Remember the real estate boom? Those were the good old days, when all you had to do was price a home properly, enter it into the MLS and put a for sale sign in the yard. Homes sold quickly. Everyone wanted to be a listing agent. Not anymore!
Today’s market demands total focus and attention to detail. Buyers and sellers alike are much more choosy about selecting a Realtor today; and they need a Realtor today more than ever. And much more demanding during the buying or selling process. So they will do their research, both online and in person. And they will have questions. Do you have the answers? Here’s our Top Ten list for your review.
- What is your online marketing strategy? Clients know that the Internet is a powerful marketing tool. Over 85% of all buyers today begin their process with an online search. Both buyers and sellers want a Realtor who is Internet savvy and has a dominant online presence, beginning with your personal website.
- What social media tools do you use? The client wants to know if you’re communicating via Twitter and Facebook, if you have video tours posted on YouTube, if you have a blog that’s followed by clients and other Realtors.
- Do you work solo or are you part of a team? From a client point of view, there are positives and negatives to working with real estate teams. One drawback is that the client might not always be communicating with the same person. If you are part of a team, make sure the client knows all the team members, what roles they play, and how a team can make the whole process easier for them as a client.
- How will you communicate with me during the process? We’ve discussed the importance of communication from the client’s point of view in another article. It’s essential that you set expectations at the beginning of the relationship. Give the client your cell phone number. Tell him what hours you’re available, how often you check messages, and who will return his calls when you’re not reachable.
- What’s your track record? The client wants to know how long you’ve been in business. Add to this the number of transactions you completed in the last year, the price range of homes you sold, the average time a home was on the market after you listed it, and the ratio between listing prices and ultimate selling prices.
- Will you provide references? This means a lot more than just writing down names and phone numbers. You should have a file of rave reviews from satisfied clients who will happily sing your praises to anyone who asks.
- Will you attend all home inspections and appraisals in person? It’s extremely important for clients to feel that they have your personal attention throughout the process. If you work with a partner or team, be sure your clients know and trust all of you equally, understand who does what and how you cover for each other. If you work solo, you must be present during all the important milestones of the process.
- How do you get paid and are your fees negotiable? Selling property is difficult, especially now, and every penny counts. Even though you know you’re worth the quoted fee, clients may still try to negotiate. If you’re flexible, say so. If you’re not, say so—and let the listings fall where they may.
- Will you show me listings from other companies? Buyers know you’re not the only game in town. If you have their best interests at heart, you’ll show them the properties that meet their needs, regardless of who has the listing.
- Do you have a performance guarantee? If I am not satisfied can I terminate our agreement? Of course the answer is “Yes.” It’s important for every client to fully understand that they are in charge and they are hiring you to represent them. Spell out your duties and responsibilities in writing and make the client feel comfortable about asking questions and clarifying details.
If you can answer these ten questions quickly, clearly, and positively, you’re already in the Top Ten and your clients will want to be there with you. Excellence in production and commitment to client service are the keys to winning today’s real estate game.
Montana Ruark says
Very well said, this addresses the social media topic well. Also clients need to know offline marketing strategies and how their properties will stand out amounst the stagnant lists of properties that have been sitting out there as well. I do believe there are a ton of properties in my area that are not being handeled the right way. Reinventing your methods with both online and offline will keep properties moving to the sold column.
Richard M. Hartian says
Montana, you said “properties moving to the sold column.” and that is the goal!
Marte Cliff says
Every one of these is important, but I think #10 will do the most damage to your position in the community if the answer is “No.”
My son got involved with an agent who did absolutely nothing. In spite of phone calls and emails, he didn’t even hear from the man for 3 months. When he finally did get a response was when he tried to cancel the listing. The response was “NO, that was against company policy.”
It’s hard to measure the amount of negative word of mouth advertising that agent got by the time my son and I told our friends and they told their friends to “beware” of that agent AND that agency.
Richard M. Hartian says
Thanks Marte for your comments! Sorry about the treatment your son received; regardless of the reason it is inexcusable. Negative word of mouth destroys so much (immeasurable) potential.