Did you see the video from the Australian real estate company that was all over youtube. Basically, a real estate office was trying to get creative with their marketing and made a video that was out of the ordinary. It was a couple tastefully dancing around the house to give potential buyers a feel for the property.
It went viral. Many people were offended, so they had to take it down.
I wish the media could pick up this blog. Because the stuff that I see and am about to point out is just careless and unprofessional.
Sad mostly for sellers who don’t know better, and hire these agents.
Sad that these agents are not forced to remove their bad marketing.
Sad for my profession that there isn’t a higher standard to be held to.
I originally wanted to call this blog “the Bad Agent Blog” but I figured I would get my hand slapped (by our ethics board) for acting in an unkind manner towards others in my industry.
Do you know what’s interesting? that I would get my hand slapped for highlighting their thoughtlessness, but they don’t get their hand slapped for being unprofessional or acting without care.
Now on to the good – not so good stuff.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS BLOG IS TO EDUCATE SELLERS. THERE’S LOTS OF MINUTIA (WHEN LISTING A PROPERTY) THAT NEVER GETS DISCUSSED OR THOUGHT OF THAT CAN POTENTIALLY HARM THE SALE OF YOUR PROPERTY AND DEFINITELY HURT THE AMOUNT OF MONEY YOU ACTUALLY MAKE.
Below are the top things that ultimately hurt the marketing of your home for sale and why:
1. BAD PHOTOS
ISSUE: Many agents promise to use photos in the listing on MLS. NOT ALL PHOTOS ARE CREATED EQUAL.
It’s important to know what you are looking at.
Showcasing the shower curtain, and toilet paper roll might not be key to selling the home.
A light photo will always be more appealing.
Photos that are relevant will help the buyer connect with your home vs ones that really don’t show much about the house.
WHAT CAN YOU DO: Ask to see a portfolio of the agents work & verify your listing once it’s live
2. NO PHOTOS
Issue: Shockingly there are lots of agents that never put up any photos of the interior of the property. While there may be some exceptions (i.e. home has a tenant who won’t allow it, needs to be completely gutted or it is just so cluttered photos will be of no use) MANY times it’s just that agents can’t be bothered.
Do you know what a buyer’s first thought is when they don’t see any photos? “What’s wrong with the house?”
WHAT CAN YOU DO: verify your listing once it is live on the MLS system. Verify before you proceed with your agent if they are a discount agent or a full service agent?
3. BAD PAPERWORK
Did you know one of a buyer’s and seller’s biggest fears is mistakes on real estate paperwork. Because it can nullify a deal. And know what? Mistakes happen ALL THE TIME.
Here is an offer I received. The agent inserted clauses and didn’t bother to fill out the details. Without the specific information, the clause isn’t valid.
Here is another example:
This is funny: This agent spelt my office name wrong. My office is SAGE:
ISSUE: Your deal may NOT be legally binding. Which comes with a lot of potential legal issues, costs and overall anxiety.
WHAT CAN YOU DO: Work with a reputable agent. How detail oriented are they? Ask to see a copy of an offer they have written before (with important info redacted).
4. WRONG INFORMATION.
I know one agent that listed a home with 0 bathrooms. It actually had 7 bathrooms. If you were a buyer looking for something with 3+ bathrooms – this home never would have showed up in your searches.
The agent has this condo listed as a 2 bedroom. But later in the description – a den is listed. It should have been listed as a 2+1 property in the bedroom section.
This property was listed as a bungalow. It’s a condo. This affects how MLS will deliver properties to buyers:
ISSUE: Your property isn’t being accurately described. You could be losing great potential buyers
WHAT CAN YOU DO: Review the listing information before it goes live on MLS.
5. MARKETING FEE – CHARGE BUYING AGENTS A FEE
In an attempt to save money, many agents will make the buying agent (agent who has a buyer) pay a ‘fee’. This is their way of trying to get someone else to pay for their costs during a listing. I would like to be very clear: As a listing agent you are being paid to do a job: market and sell the property. All fees associated with that are the listing agent’s responsibility. The buyer’s agent has their own costs with working with a buyer.
ISSUE: This affects YOU, the seller, because it’s just tacky. And, while legally, as a buyer’s agent, you are not allowed to refuse to show a property because of fees, it does happen so you are losing potential buyers from seeing your home.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Ask the listing agent if they charge the co-operating brokerage a fee. Especially if you are working with a discount brokerage. To learn more about the different service levels click here.
6. THE ‘ANSWERING MACHINE OFFICE’
Yes. Some offices still rely on old school answering machines (you know the ones that have a base and you press a button to make the message play) to record their messages. During business hours!
ISSUE: Real Estate is fast paced. Some properties can sell in a few hours. A real estate office, handling your largest investment, should never be too busy to pick up a phone during business hours. Or after hours. (we use an human answering service to handle calls after hours)
If agents don’t have faith that their call will be returned or worse yet they are unable to book a showing for your property – you are losing potential buyers. It’s important for your home to be seen by as many buyers as possible.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Ask about office operations. Do staff answer calls? What happens after hours? Is there an answering service or do calls get answered by a machine.
7. THE LISTING AGENT THAT TELLS OTHER AGENTS
“HE’S TOO BUSY TO ANSWER QUESTIONS AND HANGS UP THE PHONE”
Yes. This happens. A LOT. Imagine: You hire an agent. You are paying them to sell YOUR home. And they tell ‘buying agents’ they are too busy to answer questions about your home.
What you can do: Ask the listing agent you are thinking of hiring if they have ever said that to anyone. Gauge their response.
8. THE ‘SIX-FECTA’ OR ‘TRI-FECTA X2’ EFFECT.
I recently had a buyer that wanted to see a home. And everything was wrong: (this is 2019 and this happens):
1. No photos of the home
2. No staff answering office calls
3. Office Voicemail with full mailboxes – no way to leave a message
4. Listing agent’s cell phone – full mailbox – no way to leave a message
5. Out of date information on the listing
6. Marketing fee/Reduced commission to the buying agent
ISSUE: No buyer is seeing your property. That will definitely affect your selling price. If you even manage to sell it.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Ask to see a copy of a previous listing, ask how many listings their office has done in the past year. Call the office once your listing is live to see what buyers or other agents experience.
I believe Seller’s deserve to be informed. I believe sellers deserve more. I believe your home deserves more. If you would like to talk more about the listing process I’m here when you are ready.