Do I Need a Real Estate Agent?
Real estate agents are licensed to provide certain services and protections to you. Aside from the professional knowledge and support, we're also strategic marketers that know our area.
Here are some of the benefits of working with an agent:
Lawful Representation - The most important thing about legal agency status (when you sign a written agreement with an agent to represent you) is that Tennessee law requires certain things of your agent. Agency isn't a flippant agreement.
Your agent is required to be obedient and loyal to you in all lawful real estate related activities.
They have a responsibility to keep things confidential. This means they don't even share small things such as how much you must net from the sale of your home to break even. Everything is confidential except when the law requires disclosure.
These are just a couple of examples. Ask potential agents about all agency responsibilities to gauge their knowledge and how much they value them.
Also remember that agents are not held to these responsibilities until you sign an agreement. Many people like to "just look" and have an agent take them to showings. This is not a good situation for you or the agent. They do not represent you and are not required to promote your best interests until you sign a written agreement.
Pricing - A great agent is VITAL for pricing. Automated valuation tools on popular sites can be all over the place. You will rarely find them dead-on, but either much too high or much too low. Pricing is social philosophy, art, and science. It takes practice and intimate knowledge of the current market in a given area. Some agents have a hard time pricing a home correctly so how well would an inexperienced home owner perform?
Identify motivation - A great agent will know how to ask questions and get to the bottom of your situation. It might not seem important, but identifying your motivation, timetable, financial situation, needs, and wants is essential. When it's written down and agreed upon it can always be referenced to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Staging and home prep - There's a saying we like that goes, "if it isn't compelling, it isn't selling". A great agent will understand that you need to stand out from the crowd of homes for sale. The home either needs to be compellingly priced, compellingly located, or a compelling house, in and of itself. If you have a home that is priced fairly but it's messy and cluttered inside, it's not compelling. You're forcing a compromise from the buyer in one area without compromising yourself, in another area. Your agent needs to have the knowledge on-board to direct you in staging and preparing your home to show in the best possible light.
Marketing - to sell a home people need to know it's for sale. There are several things that have become industry standard. MLS listing, photos, signs, social media...those need to be done and done professionally. Buyer's are searching for homes online and a great agent will have an established presence where the buyers are. Pay attention to how the agent markets their business. Are their materials, online and off, well thought out and relevant? Do they attract your attention? This will tell you how much influence they will have when they market your home.
Trusted advisor - Typically, real estate agents are thought to be in the sales business, but we don't agree. We are marketers, certainly. We are consultants, absolutely. We aid you in selling your home and not in the way that a car salesman aids his company in selling cars. We're not trying to talk anyone into buying your home. We want to attract the right buyer to you. We want to consult with you and give professional advice on how to prepare your home, what price to ask, market, find qualified buyers, advise on incoming offers, and either perform or verify another party is performing the tasks required to close. When was the last time you heard of a car salesman in such a trusted position with a manufacturer? Now, there's nothing at all wrong with being a car salesman. We're simply highlighting the difference between a salesperson and a legal agent. Our job, as we see it, is to bring together two willing parties to close on a win-win transaction. We take seriously our responsibility to serve you in that process.
Admin work - It's amazing how much work is involved in the modern real estate transaction. We're told that, not-so-long-ago, the home sale contract was one page, front and back. Now, it's ten pages. There are countless incoming calls from buyers and their agents. Legal contracts of all different types and through all phases of the process must be filled out correctly and turned in within a deadline to avoid legal trouble. As mentioned before, your agent should be checking on, and verifying, each party involved to ensure everything is on track to be completed. There are many tasks that go into a transaction that your agent takes responsibility for.
Negotiator - Your agent needs to be a tough negotiator. We always look for a win-win situation, but many times the sides disagree on what a win-win looks like. You need a quick thinking agent that isn't afraid to have a difficult conversation. By the way, did your agent agree to reduce commission in order to get your listing? Strike 1. We like to refer to the ideal agent as a "confident servant". They know their value, but they know it's not about them. It should be about you and your needs.
Contact Us if you have any questions or are interested in buying or selling a home.