Before deciding which agent to entrust your listing to, you might benefit from considering several factors. There is much, much more to selling a home at top dollar than putting up a sign, entering it into the multiple listing service, running a few internet ads, and having other agents preview the property. There is also a great deal more to successfully completing the sale process without hassles than in obtaining a signed contract and opening escrow. There are many costs and pitfalls that an experienced agent can help you avoid.
For example, and especially in the weak market we have been having, approximately 45 percent of the homes listed have failed to sell. This is often due to such factors as an agent’s recommended pricing strategy, lack of expertise in aiding the owner in proper preparations for marketing, and/or insufficient sales skills particularly in a highly challenging market.
Sometimes the little things that come up can make a big difference, especially if the seller’s agent doesn’t have the experience to know how to resolve them, or even better, how to prevent them from happening. With about one out of four escrows failing to close, you would logically want to have the best problem-solver and emotional hand-holder on your side.
Some people decide to list their homes with close friends or relatives, and do not recognize the potential drawbacks in doing so. For most people, there is just too much on the line to risk in such a situation, and to try to save some fees or do a favor for a friend may not be enough to offset the costs that are at stake.
Would you hire a new attorney to represent you in court or a recent medical school graduate for your surgery without exploring alternatives? Wouldn’t you interview more than one contractor before deciding who would have the most expertise to build your new home addition?
On a strictly personal level, there are several other factors you may wish to consider. If your relationship is fairly close with your potential real estate agent, would he or she be professionally able to be objective and completely candid in communications with you? Do you think he or she would feel comfortable telling you things that might hurt your feelings even though intended to be helpful? If the sale or escrow process had some significant difficulties, might that affect your relationship with them?
Is feeling obligated a reason to list your home with someone you know? Have you considered that you do have choices and alternatives? As long as you do not select an agent who is another friend or relative, you would not likely offend or upset anyone, and a good friend is likely to fully understand and support your position in such an important matter. You will also be avoiding the risk of losing a good friendship in the event that serious problems or issues come up during the sale and escrow process.
For most of us, our homes are our single greatest asset. Is it really worth risking potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars to do a favor for a friend or close relative? I have often cautioned owners to carefully consider the issues involved before making such an important decision.
Michael Edlen has been in the top 1 percent of all agents nationwide for more than 15 years and provides a broad range of real estate counseling and marketing services. He and his team of specialists can be reached at 310.230.7373 or at [email protected] Other valuable information is on his Web site, MichaelEdlen.com.