All Realtors are Not Created Equal

by Lauren Kermode

In the Seller's market that has been in existence for the last three years, sadly enough it probably hasn't made much difference which Realtor you called when it came time to list your house for sale. The house went on the market, was shown several times in the first few days and under contract very quickly. All of this, of course, happened if your home was desirable and appropriately priced.

It's really not that simple, though. Did you know that only 7% of all listings are sold by the same agent that lists them? Why is this? Well, think of the odds. your Realtor is just one person. Just here in Cecil County we have about 300 licensed Realtors, let alone all of the Delaware agents that hold Maryland licenses and the agent from other Maryland counties doing business here in Cecil.

This is important: If you know of a real estate agent who sells a great many of their own listings, that agent may be handling his/her transactions in a less than ethical manner. There are Realtors out there who hold off letting their Sellers know about good offers until they can find "their own" Buyer. There are agents out there who read through any offer they may get, make note of the major elements of the contract and make sure "their" Buyer writes a better offer. There are even licensed agents who never show their Sellers offers brought by other Realtors.

How does this affect you as a Seller? Well, when your home goes on the multi-list, you essentially have every other licensed agent working for their own Buyers by checking new listings daily.and there your house is - exactly what their Buyer has been looking for! If your listing Realtor ignores or misrepresents the offers brought by other agents, you may as well not even have your home advertised, multi-listed or published on the internet. If no one but the listing agent is going to have the opportunity to bring a Buyer, why bother with any of that?

When you get ready to list your home, ask each Realtor you interview the following questions:

1. How many homes do you list each year?

2. How many of those homes do you sell yourself? (Remember, that a Realtor __can only work in the best interest of 1 Buyer or Seller. If that Realtor is __selling an unusually high percentage of their own listings, they may have __forgotten whom they're supposed to represent).

3. How do you intend to market my home? There's more to marketing than __"advertising". One of the most effective ways of marketing is making sure __other agents see your home.

__• through multiple photos of the inside and outside - all published on the ___internet and on the multi-list.

__• through a "Broker's open" where the agent will hold a luncheon or other ___gathering where food is served (at the agent's expense) so that Realtors ___from all over the area can come and preview your home for their clients.

__• through colorful, informative brochures made exclusively for your home ___and left in the house so prospective Buyers can remember what your home ___looked like - this is especially important if they're seeing may houses in the ___same day.

__• through "connections" that agent takes the time and effort to create and ___maintain.

__• through having a reputation for fair, honest dealings with other Realtors.

To help you understand how a good agent should handle these questions, I'll tell you what the response would be if you asked me or my partner, Claire, to explain our methods:

__• We always take our own photos. We take as many pictures as we can of ___your property - inside and out - so that Buyers who don't currently live in ___the area can go on the internet and get a good idea of what your house and ___grounds looks like.

___Remember, too, you get the added advantage of having an Accredited ___Staging Professional working for you. Recently we listed a home for sale ___that had already been listed by a discount broker such as "Help-U- Sell", ___"NextRE", "Buy Owner', etc. That other Brokerage had the house on the ___market for 30 days - the "golden time" when about 75% of all showings ___occur. It wasn't listed on the Maryland multi-list at all for over a week! ___There were few showing and NO offers. When the clients ended their listing ___with the discount company they called us. We went out and helped them ___rearrange their living space get rid of some of the furniture, brighten the ___whole house. Then we took our own pictures - of the newly improved living ___areas: living room, kitchen, rec room, back yard, side yard and deck. Even ___though we hadn't had the advantage of the first 30 days on the market, we ___had a good solid contract within 3 weeks.

__• We frequently have "Broker's Opens" and we tailor them to the property ___itself. One time we had homemade soup and pies at a house that had a ___large, warmhearted great room. Another time wine and cheese at a ___waterfront cottage, then luncheon on a terraced backyard. Sure they're ___expensive and time-consuming but that's part of what the client pays for in ___their commission.

__• We always make colorful brochures with multiple pictures of the property, ___a copy of the full listing, the Disclosure/Disclaimer and a survey if we have ___one. How else are Buyers supposed to remember our listings when they're ___seeing several homes in the same day?

__• Claire and I belong to the Cecil County Chamber of Commerce, the Cecil ___Business Group and We take the time to attend ___mixers, card exchanges and other agents Broker's Opens. We have ___commission agreements with 4 of the best custom builders in the county. ___Each one of these professional organizations have a membership fee and ___attendance requirements but we feel it's that important to keep ourselves ___and our clients properties in front of the public and other business people.

__• Claire and I have a reputation with other agents, agencies and local ___business people for being honest, fair-minded and ethical. We return phone ___calls, meet deadlines and arrive on time to appointments. Our standards ___are high for ourselves and others. Hire us to represent you in the sale of ___your home and there will never be a time when another agent doesn't want ___to show your property because they dread dealing with your Realtor - and ___that does happen with some other agents!

As we highlighted in our May Newsletter, the housing market pendulum is slowly swinging back the other way. Though prices are still high and interest rates are still low, there are more homes for sale than there have been at any time in the last three years. Little by little it's becoming a Buyer's market. As a Buyer or Seller, your best resource is a well-informed, dedicated, full-time, full-service Realtor.