There are many good real estate agents who entered the trade with an intention of providing professional services that benefit their clients. Unfortunately, there are also a small number of agents who entered the industry with a different frame of mind. To attract customers, they would go out of their way to make claims that often misled the average customer into signing up with them.
In this article, I will point out several common claims that a few agents might use so you know to avoid them.
First, “I’m the #1 seller in my region or state.” When an agent makes such statement without any real data to back up such a claim, that realtor is unlikely a good egg. If you see several agents in one area all claiming to be the #1 agent in their region, how is that possible? To look good, some agents will make up dubious claims to mislead customers into listing their property with them.
Even if there is truth to the claim of being the #1 agent in the region, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you will get the most for your house in the shortest time. Your best bet is to look for a trusted agent with a proven track record.
A good agent will score well on these 3 statistics:
- percentage of listings sold,
- days on the market, and
- sale price to list price ratio.
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Here are some tips to prepare you for an interview with an agent:
- Percentage of listings sold. Ask the agent how many listings s/he had in the last 24 months and how many s/he personally sold. The process of selling a house often involves a fair amount of emotion from both parties. You need an experienced agent who has handled many transactions to help you navigate the process delicately. Since you will pay a very similar commission to whichever agent you choose, why not go with the experienced agent who has personally sold many homes and knows the market?
- Days on the market. Ask the agent for a report showing how long it takes him/her to sell the average listing. There are several factors that determine the home sale timeline, but an average time to sell a home is between 4 to 8 weeks. Any agent with statistics longer than 8 weeks to a sale is below average.
- Sale price to list price ratio. Ask for a report of his/her sales to see how the agent sets sale prices and how well s/he negotiates for sellers. It’s not hard to price the property low and get 100% of the asking price, but that will be reflected on the number of listings the agent has had in the last 24 months. Skilled professionals will have a strategy to deliver great value for their clients, with solid listings that are growing over time.
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Knowing these 3 statistics will help you weed out those agents who use false claims to try to fool people into signing an agreement with them.
Second, when you were driving around, you might have seen billboard signs that said, “I will sell your house in 45 days or I will buy it.” This statement begs the question: After the 45th day, what price will you pay for my house. My asking price? No, not hardly.
These agents might think they are clever, but that statement makes them look like they are trying to outsmart an uninformed customer. People who recognize this type of approach would most likely stay away from those agents because naturally, we wonder what other schemes they might have up their sleeves.
Third, while planning to sell your house, it’s great to receive a call out of the blue from a random agent telling you: “I have a buyer for your house.” It sounds exciting and maybe a chance to sell your house without even having listed it.
But wait a second. Ask that agent who s/he would like to represent, you or the buyer? Once the agent says that s/he would represent you and signs you on as a customer, it is most likely that you will soon find out that that potential buyer is no longer interested in your house or has found another house in the meantime. This is a common tactic used by dodgy agents to get you excited enough to sign up with them.
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Overall, good real estate agents are the ones who tell you what you Need to hear, not what you Want to hear. They don’t play to your emotions or mislead you with false statements. Good agents use facts, data and logic to back up their claims. They will not use false claims and clichés to fast-talk you into a deal.
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