I just got a flyer on my door from a local agent. It’s a very interesting experience to read through these boasts and claims, and I often wonder what the consumer REALLY sees when they read these things.
Here’s my interpretation of some of the bold claims I see… and what they might REALLY mean with some agents:
COMPLIMENTARY MARKET EVALUATION
You will give me a price that my home may (or may not) sell for. You may even give me a high price so that I become more motivated to sell… only to find later that it wasn’t the right price. Helpful.
No obligation? Except you will relentlessly pursue my business once I show even an ounce of desire to sell!
You promise that your sign will be up the entire time of the listing. Plus a lot longer after it sells.
FULL WEB EXPOSURE
This usually means the listing will be on Realtor.ca and maybe their personal website.
FREE STAGING CONSULTATION
They will tell a customer to move their couch to the other side of the room and clean up their laundry.
The agent MAY hire someone to come shoot the home, otherwise they’re a professional, because they’ve taken a LOT of iPhone photos in their spare time!
FLEXIBLE COMMISSION RATES
The agent is desperate and the customer can bulldoze them for a low fee. Also, they don’t stand for anything, which means they won’t stand up for the client when negotiating.
FULL COLOUR FEATURE SHEETS
The agent will use the colour setting on their printer to print the MLS listing. After all, they go the extra mile!
The first of the month happens regularly enough, right?
RETURN CALLS PROMPTLY
“I have plenty of free time.”
LARGE DATABASE OF POTENTIAL BUYERS
Everybody could be a buyer, right? When questioned about the buyer, most agents will quickly make an excuse about how the buyer is no longer in the market… but you still want to sell, don’t you?
EXPOSURE THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
The agent will put it on their Facebook and Twitter feeds, where somewhere between 5 and 20 people will see it.
#1 AGENT COMPANY-WIDE / TOP PRODUCER
The company has eight agents on their roster, half of which are part-time.
The take-home message? Be careful of superlatives. Get specifics about what your agent will do for you.
Look for an agent with a strong track record of success in your area. Do they out-perform other agents on some key statistics like days on market and % of list price. How many homes do they list, and how many sell?
Ask for specifics about what they plan to do. Be cautious of any price they quote – a true real estate consultant knows that the market is ever-changing and they don’t make the market, they merely help interpret it.
Ask for a list of happy customers. Why are they in the business? Are they integrated in the community? What do they believe are the best features of your home, and what do they plan on highlighting?
An educated consumer can sometimes be the worst enemy of an agent who makes bold, meaningless claims.