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10 Dirty Secrets about Selling Your Home That Your Realtor Will Never Tell You

Updated on January 26, 2015

The big day is here, you have decided to sell your home, and have contacted a Realtor to help you accomplish this important task. The agent shows up, and you proceed to show them around your property, they take notes, give the occasional nod, and smile, all the while assuring you of an expedient sale for top dollar. However what you are thinking and what the Realtor is thinking can be two entirely different scenarios. Below are the top 10 secrets that are not being shared with you prior to listing your home.

1. "I just love your home it is so beautiful!"

Your home is not that special. Just because you have decorated it in your own style, and picked all the colors, means very little to the next buyer who will be interested in your property. Some sellers attach a tremendous amount of emotion to a home because that is where a special life event occurred, such as the birth of their child, or it could be the first home they ever bought. Get over it, this doesn’t matter to prospective buyers, and few agents will ever tell the seller this fact. When an agent agrees with everything you say, you are in trouble before you have even started.

2. "I think what you are asking for your home is right on the money"

The price you are asking is probably unrealistic, and more than likely you will end up reducing it multiple times before the property sells. A large number of agents know this, and intentionally overprice the property realizing that you will see dollars signs, and have delusions of grandeur, which will lead them to obtaining the listing. Why would you list your property with someone who tells you it is worth less than you think? The agent that gives you a price, backed up with facts and actual comparable sales in the neighborhood, is the one you should choose, that agent is the real pro, not the one dealing in dreams.

3."Your listing will be advertised everywhere"

The local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is about the only place your agent will feature your property, and claims of advertising your property everywhere are just sweet nothings that are told to you in order to convince you to sign a listing. The average agent will list your home, and enter it into the MLS, and then sit and wait for a buyer. While this marketing strategy can be effective if you have a very special property that is in high demand, it rarely gets the job done for the remaining 99% of properties. Top agents will use paid advertising in the form of Facebook ads, promoted posts on Twitter, and local direct mail campaigns. Always ask the agent to see samples of their past advertising pieces before you commit to an exclusive listing agreement. A top Realtor will easily be able to present you with their work, and will be proud to show it off.

4. "I think we should hold an open house this weekend

Open houses are for the agent’s benefit, not yours. One of the first promises made by many agents is that your home will be held open several times per month. This does virtually nothing to help you sell your house since properties rarely sell due to a walk in buyer. The main purpose of the open house is to gather prospective buyers that can be directed to other properties in the area. Be wary of the agent who tries to wow you with open house success stories, they are usually rubbish.

5. "I will personally take the photos of your home"

Photos of your property matter, so much so that people will avoid it like the plague if it looks less than desirable. Agents know this, yet in order to save money they take the photos themselves with their smartphone or compact camera. Most agents are aware that you do not know better, but the best agents will always hire a professional photographer. Top quality photos bring out the best features of your property, and hence drive phone calls. Taking a few minutes to check your agent’s website to see their listing photos will pay big dividends. Even a complete novice can spot photos that an agent took themselves, versus a job done by a pro.

6. "You should list with me, after all we are friends"

Your Realtor should not be one of your friends. While it is ideal to have a friendly real estate agent, the overriding reason for hiring an agent is to get your house sold. We have all heard of Realtors that go the extra mile and become your best friend, but what you don’t hear are the stories when negotiations become tense, and all of the parties involved are ready to strangle each other. Hiring an agent that can remain objective, no matter how hot things become will always serve you better than going with a friend. Many friendships have ended because of bad business dealings.

7. "I will show your home later this evening after I get off from work"

Hiring a part-time Realtor to sell your house will result in sub par results. Would you hire an attorney that practices law as a side job, or would you go to a Doctor that works at Home Depot during the day, and sees patients at night? The same holds true for real estate agents. Most part-time agents assure you of their abilities, yet if they really were that talented, selling real estate would be their only gig. Go with a full time professional with a track record.

8. "Yes, I can list your home for a lower commission"

The agent has just offered to list your home at a reduced commission. While this may sound like a good idea to you, it definitely should be a red flag. An agent that cuts their commission usually doesn’t stop there, they are typically the same agent that goes with the cheapest signage, the lowest quality brochures, and they put in the least effort. An agent that holds their ground on a 6% commission, or one who even asks for more, will end up in most cases being the agent that takes selling your home seriously.

9. "I specialize in this neighborhood, which will help you sell your home faster"

“I am the neighborhood expert” or “I specialize in this building”. When you hear those words, you should reply with “prove it.” Legions of real estate agents are so called specialists for a certain neighborhood, or section of town, but all too often that is a self appointed designation on their part. Agents who can actually back it up are whom you should be speaking with. Ask for proof of past sales in the neighborhood over the trailing 12 months, this will separate the two bit player from the pro.

10. "Our office can compete with the larger brokerages in town"

Lastly, size does matter, especially when going with a real estate company. The firm that the agent works for is quite important, since that firm will ultimately be whom you have a listing contract with, not the agent at your kitchen table. While it is not unreasonable to think that a small independent brokerage can handle your listing, the reality is that local and regional sales statistics don’t lie. The firm that dominates sales for a certain city does so not by luck. As mentioned before, this is a business decision and not a personal one. Larger firms tend to have far superior marketing muscle and can quickly have your home syndicated on hundreds of websites in a matter of 48 hours. A small independent brokerage with a few part timers will never have the know how to make this happen, nor do they have the resources to accomplish such a task.

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