1. Assuming that all real estate agents are the same
Did you know last year in the Peoria Illinois area that 8,718 homes were listed and only 5,498 actually sold? That means that 63.06% of the homes listed actually sold and 36.94% did not sell. As you can see, that's a high number of homes that are not selling. There's a lot of agents out there that are listing homes and not getting them sold. The average agent in our area last year only sold 8 homes. That is total transactions including seller transactions and and buyer transactions. It does matter which real estate agent you hire.
2. Hiring an agent because they recommend the highest asking price
You don't want to hire an agent only because they recommend the highest listing price. This is a tactic that some agents use. They'll tell you whatever you want to hear, just to get you to sign with them. Then they will ask you for price reductions down the road.
3. Hiring the agent that agrees to the lowest commission
There are plenty of agents out there that will take a low fee. There's always someone that will do it for less, but a lesser fee usually means less services, less marketing, and ultimately, less results. If an agent is taking less commission, they have less money to spend on marketing and other services. Again, if an agent is taking less commission, they have less money to spend on marketing and other services.
More exposure equals more demand, more demand equals increase sale price, increased sale price equals more money in your pocket. If an agent doesn't have enough money to spend on marketing, you're actually going to put less money in your pocket. It's not about how much the agent charges, it's about how much you net. Just because you pay a reduced commission does not mean you will net more money.
How much are you saving if the agent you hire cannot get your home sold? As we mentioned earlier, the average agent only sells eight homes per year. There's a lot of homes that are being listed and not selling. If you go with an “average agent” in our area that's only selling eight homes per year and they cannot get your home sold, but yet they charged you a five percent commission, how much money did you save?
Something else to think about, if the agent caves in and reduces their commission, how quickly will they cave in when negotiating on your behalf? Do you want a strong negotiator? The top agents are not the cheapest, but will likely sell your home for more money, and in less time. It costs a lot money to be able to market your home aggressively, and to provide top notch services.
4. Listing your home before it's ready
Many agents will try to get you to list your home at the first appointment. These same agents will probably tell you that your home looks great and you don't have to do anything to prepare it to sell. Their only goal is to walk out of your home with a signed contract. They do this for a couple reasons: 1) they don't want to take a chance of you signing with another agent and 2) they want a sign in your yard to generate buyer leads for themselves. It is said that for every listing an agent takes, they should be able to generate at least one buyer closing from that listing even if the buyer does not buy your home. Agents want as many signs in yards as possible so they can generate more buyer leads. The problem with these agents is that they are looking out for their best interest, and not yours. At the listing appointment, their main goal is to get you to sign a contract with them and to get a sign in your yard ASAP.
If you want to sell your home for top dollar in the least amount of time, it's important to do the right things in the right order. Listing a house is a process, not an event. It's important to convert your home from living condition, to showing condition. You want to hire an agent that will guide you in that process or refer you to someone that can, like a professional home stager.
There are situations where sellers don't want to do anything to their home and just want to sell it as it is. You can do that, but obviously you're not going to make as much money. You will need to price your home for quite a bit less than you would if you were willing to prepare it properly.
You only have one chance to make a good first impression so it's critical that your home shows it's very best the day it goes on the market. Buyers scour the internet looking for the new listings. It's a wasted opportunity if your home does not show its best at that time. If buyers don't like what your home looks like online, they will not make an appointment to view your home in person. Times have changed a lot over the last twenty years in real estate. It used to be that you would get more showings than you do today, but today your home is actually getting viewed more often, if that makes any sense. The first showing happens online, and if they like what they see online, they will then make an appointment to view the interior of your home.
The goal when you're selling your home is not to get a sign in your yard as fast as you can. The goal is to get to the closing table as fast as you can, and sell your home for the most amount of money in the least amount of time. Sometimes it may take a week or two more to get your home on the market if you prepare it properly, but typically if you do the right things in the right order, your home will sell faster and for more money, and you're going to get to the closing table faster.
5. Signing a long term contract with an agent that you cannot get out of if the agent is not performing.
Most agents are going to ask you to sign a long term contract, typically four to six months… it varies on the agent. Once you sign this contract, you are committed to that agent until the contract expires. You're stuck even if you are unhappy with the agents’ performance. What if you are not happy with the amount of advertising being done on your home? What if the agent does not return your phone calls? What if you never hear from the agent? What if the agent doesn't provide feedback after showings? None of the services are part of a real estate contract.
I would not recommend signing a contract that you cannot get out of. Insist on being able to cancel the contract at any time if you are not happy with your agent’s services.