I recieved a great email this evening which took me more than a few hours to respond to. It was from a prospective seller (I’m guessing this might be their first time selling a home) who plans to list his home the beginning of 2009 and is wisely thinking ahead about interviewing agents.
I decided because he had so many fantastic questions to publish our “Email Interview” for other prospective sellers to read. Many of these are questions any seller should ask prior to hiring an agent. I hope you find it informative! *Note: I did amend a few questions to make them more general vs. specific to this particular seller.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at Angela@HuskerHomeFinder.com if you have a burning question that was not answered, or call me directly at 402-709-4908. Enjoy!
1. (Prospective Seller) How has the Omaha housing market been affected by the national economic situation, what are the current trends in Omaha?
· (My Response) Overall, in my opinion, the Omaha Metro area has fared pretty well – especially in comparison to many parts of the country. The reason for this is we (Omaha Metro) didn’t have the drastic spikes in property values like they did on both coasts, Las Vegas, etc. As a result we have thankfully remained more stable.
· On the flip side, it is definitely a “buyer’s market” right now. And because of the excess inventory, seller’s property values are not what they were 2 years ago. We have many more homes for sale (over 7000) than we have buyers. On the bright side, the oversupply of new construction seems to be leveling out, so this is slowly helping the sellers. The other sunny side is if you are going to purchase a home once you sell, you will likely get a great deal on the buyer side!
2. (Prospective Seller) Why should we list our home with you, and what makes you different from other agents?
(My Reponse) Wow, many things! We are ranked in the top 1-2% for home sales in the Metro area, so we know what it takes to sell homes! Here’s a link to our Seller Page which outlines several differences.
If I had to choose the top 3 differences that our clients seem to be most impressed by I’d say;
· #1 – our Internet Presence and Marketing is unsurpassed in the Metro Area!
· #2 – we hire (and pay for) professional stagers to visit your home. In this market this is SO IMPORTANT. No matter what your price range you’ll likely be competing against hundreds of other homes with similar criteria (buyers look all over the metro, not just in one city). We have to “outshine” our competition and be competively priced in this market, as a team we make sure you’re prepared to compete.
· #3 – Communication. Not only am I always accessible, but so is our Transaction/Marketing Coordinator. We also send unique “Marketing Reports” outlining how many “e-showings” you’ve had, how many homes have sold in your price range since listing date, how many new “competing” homes have come onto the market, comprehensive showing reports with statistics on feedback, and much more!
3. (Prospective Seller) How many properties have you sold this year (YTD)?
(My Response) 60-65
4. (Prospective Seller) How many homes have you and your company sold in my general location?
(My Response) We sell homes throughout the entire Metro area. I’d guess the majority would be out West and in the Papillion/Bellevue Area (near the base). Additionally several were sold in North Omaha as well.
My company, NP Dodge, is consistantly ranked in the top 2 for Omaha Metro Sales!
5. (Prospective Seller) Tell us what your marketing plan will be.
(My Response) This is a tough one to do via internet/typing. I would go over this in great detail at a face-to-face meeting, but in a nutshell INTERNET, INTERNET, and INTERNET!! Combined website exposure of only some of the sites we are affiliated with (I don’t have viewership stats on all of them) is OVER 14 Million Viewers. My personal website has a #3 out of 10 Google ranking as well.
6. (Prospective Seller) What services are provided beyond marketing / negotiations?
(My Response) First and foremost, I have a phenomenal “Team”! Click here to view our Team Page. How would this benefit you, the seller?
· There are FOUR of us working to sell your home for the same commission other agents charge
· We have 2” Exclusive Buyer’s Agents” (they don’t list homes) on The Husker Home Finder Team. They are fabulous! They tour & familiarize themselves with all of our Listings. They consistantly have a steady flow of buyers at all times. They have sold many of my listings the same day listed! We also publish all 3 of our contact numbers on your house flier to answer questions in a timely manner!
· If we are called directly to show your home, one of our EBA’s (Exclusive Buyer Agents) shows your home instead of myself (the Listing Agent) if possible. We prefer to do this because if that particular buyer happens to fall in love with your home the EBA (Exclusive Buyers Agent) now represents the buyer, I represent YOU — it’s seperate representation. Dual Agency can be done honestly and ethically, but personally, we prefer to keep things seperate so both parties feel 100% represented.
· Our Transaction/Marketing Coordinator is awesome. She has a list of over 30 “to do’s” the first two days your home goes on the market (I have my list too!). along with many other tasks that automatically pop up on her calander. Once your home goes under contract she stays on top of all the details to include making sure the buyer (and their agent) are doing everything in a timely manner on their side… so we close on time.
· We have a 24 hour answering & showing service, i.e. no missed or delayed calls for showings!
· I’ve invested in a great feedback program which sends specific questions to all agents who have shown your home 4 days in a row – it includes a virtual tour and photos of your home to jog their memory so we get TRUE feedback on what their buyers really thought. When they respond we are both emailed at the same time. I run reports from this program for my sellers as well.
· FREE Freedom Home Warranty on your home from the list to pending date (also from pending to close if you choose to purchase this for the buyer).
· The Husker Home Finder Team technology is “cutting edge”. For instance, if someone pulls up your home on my website to request additional information or a showing, I get a text message instantly on my cell phone. It then goes straight to the available “Exclusive Buyer Agent” for quick follow-up!
· All of my sellers have my direct cell number and email. I’m always available to them, which all of our clients will testify to! Our Transaction/Marketing Coordinator is also very experienced and happy to help our clients in any way!
7. (Prospective Seller) Who controls the advertising, you or your brokerage firm?
(My Response) I pay for the marketing; therefore I choose the advertising which has proven most successful. Believe me when I say I’ve tried every facet (and still experiment!). Anything that didn’t give us a return on my investment was “axed” (mostly print advertising – why would someone look in the paper when they can “tour” your home online?).
Since over 85% of buyers shop for homes online, I reinvested those monies back into internet marketing. The payoff is more phone calls, more showings, AND we can track things that help us know if we are on target to be competitive in this market. Basically, we have a plan which has proven over and over to work. (I can explain this in great detail when we meet.)
8. (Prospective Seller) What percentage of your listings sell? On average, how long does it take for your listings to sell?
(My Response) Overall according to the MLS our average DOM (days on market) for sellers is 35. I’d estimate 85-90% sell. However, as I’ll explain at our appointment – selling your home is a TEAM effort and takes commitment on both ends. We both come up with strategic plan to sell your home. We have to work together on every level to accomplish our goal.
9. (Prospective Seller) Of your sales, what is the percentage of sales price to asking price?
(My Response) According to the report I was able to pull from the MLS it says:
Agent Percentage of Sale Price to List Price (List Side) is 99.08%
10. (Prospective Seller) How many buyers are you currently working with?
(My Response) I’d guesstimate our two “Exclusive Buyers Agents”on average, have a pool of about 75-100 buyers at all times. By this I mean they are setup on home searches and/or corresponding with them. Of course many of these buyers are not looking to purchase immediately and could be as far as 6-9 months out.
11. (Prospective Seller) What is your system for finding buyers?
(My Response) Our clients come from many places – the top 3 would be from my website, referrals, and past clients. We also target the military community heavily.
12. (Prospective Seller) Throughout the process, how often will we receive communication from you?
(My Response) On average you would hear from me in some form (email, phone call, feedback, marketing report) every 7 days or so. My clients also always know they can call or email and get a response back the same day!
13. (Prospective Seller) Discuss commission rates and/or fee structure? Are there fees beyond the commission? Are we only charged if our home sells?
(My Response) The standard commission rate in this area is 7%. There should typically be no other fees from the realtor (our team has none). Keep in mind you will, however, have your own closing costs to pay once the property is sold. I can give you a “seller’s cost estimate” once we meet and discuss our marketing plan, where to price your home competiviely, etc. And you are correct, if your home does not sell you don’t pay The Husker Home Finder Team anything.
14. (Prospective Seller) What happens if we’re not satisfied with the job you are doing to get our home sold?
(My Response) You can fire me! Of course I’m a perfectionist and would like to know right away if something was not working well for you so I’d have the opportunity to fix it first. I’ve told every client they can fire me if they are not satisfied, it hasn’t happened yet!
15. (Prospective Seller) Do you have a reference list of clients we could contact?
(My Response) Absolutely! Not only do we have phone numbers, but many surveys! I’d be happy to email those to you in a seperate email.
16. (Prospective Seller) What haven’t I asked that we need to know?
(My Response) You actually had some great questions! There’s only one I can think of that I believe is ultra important. As you are aware, it’s a tough market and I’m sure your home is likely your biggest investment. You’ll need a professional who is a successful, skilled negotiator. Ask the agents you are interviewing if they have a step by step negotiating strategy. The agent’s negotiating skills can make (or cost) you THOUSANDS of dollars. The agent needs to have a plan, a proven strategy, and be skilled as he/she negotiates top dollar for your home. (*My team has a proven a win-win negotiating strategy we can discuss in more detail.)
One last thought… ask the agent if this is their full-time job. The more the agent sells, the more the agent works in the market each and every day, obviously the more knowledgeable he/she will be about what needs to be done to sell your home. (*All of my team members are full-time professionals!)
I guess that’s it! You are wise to interview agents. In this market it’s so important to be represented by someone who is not only knowledgeable and produces results, but also someone YOU feel comfortable with, trust, and your gut feeling tells you is a “good fit”. I hope that I’ll be that person! I look forward to meeting with you and answering any other questions you can think of!
For more information on selling your home in the Omaha Metro Area, visit our Seller’s Page or our website at http://www.huskerhomefinders.com/. To order any of our Seller Special Reports on Preparing Your Home For Sale, or ask a burning question we did not cover email me at Angela@HuskerHomeFinder.com.Have a great day!