All I want for Christmas
A letter to Santa from Tommy & Karen:
I’m thinking about selling my house; now I’ve decided to go ahead I’m unsure of how to do it. I’m thinking about using a Real Estate agent and I’ve realized there is so much choice. I’ve also read recently that I can either do all the work for a low fee or I can choose a full service Real Estate company and agent. What should I do?
Dear Tommy & Karen from Santa & the Elves,
You know Tommy & Karen, I receive a lot of questions around Christmas. I’m glad you asked me what to do and how to do it. Mrs.Claus & I over the years, have had to make many moves to bigger houses because the presents and Elves keep getting bigger and bigger. We’ve moved around the North Pole quite a bit. Things are always changing up here, just like it is changing in the Real Estate market down there.
I have a few suggestions. There are a few choices you have to make. I know they have changed the rules in that you can list your house on MLS for a fee through an agent and do all of the work yourself and negotiations. Its like anything. I need Elves to do my work. I cannot do all the work myself. They specialize in making toys like Agents specialize in selling houses. Its really up to you. Nothing much has changed in that respect. There is a lot of work that an agent does, from knowing the market situation, to open houses, to screening out people, marketing, promotion, taking calls and the most important knowing the laws. (There is much more) I know it seems easy but there is an endless amount of paper work behind the scenes and negotiations. I’m not saying you can’t do it but are you a Real Estate Agent? The last time I checked you were a chef & accountant.
Deciding whether or not to use an agent is your first decision. The next decision if you do decide to use one, is to decide which agent to use. There are many factors in deciding which agent and company to use. The most important one is to find an agent that you are comfortable using. Interview a few agents and decide from there. I’m sure you have done some research as to what to look for but here are some other things to factor in. Its a changing world and the old criteria just doesn’t cut it in todays market. Also don’t be fooled by using the cheapest agent. Getting a deal is one thing, but usually you pay for what you get in this world. (Ask me about my toy machine which doesn’t work anymore)
Here’s Santa’s list of things to look for in an Agent in 2010:
1. How accessible is your agent?
Does your agent answer the phone? Most important. Does your agent use text messaging? Has a smart phone to receive instant emails? How fast does he respond? Test a prospective agent out and send him an email and a question. When you get a response is how long you should expect questions and work to be done from him in the future if you hire him. If he doesn’t answer you how can you expect him to answer another agent calling about buying your house?
2. What kind of website does he have?
Is it capable of promoting your listing? Is it just promotion for the agent? Is there other content which will drive traffic to his website? Is it clean and easy to read or is it just a bunch of clutter about the Real Estate market? Does it show other listed properties or just sold properties? Is it just a generic website? How old does it look? Typically if it hasn’t been updated neither has the agent? If you decide to go with an agent do you really want to invest in one that has not invested in himself?
3. Is your agent using the latest technology?
Ask your agent about QR codes? Is your agent still using newspapers to promote houses? Newspapers are a thing of the past, yes it does work in certain communities but for the most part it just is an ego thing to promote the agent himself not your house.Is he on all of the social networks promoting listings and himself daily? Is your agent creating a website or using text codes on signs to promote houses? How accessible is the information about your house going to be? Is your agent using domain sites? Does your prospective agent know what Facebook is? It is the 3rd largest community in the world, don’t you think he should be on it promoting you to buyers? Technology is really important, does your prospective agent say that he or she does not need technology? That is the first sign he doesn’t have a clue.
4. Open Houses?
Open houses are a great way to bring in buyers who don’t have agents or otherwise could not make an appointment to see your house. They figure they’ll drive by with no pressure and take a look. Most agents do only one open house and that’s it. I understand there are only so many open houses an agent can do but you don’t care about other people’s houses selling, you care about yours. Your agent should be blasting the neighborhood with flyers, knocking on some doors, and calling your neighbors to let them know you are doing an open house. Your agent should be promoting the open house online, on his website, on social networks. I know an agent that uses twitter to promote open houses, when he gets to the open house, he posts a GPS locater on twitter, when a person sees that locater and clicks it with their smart phone, they get a direct map to the open house from where they are. How about that one for convenience! Another thing about open houses, more than one is necessary!
5. Is the prospective agent in it for you or him?
When you interview the agent, do you get the feeling that he is passionate about Real Estate or is just collecting a paycheck. I know everybody has to make money, (except for Santa) but that will come after you sell your house. You need to use your gut here. Your needs are above his. You need to get the feeling that your agent is putting your house above others and that you are not just another number. This is a life investment for you and you cannot be treated like another person at the supermarket. I know here at the north pole we treat each present like it is special with extra attention. That is the feeling you need to have.
I know Tommy & Karen you have been nice this year so I will give you the number to a Real Estate agent who we have always used here at the North Pole. His name is Ernie Arrizza, and he can be reached at www.erniearrizza.com or call him directly at 905-277-1805. He will make sure you have a great Christmas. Bye for now!