When choosing a real estate agent, it is important to pick someone you can trust to do a great job. Not only is it important that you get along, it is important to find a quality agent who knows the business, the neighborhood, and can handle all of your needs. Discount agencies might look good because of price, but as the saying goes: “you get what you pay for.”
Why would one agency cost more than another? One of the most common reasons is experience.
With a discount agency, you might be getting a discount because the agency doesn’t have the experience to charge a premium price. With your discount rate comes discount service and discounted experience.
Experienced agents have the knowledge and background to price your home right and get it sold for the best price possible. You may pay higher fees, but you can easily make up those fees and more with the better sale price you can command for your home and a faster sale that reduces holding costs.
One of the most important reasons to have a real estate agent is to handle the difficult things for you. Discount agencies might claim to offer everything you need, but likely don’t have the specialization to deal with what comes up.
If you are selling a home, you need someone to show your home, market online, and do repairs. A high-end agency might have a rock star marketer and an experienced maintenance specialist so your agent can focus on your and getting your home sold.
Some agents who handle everything themselves do great, but with more active listings they will be stretched and can’t spend as much time working on your property. To ensure you get the attention you deserve, make sure you pick an experienced agent with a strong team behind them.
Relating to both getting what you pay for and having a team on call is your agent’s availability. Discount agents often work limited hours, while full-service, premium agencies are working nearly round-the-clock hours.
If your home requires maintenance or staging work, some discount agents might only work during 9-5 business hours. Premium agencies are more likely willing to come in on an evening or weekend to make sure your property is in pristine condition.
Prospective buyers may be available during the week, or might only want to look at homes on weekends. If your discount agent only hosts showings during certain hours, you are cutting down on your ability to sell.
Finding an agency that will be there when you need them and when your buyer is going to be available is one of the most important factors in a stress-free, successful real estate sale.
A premium, experienced agent with solid references is one that you know you can count on. There are agent horror stories where the agent didn’t act in the interest of the seller or buyer.
Take the story of one Omaha real estate story where a buyer’s agent called the seller’s agent and said that his buyers wanted him to make a bid $6,000 below the asking price. However, the agent knew that they would be willing to pay the full price so instead of submitting the offer his clients requested, he submitted an offer at full price so he could get his commission at the higher price.
Agents have a fiduciary responsibility to do what is best for their customers. This agent was sleazy, dishonest and unethical. Discount agents might be more tempted to increase their transactions volume by cheating their customer, especially if they’re only receiving a reduced commission.
We all want an agent who will listen to our needs, show up on time, be a positive influence and supporter, have plenty of time for you, and isn’t pushy.
Discount agents make their income on volume, where premium agencies can focus more on their client’s needs and priorities. Working with a good agent should leave you feeling comfortable and happy. Anything else is a sign your agent doesn’t have your best interest in mind.
Skipping the discount agency will lead to a smoother transaction overall. The premium agent will never rush you or pressure you into something you don’t want. The premium agent will work with you to ensure you have a great experience, only taking the deal that is right for you, and will be compensated appropriately for the time, effort, and expertise they offer.
Do It Right the First Time
Paying two mortgage payments can be expensive. Waiting for your home to sell is stressful. Knowing the person working on your home is not doing the best job possible is frustrating. Avoid all of that by making a smart decision the first time.
I have bad stories about real estate that could have been avoided by picking a better person to work with. While hindsight is always twenty-twenty, picking the right agent when you get started is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make. Don’t make it based on price alone, make your decision based on quality service.