Finding The Best Listing Agent in Tacoma
We ask sellers what they are looking for in an agent and how they will choose. With alarming frequency the answer is “We will see where the price recommendations come in and decide from there.”
Say what?! You are going to choose a real estate professional according to the size of the digits that spout from their lips?
On one level I get it. Sellers want to maximize the selling price. But choosing an agent based on who says the highest number is likely to backfire. There are unprincipled agents out there who will purposely come in with a big, fat, juicy price, just hoping to weather your disappointment when showings are thin, hoping to survive the third price reduction when there might actually be a chance to sell. Overpricing usually leads to a final sale price below where the house might have sold were it priced consistent with similar SOLD and PENDING homes. Pricing correctly can lead to multiple offers and a sale in excess of asking price.
There are three criteria that I see as most important in choosing a real estate agent.
A productive agent with a long track record has likely taken some hard knocks along the way. Nothing can instill the instinct for avoiding pitfalls better than living through them. As my mentor used to say, “There comes a time when you start to recognize the smells of the forest.” But longevity is not enough. For example, the average agent sells a few homes a year. In contrast, an agent who sells five times that accrues five times the learning opportunities. People generally want an experienced medical practitioner when their life is on the line. The same principal applies to what may be the largest financial transaction of a person’s life.
David, Matt and I regularly view homes in and around Tacoma. Rarely do we get a call from a listing agent asking what we thought, which I find astonishing. I am not sure what information they pass along to their sellers to aid in decision making. I think some agents take a listing and spend the next few months avoiding the seller, hoping another agent sells the house. News flash: A seller can make better strategy decisions if they know what is going on. Find an agent who’ll report to you on showing feedback and their own marketing activities regularly. Also, find someone who makes themselves available to talk things through and answer questions.
I frequently hear sellers say “Oh, agents all do about the same things.” By the way, I know what a lot of agents do, so I know that nothing could be further from the truth. You could drive a U-Haul through the gap between a good marketing plan and a bad one. Roughly 90% of buyers will see their home on a computer screen before they see it in person. Does your agent have 7 dark photos taken with the camera on his phone, or is the photography sharp, bright and inviting? How much internet exposure will the property get and where? How about traditional marketing like a quality take-away piece, direct mail, open houses, broker events, or the local paper (YES, many people still read a paper). Make sure to ask about the marketing plan.
If you ask about and evaluate the above you stand a good chance of hiring the best listing agent in Tacoma. As a final thought, I recommend you choose a Realtor®. Not all agents are Realtors®. A Realtor® is a member of the National Association of Realtors® and subscribes to a code of ethics.