A customer walked in recently and wanted to list his property, and we said “okay.”
Then we started doing the research on the property. My partner Kate Stevens and I started attacking the money side, looking for the best price to start at. In the meantime my partner Ron Barry drove to the property to see what it looked like in person so we could factor the condition of the home and land in more accurately.
Variables started popping up. A lot of variables. Things like impact fees and credits for impact fees and there was even a possible historic angle on the property.
Soon we realized we were in over our heads. Someone with a very specialized expertise was needed to sell this property…and we weren’t that person.
So we contacted the seller and told him the property was out of our scope, and that we would help him find an agent better able to handle it.
Wouldn’t you love it if an agent did that for you?
Here are 5 things you can look for when you go out and hunt for a Realtor:
Experience doesn’t neccesarily mean years in the business, but the number of transactions a Realtor has worked on.
Most experienced Realtors know what their strengths and weaknesses are. Ask them what they are when you interview them.
Look for a Realtor who isn’t afraid to admit there are properties that are out of their depth from time to time.
In the example above it took us about three hours to figure it out. Which leads to…
Our rationale for initially accepting the property sight unseen is that we’re experienced with a wide enough variety of properties to the point we believe “we can handle just about anything.” But as we got down to it and started anticipating some of the questions from prospective buyers, we realized we wouldn’t have the answers, and more importantly, didn’t know if we could find the answers fast enough, or accurately enough. This might kill a sale and hurt the seller.
So as soon as we figured out that we weren’t the people to sell the property, we got in touch with the seller. It might not have been what he wanted to hear right at that second, but it was what he needed to hear.
Working in Scope
Every property is different, so there are a lot of times as a Realtor you are going to encounter something that you’ve never seen before.
That’s okay…that’s just part of the business.
And if you are experienced enough a Realtor you will know who to ask, or where to find the answers, or what past experience is relevant in solving the problem.
When we realized we were out of our scope on the above example we declined the job. Better to do that in three hours than bravely try to muddle through for 3 months and lead the seller down the garden path.
The upshot is if you are selling a regular residential house, don’t call a commercial Realtor out. They may be desperate enough for business to take the job, and mash up your sale in the process.
In the age of the internet you need to find someone who will get your property online. This is how we found a Realtor to work with out of state. Being “findable” online was key.
Listening to What You Want, Telling You What You Need to Hear
If you’re interviewing a Realtor and they don’t seem to get it, they probably won’t get it.
If you tell a Realtor you will only buy a concrete block house and they are only showing you frame construction, then they aren’t listening and they won’t ever listen. You have my permission to dump them.
But if there are no concrete block homes in your price range…and they aren’t showing you anything because of that…don’t blame them. Either adjust your price range or the type of home you will accept. I know, that’s hard advice to take when you have your heart set on something.
And if you’re telling a Realtor that you need to get $250,000 out of a house, and they are telling you that you can only get $150,000 out of it, they are listening. They’re not only listening, they are telling you what you need to hear in order to sell.
Too many Realtors will take your $150,000 home at $250,000 and hope and pray that the pressure of what is making you move will become so great that you have to lower the price.
Don’t hire that Realtor, hire someone who’s not afraid to walk away if they think they can’t sell it.
Photo kind courtesy hoyasmeg (creative commons) on flickr .