Updated: Mar 23, 2020
If you ask your potential agent this question, you'll likely get a stock answer. Something along the lines of, "Experience," "Negotiation Skills," "Dedicated agent working for you." Or, the more confident agent may tell you that they can get top dollar and sell fast. Other answers might include expertise, marketing, and informed opinions.
The truth is that most agents do very little business, of the nearly 3400 agents in Fresno County, the average agent sells between 2 & 3 homes. From 10/11/18 & 10/11/19, 24,243 homes were bought & sold. Of those 24,243 homes bought & sold .08% of agent, just 300, were responsible for 55% of all sales. Not all agents can be experienced.
Likewise, not all agent are great at negotiations. I have seen some particularly interesting negotiating strategies. Most often, negotiation strategies consist of telling buyer's agents that all of a sudden the seller has multiple offers, where just earlier in the day there were no offers, and the home had been on the market for 45days. Only to have the listing agent reach out a few days later, asking if your buyer is still interested. Not all agents are skilled at negotiations.
A dedicated agent is a great thing, however, most agents are part-time, looking to make a few extra dollars on the side. You can't survive on 2 or 3 sales a year. I joke with other agent & clients, that you know you're calling a real estate agent when you get voicemail rather than a live voice. Don't believe me, randomly call two or three agents & see what happens. A dedicated agent is a wonderful thing, but the vast majority of agents share their time with another full-time job. It is vitally important that your agent be a full-time agent.
So, again, you might ask an agent, "Why am I paying that much money?!?!"
There is good reason, but not every agent can provide the service that justifies the money they are asking you to pay. The easiest way you can determine if they are, is how they answer that question. If the answer you get seems like one of the stock answers above, you may want to think twice about hiring that agent. Any agent worth the commission they are asking for, should be able to answer that question with more than stock answers.
The truth is that an agent that has never sold a home can come to a very similar home valuation as an agent that has sold hundreds of homes. The experienced agent may be able to fine tune that price a bit more. Likewise a new agent will basically cast as wide a net as the experienced agent. There there are nearly countless website that pick up and broadcast listings added to the MLS site. These sites do so for new agents as they do for experienced agents. The most important thing a seller can do to get their home sold is to get it on the MLS.
Now, it's true that an experienced agent usually has a substantive list of agents they can call on, agents they've worked with in the past. That's nothing to sneeze at. But most homes are sold, not because of personal relationships that agents have with other agents, but because agents see a home on the MLS that matches a client's criteria.
So what is the answer to that question?
Here's it is...The most important thing I do for my client is to take on the liability of selling their home. If you've ever bought or sold a home, you know it's long process. You know there are countless disclosures and documents to sign. You know there are inspections & timelines that have to be met. Some of you, unfortunately know there are a 1000 things that can go wrong during an escrow.
It is responding to those 1000s of things that might pop up, it's acting diligently so that many of those 1000s of things never do go wrong, that a good agent separates themselves from the less diligent agents. This is the most important thing that I do for my clients. This is where I earn my commission. I tell my clients that I go into every escrow expecting to do not only my job, but the other agent's job as well.
Having that attitude going in, has kept escrows moving forward when some of those 1000s of issues popped up. Having that attitude has kept 1000s of potential issues from ever popping up.
Yes, I will get you top dollar for your home. I will negotiate the best deal for you. I will sell your home quickly. I have experience that few agents in Fresno can match, and I'm a full-time, dedicated agent, that will answer my phone when you call, if I can't answer at that moment, you'll hear from me shortly.
Most importantly, I will take on much of the liability of selling a home, I will treat the sale of your home with the care and attention such a transaction deserves. I recognize the sales contact, just as such, a contract that has terms & timelines that need to be met & enforced. In doing so, I very much make the process of selling your home as smooth as possible. I take on the stress, and liability so that you can breath easily.
This is what an excellent agent provides. If your agent doesn't tell you this, perhaps we should talk...