When we sit down with potential clients to talk about listing their home we always ask them what qualities they are looking for in an agent and what they think their agents’ job really is. We typically get a number of different responses that range from experience, to local market expertise to marketing savvy. Have you ever really stopped to think about what you are actually paying your agent for? Many sellers assume that they are paying their agents for marketing, open houses, advertising, follow up, paperwork, etc… What you should be paying an agent for is their ability to negotiate! Any agent can sell a home, but very few agents understand how to sell homes at top of market prices. In our opinion, the single greatest skill an agent can have is their ability to negotiate, because that is really what determines how much money you will put in your pocket at the close of escrow.
Most sellers we speak with want to make the most money possible when selling their home, they just don’t understand how to accomplish that result. They make the mistake of assuming that the result will be the same regardless of the agent they hire. According to a recent article in the Wall St Journal, the agent you choose can impact the final sales price by as much as 10%. Therefore the variable that can have the single greatest impact on the final sales price of your home is the agent you choose to represent you. On a home that sells for $1 Million, that can mean as much as a $100,000 difference.
Many agents may disagree and you will often hear things from agents like “they got really lucky” on that one, or “that buyer really wanted that house”, or “that property was one of a kind”. The reality is that most agents do not believe that their ability to negotiate can actually affect the outcome and that the result will be the same regardless. This attitude needlessly costs their sellers tens of thousands of dollars.
The next time you are considering selling a home, interview a few agents and ask questions that give you some clues as to how they negotiate. Let them give you examples of situations where they have achieved top of market sales and explain to you how they were able to accomplish that result. Let them explain to you the various stages of negotiation and how they handle each phase of the process. Ask them to show you their track record of recent sales…you won’t be disappointed and will probably put a lot more money in your pocket on the sale of your home.
Always be wary of agents that discount their commission in an attempt to get your listing. Remember… if they are willing to give up a substantial percentage of their own money to make a deal happen, what do you think is going to happen when it comes time to negotiate with your money!