I was out showing homes this weekend and I went to a community to see 3 townhouses on the same street. I reviewed the showing instructions. The first house had instructions to call a showing service, which I did, to receive the combination to the lockbox. (As an aside I HATE combo lockboxes…it’s such a disservice to the seller…there’s no record of who came by and when, and no way to tell how many people have the combination. But I digress.) The other two were labeled ‘show anytime, electronic lockbox’. I dutifully took my buyer—who, by the way, is pre-approved and ready to write an offer as soon as she sees something she likes—only to find that the two ‘electronic’ lockboxes were actually combination lockboxes. No combination listed in the MLS printout. I called both agents and got voicemail. We walked around the community for a few minutes, then left. Later that day I got a call from one of the agents with the combination. I never did hear from the second. And my client? She decided to buy somewhere else.
It’s really too bad that there isn’t a standard level of service provided to—and expected by—sellers. Here is a short list of questions to ask and ways to check up on your quality of service:
- Does your property have multiple pictures in the MLS? Have you looked at them? Too many times I see a picture taken with a point-and-shoot that is really a picture of the furniture rather than the room. You can’t get wide enough angles from a run-of-the-mill camera. Buyers DEMAND pictures. I work with a
LOTof buyers, and they assume that something is wrong with the property if there are no pictures.
- Is there an electronic lockbox (this is for the seller’s safety)? Does it open properly (Ask your agent to check periodically...I tried to show one last week and the box wasn’t working so we weren’t able to get the keys.) Are there keys in it? (Yes, I’ve had this happen, too, when trying to show a property to a buyer.)
- Web Site – Does your property have its own website (e.g., www.1225NStreet.com) These sites aren’t for search engine ranking, but rather for your marketing materials—the brochures, the open house ads, the signs. Buyers want as much information as possible. Buyers DO look at these sites (my listings get dozens of hits per day), and they show them to their friends for opinions, and I want buyers spending as much time as possible looking at information about my listings versus others.
- Open Houses – I’m a big fan of open houses. (See my open house post here.) Any agent who says “No one buys off an open house” is WRONG. I’ve had several of my buyer clients buy a house that they saw for the first time when it was held open, and I sold one of my listings to someone who saw it at an open house. Do you want to be denied that chance? Make sure the ad in the paper has your property’s web address (see #3) in it – buyers are more likely to make the time to see your home if they’ve seen it online and the pictures are good—see #1. See how all of these fit together to form a marketing strategy?
- Updates – Make sure you get a full market analysis from your listing agent at least every week. Market conditions change, and it’s important that you know what your competition—those other listings—is doing.
This is just a brief list of some of the most common mistakes (or, dare I say, lack of effort) that I see out there. Make sure you optimize your chances of selling by demanding the best from your agent.
To discuss what I do in addition to the above for my sellers, email me.
Read more: Open Houses and Route Optimizer
Read more: 5 Mistakes Listing Agents Make