Most agents have a system they use to sell a home, a certain way of doing things. As agents gain experience, they tend to refine their home selling techniques. Years ago, for example, before the Internet, agents sold homes very differently than they do today. Today, agents use blogs, social media and digital technology; they employ a variety of high-tech tools, coupled with tried-and-true options such as Sunday open houses, for sale signs and MLS.
If you're a hands-off seller who doesn't want to get involved, that's fine. Not every seller wants to work closely with her agent to sell a house. But if you love detail work, feel intimately connected to your home, you could be a wonderful asset to your listing agent.
How to Partner With Your Agent to Sell Your House
The trick is how to pitch your agent on extra selling points without offending or alienating your agent. It's smart to set expectations early. While you are interviewing agents, in the beginning, you might establish how you prefer to work.
It is perfectly acceptable to demand that your agent give you final approval privileges. Your agent cares deeply that you are satisfied because an agent's lifeline in this business is referrals. A satisfied seller will send an agent referrals. Never forget that you are paying the commission. Your agent works for you.
You can ask your agent to involve you in the process by obtaining your input on the following:
- Marketing copy for MLS and websites.
Rather than writing the copy yourself, it might be easier to let your agent create the marketing material and then send it to you for tweaking. You might be able to improve on a word or two or perhaps offer a feature / benefit description your agent may have overlooked. It never hurts to have two sets of eyes, and that's how you should explain it.
Think about what you like about your house. Why did you buy your house? Those are the very reasons that will motivate a new buyer to make an offer. Your agent won't know those thoughts unless you share them. Discuss these thoughts with your agent and ask that the agent incorporate them.
- Photographs for MLS and flyers.
Pay close attention to the exterior photo if that is the first photo shown in MLS. If buyers don't like the exterior photo, they might not even look at the rest of the photos. If they don't see the rest of the photos, they won't buy your house.
Make sure the copy matches the photos. Nothing is more infuriating for a buyer than to read copy about the spectacular views of the ocean, for example, and then see absolutely no photos of the water views.
If your home faces north, you could have an unusual obstacle because part of your home might always be in the shade. You want sunlight to illuminate the front of your home. This might mean your agent will need to shoot a photo at sunrise. Or, maybe you can offer to give your agent a photo in your possession that showcases your home in its best light.
Remember to offer compliments about the photos your agent or professional photographer has shot, especially if you admire them. The photographer won't mind reshooting one photo or so. If you don't like any of the photos, you might not have hired the right photographer. Photos are essential to selling a home. They won't sell a bad home but bad photos will prevent a good buyer from making an offer because that buyer will never see your home.
- Home staging.
The idea behind a good home staging job is for a buyer walk in the door and wonder if anybody lives there. If a buyer can't tell, then you've done a great job staging the home. Many homes can be staged with the seller's personal furniture.
Ask your agent which items should be removed -- mainly, any pieces of furniture that block passages or make the room feel crowded. This means about half of the furniture can be stored. Turn your attention to details such as hanging vanilla artwork and grouping items by odd numbers. Remove personal photographs and private materials.
Stand in the doorway of each door and examine the room with a critical eye. Ask your agent for an opinion as well. If you feel something is missing, speak up. Share your thoughts with your agent. Because you live in the home, you have an intimate relationship that your agent does not possess. The two of you can work in partnership to convey a message to a prospective home buyer that says: You'd be a fool not to buy me.
At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.