If you look up a statistics on what consumers want when it comes to real estate agents it’s almost universally the same. It’s honesty! Unfortunately there’s quite a few things that real estate agents don’t want you to know and likely won’t tell you. Here are 10 Things Your Real Estate Agent Doesn’t Want You To Know. First let’s cover all the ones that you’ve likely seen all over the internet.
- Commission is negotiable
- Yes, You CAN sell the home yourself
- Open Houses sell 1% of all home sales. That basically means they don’t work, but they are great for your agent.
- Oh and a buyer’s agents don’t always represent the buyer, sometimes they have to represent the seller. That’s a state specific one. In our state, Georgia real estate agents are legally responsible to look out for the best interest of our clients, buyer or seller. That’s why buyer agreements are so important.
Back to our regularly scheduled program.
1. Updates Are Worth More Than Allowances
Most home sellers don’t want to take the time to do the repairs or updates to their home. This is a huge problem. Since most weak agents just do whatever they can to get a sign in the yard, they won’t fight you on this. However, if you were to ask those same agents about their opinion on repairs vs allowances they’d tell you. Home buyer’s often over estimate repairs and updating a home by as much as 50%. A $3,500 carpet replacement is often miss-estimated by a home buyer as a generic price bracket of $5,000. In fact, buyers will do this everywhere they see something. $80 repair, oh that’s $250. In addition, a home buyer will often hire an inspector. Most inspectors are so scared of lawsuits that they will spot mold in a bathroom and say, “discovered mold in the grout of the bathroom and it can kill you.”
2. Your Pricing Is Wrong – The internet killed the FSBO
I know what you’re thinking. You’re likely thinking that this an anti-fsbo rant. It’s simply an anti-price-it-yourself rant. The internet has turned homes into highly emotional, high priced commodities. You see the average internet buyer looks at homes for 6 months before deciding to engage in the process. That could be more time than your current Realtor has been licensed! It’s certainly longer than you took to price your home. The point is that the buyer knows what they like and what they don’t and by the time your home hits the market. They also think they know what your home should be priced at (and they likely know more than your agent in that regard) and if it’s not in their zone, then you can forget them even visiting.
What’s their zone? It’s called price brackets. You see when lenders (and mortgage calculators) give buyer’s numbers to estimate their purchases off of, they round. It’s the same function your brain does when it sees those sales with .99 on the end of it. So for example if your home is listed at $335,000 then you’re competing with homes from $325K to $350K. So you’re either leaving money on the table or you’re the value priced option at this price. Unfortunately, for a night out at Chili’s the buyer can just stretch to $350K… and You lose.
3. Your Pricing Is Still Wrong
Here’s the kicker. If your agent is like most, they want listings. It’s like having a product on the shelf for them. No store owners wants barren shelves. Most agents will take a listing hoping and praying that your home will sell or hope that you’ll come to realize your price for your home is a bit high. This is so common that many of the top agents in any given area often take over-priced listings and then have celebrations and awards for the staff salesperson that can convince a seller to lower their price. That’s right, this is a “thing.” Agents have parties to lower the price.
4. The MLS Is The Key To The Listing Agent’s Power
Sure there are people who sell every year on their own and hat’s off to them. They hopefully got the most money for their home, avoided law suits and stress and managed to save the commission. Unfortunately, the stats are against them. Then again, the Cubs won a world series. The reason that most FSBOs don’t sell and when they do they get less is a simple exposure problem. To find a home that is for sale by owner, one has to be looking for a FSBO. Mostly that’s first time home buyers, investors and other folks hoping to save the commission. What would be nice is if there was this tool that let 80%+ of the buyer’s that had an agent know about the home for sale AND posted the home to all the outlets at the same time to cover 99.9% of the market. That’s the MLS.
5. Not All MLS Are Created Equally.
In many metro areas where there are a large number of counties and sprawl there are multiple MLSs. As you can imagine there’s a demographic that goes with those MLSs. So what happens when these MLSs overlap well thanks to technology you can really tell who’s with it and who’s not.
In my home town of Atlanta there are two prominent MLSs. I can tell you that one MLS will get your home listed on Zillow and some websites and it’s a low monthly fee for agents. Then there’s this super expensive MLS that pushes the listing out to all the sites has updated data and is used by the majority of agents. Can you guess which one full time agents use and which one part timers use. Exactly, while most GOOD agents are members of both. The high cost, higher quality one is the one that consumers and agents both use, while the lower cost one is used by flat fee brokerages and part time agents. In fact, you could find some great investment homes on the lower end one simply because there’s not as much exposure and therefore less competition.
In all seriousness, in our study the amount of web traffic alone was 3 to 1 views. So this ultimately means that an agent is left with having to be members of both and monitor both in order to assist their clients.
6. Photos are everything (AKA Your Photos Stink)
While the MLS is still fresh on your mind there’s something we need to discuss. Your photos are really bad. Sure they were likely taken with a DSLR but I doubt you used a wide-angle lens. Let’s play the game where you did all that, I bet you didn’t edit the photos at all or worse you edited the photos. Now imagine all I said was true and you hired a agent that took this photo. Your photos are the first impression for your listing and your agent doesn’t want you to know that their secret to success could very well be hiring a good photographer.
Look around you. Photographs are everything. Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook they are all popular and their most popular posts have images. Home buyers want just a few pieces of information in the sea of uselessness. They want price, size and photos. Sure knowing the other stuff is great but if your photos stink I could care less if you have 3 fire places. Not interested.
A professional photographer is a real estate agent’s greatest weapon.
7. Having Your Home Showed Means Something Entirely Different Than You Think It Does
Most home owners, especially those that try to sell it themselves think that someone wanting to see their home means people love it. I’d hate to be the person that brings bad news so I won’t. It sometimes means that. Unfortunately, it’s not the length of the showing, or how nice they were it’s the volume of showings, plural. Statistically, you need 10 showings to receive an offer in a balanced real estate market.
Depending on your photos and marketing you might not be drawing enough interest. In the real estate marketing world we look at traffic on the web and traffic in the home. Yes, it only takes one, but I like to pay my bills so I want 10 to my client’s home. Unfortunately, some agents just want their signs in the yard so one showing a week is OK for them. Leading them to not have thegumption to tell you that it likely means your home is overpriced.
8. Your Home Smells Like Cat (or pet)
This is the death cry of any real estate agent. As soon as they are honest enough with you to tell you that your home reeks of cat you’re showing them the door. It’s like the classic febreeze commercial. Just know that your “noseblindedness” is going to cost you $5k to 10K.
9. How Many Times They’ve Done This Before
Newer agents likely will never tell you how many homes they’ve sold before unless you ask them point blank. The reason I say newer, is that full time, high octane agents often do the exact opposite and tell you how many homes they sold and how awesome they are. It’s a very important question. It’s truth that simply selling a large number of homes does not make a you a great agent, but it’s definitely true that an agent that hasn’t sold a fair number of homes is very inexperienced. Which doctor/mechanic/lawyer would you hire? One that did 1 case or one that has successfully completely many?
So what’s a fair number? In my area, 25 or so a year for a single agent is great, but for your area the number may be half that or double that. That’s why interviews are so important.
10. That They Are Not Professional Negotiators
If you’re hearing an echo, hopefully you hear a theme (INTERVIEW). Let’s call professionals those who do it daily. Let’s call non-professionals, amateurs. It’s unlikely that a real estate agent is going to come out and tell you that they have only negotiated 6 transactions in the last 12 months. When it comes to sales numbers it’s pretty easy to sell a good number of homes, but how much money did they actually save/protect for their clients. Great agents know this number, because it shows their value. However, you’ll likely never ask because…
Bonus: You Don’t Care About Honesty Or Experience
Every year NAR does a study and the number one answer that all clients want is honesty. Yet in ever one of these examples real estate agents are or would be reluctant to share the truth with the client for fear of losing the business. You see, statistically speaking home sellers (and buyers) pick the very first agent they talk to. They don’t interview. This is a 6 figure (or more) decision. The most stressful thing that someone can do outside of divorce and they pick the first person they talk to?! Can you imagine making any other decision this way? Maybe it is the stress that causes folks to choose so quickly (to get the pain over with). The public sees only one profession as less honest than real estate agents – used car salespeople. However for whatever reason, instead of interviewing to find the best agent that can live up to the NAR (National Association of Realtors) hype they go with the first one they find. The solution could certainly be higher standards for agents, standards that would weed out those that are not professional, but hopefully you can see from these Things your real estate agent doesn’t want you know that some of the responsibility falls on the client in their selection process.
What other things do real estate agents not want you know? What was I wrong about? Let us know in the comments below!