Mistakes happen, even big ones like hiring the wrong real estate agent. Even though precious time has been wasted, the problem can be corrected by knowing when to fire your real estate agent. You still have time to find a new one and even recover some of that lost time.
The job of selling your home doesn’t stop when you hire a real estate agent. Part of your ongoing task is paying attention to what your agent is doing for you. You need to have an understanding of the listing, the statistics, and how your home is being marketed. It is critical that if they are not performing as promised or expected, they must be replaced.
Although it may be difficult to fire your real estate agent, especially if you have a personal relationship, it must be done if you expect to salvage your home sale.
When to Fire Your Agent
Look for the following conditions, and if your agent is not providing professional services in any of these areas, you need to have a serious conversation or look elsewhere. You need to fire your real estate agent if he or she is not:
- communicating with you on at least a weekly basis, keeping you informed as to what is happening in the local housing market as it pertains to the sale of your home
- marketing your home adequately on the internet where over 80% of buyers look for homes to buy first
- following up with agents who show your home to potential buyers, and acquiring feedback about the showing to provide to you
- advising you on how to show your home in the best possible way, and any changes that need to be made to improve your home’s appeal
- recommending price adjustments backed up with factual data regarding current sales
- being honest with you about any aspect of your listing
- presenting any and all offers
- sharing your listing with other agents with potential buyers
- following the rules of the local MLS and using all their tools to your advantage
- current with their licenses, fees, and dues necessary to engage in their business
- actively pursuing potential buyers
It may be difficult to keep track of all these tasks, but it’s your job as a seller to try. Let’s take a look at a few of these areas of service in a little more detail to gain a better understanding of why this is so important.
Communication - We know that there are agents who make the mistake of not communicating with their sellers once they put a sign in the yard. Without communication, first and foremost, the seller is left to wonder if their agent is doing anything for them. There are hundreds of actions realtors perform behind the scene that may go unnoticed by their client. That why experienced agents understand that by communicating with you, they are assuring you that steps are actually being taken toward the successful sale of your home. If you feel there has been a break down in communication, it’s either time to start talking or time to fire your real estate agent.
Market Statistics - If, as a seller, you keep abreast of the local home market statistics, such as what other homes are selling, how much they are selling for, how long other homes are on the market, and what homes have made price adjustments to keep up with the market, you will know if your agent is doing his or her job. When a house isn’t even shown while others are being sold in the same neighborhood, it’s time for a discussion with your agent to see what’s going wrong. Only statistics about home sales can give you this heads up. You don’t need to be buried in spreadsheets and charts, but if they can’t show you the numbers, it may be time to fire your agent.
Internet Presence - Doing internet searches for your own home is another check you need to do early on. Because over 80% of buyers look for homes on the internet, this is something that can’t wait a single day. In a market full to the brim with houses for sale, it’s a first-come-first-serve mentality. Be sure your agent has a strong online presence. If they don’t have a strategic marketing plan for your house that includes the internet, then you should strongly consider firing your real estate agent.
Buyer’s Agent Feedback - This is critical because it provides you, and your agent, with information about your home as seen through the buyers eyes. Each time your house is shown, you should receive feedback from the buyer’s agent. Although it is polite for buyers agents to provide this feedback, it is not required of them, so many do not automatically do it. Your agent should have systems in place to ensure feedback is sought via email as well as telephone calls to the buyers agent to make sure that you and your agent haven’t missed anything. For instance, something as simple as cluttered countertops in the kitchen may go unnoticed by you since you’re living in the house on a daily basis. However, as seen by a potential buyer, this may deter a second look and a possible offer. If they aren’t consistent about soliciting buyer feedback, then it’s probably time to fire your real estate agent.
Staging - Some agents are either too timid or simply do not know how to advise you on how to show your home so that buyers look at the qualities of your home instead of the stuff in your home. Your agent may have to get tough with you. If he or she doesn’t, you are the one who’s on the losing end. Hire an agent who understands the importance of a first impression, and one who is not afraid to tell you to clean up your junk. If you and your agent are on good terms, this should be well received advice. A good agent may recommend you hire a home staging expert to help. If he or she can’t get tough for your own good, it may be time to fire your real estate agent.
Price Wars – A good agent is confident with recommending a solid offer price on your home right from the beginning. This means that pie-in-the-sky price you may be hoping to get may be just that; an unattainable dream. Do you want to sell your house or do you want to sit with it on the market? The price your house is listed for must be based on current market value of comparable sales in the existing market. And, just as important, the market should be watched closely for additional price adjustments in order to keep your home in alignment with the market. A good agent will provide you with statistics on a routine basis and talk about adjusting the price of you listing openly and honestly. Neither of you have anything to gain by letting your house sit on the market at an inflated price. Is your agent realistic about the marketability of your home? If you and your agent are having price wars of your own, it may be time to fire your agent.
When you go out into the real estate world to list your house, be sure you do your homework when choosing an agent. However, mistakes are possible. Things change. You may find yourself unhappy with the job your agent is doing for you. Review the list of tasks he or she should be doing for you and be honest with yourself; is it time to fire your agent? It’s your listing, not theirs, and it’s your house. Make the best decision in your interest and get the best agent for the job.