I’ve always been a DIY guy, from building my own furniture to selling my own car to removing my kid’s stitches myself. (Okay my wife wasn’t crazy about that one.) So when it came to hiring a realtor I figured I’d do it myself as well. Turns out I was wrong, it’s tougher than it looks and years later I became a realtor myself and dug through all of the minutia to figure out just what a realtor is supposed to be doing for you and why the right realtor is indeed worth what you pay.
It turns out that selling a house is not at all like selling other items in your life like a bike or a car. A house sale has the potential to make you quite a bit of money but it also comes with the risk of litigation and huge drops in price if it is not handled well.
This is why most sellers hire a realtor. But what exactly should a realtor do for the money you pay? This article will dig into the 5 specifics items a realtor should be doing for you. To sell your house you’ll need: a project manager to prepare your house, a marketer to sell it, a negotiator to set the terms, Transaction management and legal guidance to protect you and a teacher to communicate the process. The realtor’s job is to be all of those in one person. So let’s break it down and talk about the big 5. Here they are:
- Negotiation & Strategy
- Management and Protection
A realtor should set the stage for success through Preparation
This isn’t just any sale, your money and your life are on the table (as well as where you’ll sleep) Much can be done to prepare so that your transition is smooth and profitable. Your realtor will help you do everything from having a termite inspection performed to identifying repairs and improvements. There are a lot of people to coordinate to sell a house – the handyman, the window cleaner, the house cleaner, the carpet cleaner , the painter, the landscaper, the stager ,the photographer and the videographer. It is a big project that can use an experienced project manager. Plus a good realtor actually understands the systems of your house and can help you differentiate a sprinkler leak from a drain pipe leak and provide general repair triage so you don’t spend more than you have to but also don’t miss the items that will come up in an inspection.
A realtor should should put you in the driver's seat through Marketing
- Professional Photography
- Professional 3D Matterport Tour
- Professional Property Video Tour
- Narrated video tour
- List it Live On Air Presentation
- Dedicated Property Website
- Agent Caravans
A realtor should get you what you want through Negotiation and Strategy
Negotiation is the intentional art to using timing and leverage to get you the best deal. An example is using a multiple counter-offer strategy to sell your house in “as is” condition, get you a higher price and get you additional time to stay in your house after the sale closes. This is just one example of the use of strategy and timing to set a buyer up to your terms. Another example of negotiation involves making the contracts benefit you by eliminating the buyer’s options for cancelling the contract later (remove the appraisal contingency) and avoiding escalation clauses that can put you in an awkward situation. It also involves strategies like queueing up backup offers to protect you as a seller in the event a buyer cancels the transaction.
Successful negotiation is built on a foundation of thoroughly vetting buyer candidates. This means assessing every buyer’s proof of funds, their motivation for purchasing and their agent’s responsiveness. It also involves your agent talking to a buyer’s lender to distinguish whether the buyer has a strong pre-approval rather than a weak pre-qualification. It’s learning about the motivations of the buyers without violating discrimination laws. It’s understanding the risks of falling out of escrow after an offer is accepted and playing the game of chess well to keep your buyer on point through the finish line.
A realtor should get you safely across the finish line through Transaction Management
A realtor should Protect You Legally
Finally a realtor keeps you in the know through Communication
So it turns out that selling a house is not a DIY job after all. You have way too much on the line to gain or lose to wing it and hope for the best. So if you’re a DIY enthusiast perhaps it’s time to shift your DIY aspirations toward finding a professional realtor. When it comes time to select that realtor knowing how well they perform in the five areas mentioned above will go a long way in separating the wheat from the chaff. Do your research and hire smart and you’ll get the best of both the DIY and professional worlds and have a smooth and profitable sale in the process.
Bradley Heintz holds an MBA degree from San Diego State University Magna Cum Laude as well as a 2nd masters in Business Information Systems from SDSU. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Mathematics and Economics. Despite all the academics he has extensive hands-on experience with contracting, construction and repair.
As a credentialed teacher with kids of his own in the school system, he understands first hand the in’s and outs when it comes to neighborhoods and schools and he created a video to help share his experience with you.