Choose agent with care

How do you choose your listing agent?

Everyone knows a realtor, especially in a smaller city.

Some may know numerous salespeople — a friend of a friend, someone they knew from high school or maybe it’s their wife’s co-worker’s husband.

Many people hire a realtor because they know her, or someone they know, knows them. 

I would caution you to do more research, and take more care in your decision because it is one of the most important you will make. Your home is likely your largest asset. Don’t entrust its sale with just anyone.

When selling your home, most sellers want three things: 

  • to sell their home for the most money
  • in the least amount of time
  • with the least amount of hassle.  

When hiring a real-estate professional to market your home, there are also three important things to consider when making this choice.  

Exposure: A realtor’s marketing plan is extremely important, as this will determine how many eyes see your home. The first sign of a good marketing plan is one that has a balance of print and online marketing, with a reach that goes outside the local area.

The more people viewing your home online, the more showings you will get, and generally the more offers (assuming other factors are in order such as price, etc.).  

Negotiation expertise: When you get an offer on your home, it’s important to have the best negotiator on your side. Dealing with offers can be a stressful time, especially if you are involved with a multiple offer situation. You need cool heads to prevail.

The best way to know if a realtor is a great negotiator is to ask him for his personal statistics that provide proof of how close his listings sell to his list price.  

Local knowledge: Knowledge of listings that have sold in your area is imperative to setting the right list price, as well as knowledge of how to adjust your list price based on the current rising market. A price too high and your home will sit on the market for too long, usually netting less money in your pocket at the end of the day. 

A detailed market evaluation to determine your list price is important.  

Analyzing the above factors when choosing a listing agent will help you make the best decision and ultimately net you more money in your pocket when your sale completes. 

Take the time to do your homework and ensure you treat the decision like any other business decision – not a personal one.

Selling a home? Have a plan

How important is a good — let’s rephrase that and say great — marketing plan in selling your home? 

In reality, the marketing plan is everything. If sticking a sign up on your lawn or putting your home on the MLS were enough, realtors would not exist. And if they did, they certainly wouldn’t be spending any money on marketing the homes they have been hired to represent.

Of course, you can sell a home without marketing. It happens. However, it’s not just about selling your home at any price. Anyone can do that. It’s about selling a home for all it’s worth.

Anyone can give a product away – however only a true sales professional can sell it for top dollar, in a reasonable period of time, and with the least amount of hassle.  

The key to selling for top dollar is exposure. 

This is not only true in real estate, but with any product or service. The more buyers you can attract, the more competition among buyers and the higher the price. Or, the more volume you sell, depending on your ultimate goal. 

Since every home is special – the big box volume selling does not or should not apply. 

The more expansive the exposure for your home, the more buyers are attracted. The more buyers who are attracted to your home, the better opportunity you have to attract more than one buyer at a time – hopefully generating what seller’s desire most: the multiple offer.  

Even if multiple offers are not achieved, with more exposure you still have a better opportunity to attract that one perfect buyer who wants your home very much and is willing to pay a good price for it. 

Either way, the seller achieves the desired result: selling for more money, in less time, with the least amount of hassle.  

Statistics show that by listing your home with a qualified real estate professional, you will net more money in the pocket at the end of the sale than by selling your home on your own. 

Furthermore, hiring a realtor with a poor marketing plan may return similar results. It’s all about the exposure.  When choosing your realtor, ensure they have a solid home selling system that returns consistent, trackable results. 

Your home is likely one of your largest assets – ensure you entrust your home's marketing and ultimate sale with a full time, full service professional and get the return on investment you deserve.

Buying sight unseen

Should I Buy a House Sight Unseen?

Generally, the regular process of purchasing a home is for a buyer to view it, make a purchase decision and go through the offer process. 

Some buyers are, however, willing to take the risk of purchasing homes without seeing them first. 

For a variety of reasons, these buyers and investors are willing to skip the regular buying process, relying instead on MLS descriptions, Internet photos and virtual tours.  

In some situations, the buyer is looking for something so specific that in a fast-moving market similar to what we are seeing in the Okanagan right now, the buyer may not have time to jump in the car and drive for six hours or purchase a plane ticket before other offers are already being submitted on the property. 

If they need to act fast, sometimes putting in a sight unseen offer is the only way. 

Although this is something our team does not generally recommend, there are some ways that you can protect yourself should you wish to make an offer without viewing a property first. 

The first way is to write an offer “subject to viewing” or at the very least have a friend or family member view on your behalf. This way a buyer may generally have anywhere from a few days to a week to view the property, while securing their offer is in first position. 

If there are multiple offers on a property, this strategy may not work as it is at best a “maybe” offer for the seller, however it is the only way to truly protect yourself as buyer. 

Another option is to write an offer “subject to approval of a professional home inspection." A thorough home inspection will inform the buyer of any major issues with the property and offers a buyer another level of protection. 

Lastly, the buyer can enlist the services of a trustworthy, full-time, professional realtor to do a walk through of the property using technology to point out the good, the bad and the potentially ugly. 

Facetime, Skype or even a thorough walk-through video can speak volumes and will help protect the buyer from any unsuspected surprises. 

However, a personal walk through is the only way to be certain that you love the house, the yard, the neighbours and the area. 


5 signs of trouble

Top 5 signs your house is overpriced

If you're selling your home, you need to understand that the right pricing is imperative.

The most common reason a house doesn’t have a buyer is because the list price is above market value. 

When selling your home, it is imperative that you set a realistic price. If you make the mistake of setting an exorbitant price, it is important that you identify this error and change it as quickly as possible.

How does a seller know if their house is too expensive?  Here are the top 5 signs that your home is overpriced.

1.  our home is priced far higher more than your neighbours

In general, in most neighbourhoods, home values will be relatively consistent. 

If your home is listed at way more than your neighbours, and they are receiving showings or offers and you are not – you need to get your price more in line with the home down the street. 

If your home is a much higher price than your neighbours, it's entirely possible that your realtor didn’t do thorough research on your house price. Or, the agent did and you chose a higher list price than recommended.  

If either of these things happened, you will want to adjust your list price accordingly. 

2. You have had few or no showings

Basking in the initial euphoria is a popular emotion that’s very common to sellers. Sellers are satisfied with their home being listed for sale and advertised all over the Internet. Weeks pass, and there are a few or no showings of your house.  No second showings.  No offers. 

Now that excitement turns to fear and frustration. If this sounds familiar, the chances are that your home is too pricey. If your home has been listed for sale for a few weeks and you only had a few showings, you need to adjust the price in hopes of generating some activity. 

3. You've haven't received any offers

In most Okanagan real estate markets, if a house is priced at market value, a homeowner should get at least one offer within a month. If you have not received an offer for a few months, you need to make the necessary price adjustment.

Certainly, there are types of properties that typically may take a very long time before they receive an offer, but it's pretty rare. This is usually a luxury home or a specialty property such as Okanagan Waterfront.

4. You hired an agent who “bought” your listing

In the Okanagan real estate market, there are hundreds of realtors. When interviewing potential realtors to sell your home, it is important that you know the kind of questions to ask during the interview.

One of the key questions should relate to the pricing of your home. It is essential that you understand how this realtor came up with the suggested listing price of your home.

If you are interviewing numerous Okanagan real estate agents and one of them suggests a price tag that is way more than the others, you need to know concrete facts of how they arrived at that figure.

There are many agents who will “buy a listing” by recommending a price that is higher than the market value. If you made the mistake of being wooed by this tactic and hired an agent who suggested a very high listing price, it’s possible that your house is more expensive than the market expectation.

5. Your neighbours’ homes are selling faster than expected, and yours Is not

One of the most depressing things for a seller is when neighbours' homes are selling, and yours hasn’t even received and offer. If you’re selling your home and you’re facing this challenge, then you need to adjust the price of your home.

If you hit the right price on a home the first time, you can expect to sell it in a reasonable period of time If you choose to inflate the price, it will either not sell or take a long time while the market values creep up in your area due to general market conditions.

Selling your home is never easy. It is a grueling process and most people, once they decide to put their home for sale, want to move on in a reasonable period of time.  \The only way to do this is to hire a knowledgeable real estate professional to help you price your home right the first time. 

More Just Add Salt! articles

About the Author

Lisa Salt is a Vernon born Realtor® who, along with her husband Gord Fowler from Calgary, lead one of the most successful and dynamic real estate teams in the North Okanagan. 

An international clay target shooting champion, Lisa brought the attributes of hard work and diligent focus to the real estate industry to create the success she and her team have today. 

To experience the local knowledge and expertise that only someone born and raised in the Okanagan can offer, call Lisa today and 'Just Add Salt'.

Website link:   http://www.saltfowler.com

Contact e-mail address:  [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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