed upon price.
Is your agent a skilled negotiator?
Check his or her reviews and ask to speak with past clients. Were his or her past clients pleased with the skills demonstrated, not only before accepting an offer, but also during the inspection process, appraisal process, and loan process? Was your agent able to mitigate problems or head problems off before they became significant? Was the agent strategic, a good communicator, and an advocate from start to finish? Did having a team and assistant help you feel more connected and taken care of? Or did you feel more abandoned by your agent? These are questions you would have if you were interviewing a past client before making a decision.
In conclusion, it comes down to choosing an agent who has knowledge, experience, negotiating skills, and a great bedside manner, personally committed to the highest level of customer service. This is truly the agent best for you!
Ron Wynn at Ron@RonWynn.com