As I read the Sunday paper this morning my stomach started to knot up. Felt a little bit like nausea coming on. I have homes to sell in Michigan (for the clients we represent). If you are selling a home in Michigan, you know what I am talking about. I can no longer count the layoff announcements, restructuring plans and plant shut-downs. Record numbers of foreclosures and an increasing number of homes to sell without new jobs to replace the old. You donâ€™t need a degree in economics to know that an increase in homes for sale with a decrease in the number of buyers equals falling prices. Where can I look for some help and a bit of good news for a change?
Perception is reality. I would love to spin this buyerâ€™s market in to something good for sellers. But I donâ€™t have the spin in me for that one.
The other day I was at a brunch with Birmingham/Bloomfieldâ€™s top producing Realtors. A REALTOR, whom I highly respect, said that he recently told a seller that there is actually very little difference in what most top producing agents can do for their clients. I didnâ€™t say anything then, but I strongly disagree. Iâ€™ve watched other agents for a long time, and I think the difference can be huge. Among other things, technology is leveling the playing field and the dinosaur agents who have dominated the industry are either going to have to â€˜get on line or get in the bread line.â€™
If you are a seller or a potential seller, listen up. Here are some things I think you can do to make your home the one that gets the seemingly elusive buyer. You think youâ€™ve heard it all before, but I bet you havenâ€™t. I know you havenâ€™t. I donâ€™t want you to be in the bread line, next to that agent who told you she was a top-producer. She meant 10 years ago, but she forgot to mention that.
New School Thinking
When you are interviewing agents, here are the things I would ask, in addition to the usual questions:
- How many hits are there on your company web site each month? How does that compare to your competitors’ sites?
- Where does your companyâ€™s site rank on Google for â€œBirmingham Michigan Real Estateâ€ (insert your townâ€™s name)?
- Does your company use pay per click?
- What else is your company doing to direct traffic to its site?
- How many inquiries does your companyâ€™s site generate per month?
- How does your company track inquiries?
- Who would be following up on an inquiry about my home and how quickly would they do it?
- How will my home be displayed on your web site?
- How many pictures will there be? When will they be posted?
- Will they be updated if the seasons change?
- Will there be a virtual tour? When will it be up? Will it be on Realtor.com?
- Will my home be â€œenhancedâ€ on Realtor.com?
- Do you, Ms. Agent, have a personal web site? How long have you had it? How does it do in attracting buyers compared to your peersâ€™ web sites? What do you do to make sure that your web site is effective? When was the last time you added something to your personal website besides new listings?
- Do you have a blog?
- Does your company have a national (international) web site where my home will be displayed?
- Will my home be on trulia.com, oodle, googlebase, craigslist?
If the agent you are interviewing canâ€™t answer most of these questions, move on! Todayâ€™s buyer is looking on the internet for his next home, and your positioning here makes all the difference.
Old School Stuff Matters too:
I think any agent, new school or old school will give you the following tips.
- Now is not the time to be fishing for that one buyer who might overpay for your home. A home priced slightly below the competition is the most likely to find a buyer quickly.
- Bonuses to buyersâ€™ agents get noticed. Agents have literally hundreds of homes to chose from for most buyers and a dangling the carrot of a bonus in front of them is cheaper than a price reduction or sitting on the market another month. It will get you showings.
- Sellersâ€™ concessions help too. Be open to creativity in the way the deal is structured. Can you offer land-contract, a rate buy-down or seller paid points on the mortgage?
- Clean and clutter free really matters. Move-in-ready is the only acceptable standard these days. Staging helps. No buyer is looking to take care of the projects you never got around to, so get them done!
- No matter how inconvenient, let the buyers in when the want to get in. If you donâ€™t, chances are you will never see them again.
I know I have missed some things, but these tips should get you started. I donâ€™t want you to share the same fate as the dinosaurs. I sincerely hope you are successful in finding the right buyer.
[tags]selling a home in michigan, birmingham mi, michigan realtor, choosing an agent, choosing a realtor[/tags]