The Truth About Selling

buying a home in bellevue washington

When selecting an agent it is important for you to know what tools an agent has that will give your house it's best chance to sell.

It is also important to know when an agent is making claims and promising services that they will be unable to deliver to you. Below is information that will help you differentiate between the two.

How does a Buyer find the House they ultimately buy?

Nearly every house for sale is discovered by a buyer who scans the NWMLS daily until they find a house that interests them. The MLS feeds all other sites that buyers use to find houses like Trulio, Zillow, etc. When a buyer finds a house they contact their agent who shows them the house. They may look at ten houses or even 100 houses or more before they make a decision to buy a home. By the time they place an offer they will have learned the market and they will know home prices better than anyone else. If your house is the best value in the buyers price range it will sell. If it is priced correctly, it will likely receive multiple offers and the list price will escalate as buyers compete to get their offer accepted. Buyers will not place an offer on an overpriced listing. The agent you choose to list your house cannot sell your house if it is over priced. By the same token, a listing agent cannot keep your house from selling if it is priced correctly. Some houses that are in very poor condition sell in a day or two and other houses in meticulous condition stay on the market for months or even years without selling. Buyers compare your house to all other houses in the same price range and area and purchase the best value at that time.

All listing agents perform the same duties. The listing agent and listing company will play no part in the buyer's decision to purchase your house. Whether the house is listed by a company that is perceived to be the most prestigious company or is listed by an unknown company, it is not relevant to the buyer. The buyer found the house by looking in the MLS or a site fed by the MLS. In nearly every case the buyer will never speak to the listing agent. Buyers, in almost all cases, only speak to their selling agent. Most agents who solicit you to list your home will tell you that they have a special marketing program to attract buyers to the listing. That is not true. Listing agents seldom are the agents that bring a buyer to the house. When your house is listed it is exposed to approximately 25,000 agents in the MLS. Those agents who have a buyer, who is searching in that area, will receive an automatic e-mail from the MLS notifying the selling agent that a new house is on the market; that is why your house will receive the most showings when it first comes on the market. The listing agent does not know the identity of these buyers. However, all listing agents can provide you a list of all selling agents who have a buyer looking for a house like yours. There are usually many many buyers searching in each area. Listing agents who claim they have a special marketing program to attract buyers are not being truthful.

Another commonly cited claim by agents is that they specialize in a particular neighborhood or area. No buyer ever purchased a house because the listing agent specialized in that area. In fact a listing agent whose office is in a different county can list and sell a house as well as a listing agent who lives across the street from the listed house. Nearly every offer a seller receives comes to the listing agent via e-mail or fax from the selling agent. The offer is then either faxed, e-mailed or hand delivered to the seller. The area that a listing agent comes from is irrelevant.

Listing agents offer the same service and they generally charge the same price, a 3% commission. I charge a fraction of that commission. I have been an agent for 29 years and have sold more houses than nearly every agent in Washington state. Did you know that the listing commission charged by other agents for a house priced at $600,000 is $18,000? The commission paid to the listing agent selling a $4,000,000 house is $120,000. Both agents perform the same service yet the commission is $18,000 on one house and $120,000 on the other house - IT IS COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY TO PAY THOSE PRICES. I charge 1/2%. In every case a seller will receive more proceeds from the sale of their house when listed with me than if they listed with another agent - IN EVERY CASE!

Why and How do I charge so little?

When I list a house my sign is put in your yard. From that sign, and from placing your home in the MLS, I will be fielding calls from other agents about the house. And more importantly, I will receive calls from buyers interested in your house. My first priority is to sell your house. If I sell your house I earn the selling office commission. However, if your house does not meet the buyer's needs, I hope to work with that buyer to find a house that meets their needs. From your house I will meet potential buyers and it is from them that I intend to earn an income. I appreciate you and reward you with a low listing commission. For your information, other agents pay Zillow about $1000 a month for advertisements to attract buyers, The Real Estate Book about $500 a month, radio stations about $100 to $150 a minute, Google between $15.00 and $20.00 a click, which can add up to thousands per month to reach potential home buyers. You allow me to meet buyers, and I pay no advertising costs to meet these buyers, and I pass these savings on to you.

Things to Be Mindful Of

Agents must be very creative in order to validate charging exorbitant commissions to sellers. “You won't get the same service” or, “you get what you pay for” are just a few examples of attempts to justify the high commissions. Both are not true. You will hear many but keep in mind that I pledge to meet or exceed the services provided by any agent in the MLS. Unlike other agents, you can cancel your contract with me anytime, and that means the next day! I get paid only when your house sells.

Listing agents often claim that if you list with them they will get a higher price for your house than another agent would if they listed the house. This suggests that because his/her name is on the sign home buyers will pay more for your house. I know you did not pay more for your house because of who the listing agent was when you bought the house; neither did your neighbors and/or friends. Chances are you never knew who the listing agent was. Keep in mind that the market always determines the price a buyer is willing to pay for your house. No agent has the power to bring more than the market will bear.

When Selecting an Agent

Do not list your house with an agent that doesn't answer their phone. Immediate access to your agent is of paramount importance when selling your house. I have personally seen hundreds of home sales lost because the listing agent did not answer their phone. Buyers usually have questions about a house before they write an offer. If your listing agent is not immediately available buyers will usually continue looking until they hear back from the listing agent. In innumerable instances the buyers find another house while waiting to hear from the listing agent. In some cases a buyer will leave the house he is interested in, drive to the next house on his list, and find THE house of his dreams Had the listing agent answered the phone, we would never had seen the other house. Surprisingly, most agents cannot be reached in a reasonable time frame. All listing agents perform the same duties and the most important duty is to be available. I am available at all times, CONTACT ME AND SEE FOR YOURSELF.

If Your House has Expired or Cancelled

If your house has been on the market and has failed to sell, there is only two courses of action to take to sell your house. A seller can make repairs and then re-market the house. Unfortunately, in nearly all cases, sellers cannot recover the money they spent to make the repairs. Most buyers can overlook needed corrections and they appreciate the opportunity to make an upgrade the way THEY want it. The only true way to sell a canceled or expired listing is to reduce your price in increments until it sells. ALL HOUSES SELL AT THE RIGHT PRICE. Because my listing commission is so low, sellers are able to reduce their price and sell their house. Sellers can often receive the same net proceeds at a lower sales price using me than they would receive using another agent at a higher sales price. Every seller who lists their house with me gives their house THE BEST POSSIBLE CHANCE TO SELL.

Who you choose to List Your House its a Business Decision

Use the information above to challenge agents who solicit you for your listing. Judge for yourself if it is necessary to pay exorbitant commission fees. I know agents are very likable and persuasive. However, when your house sells, gauge whether it was worth transferring thousands and possibly tens of thousands of dollars from your account into their account. THIS IS A BUSINESS DECISION.

A Message to Sellers

Many of you will list with another agent. The primary reason is that sellers often believe that my program must be a scam because of the wide disparity between the cost of my services and the cost charged by other agents. This is not a scam. Should you list and sell your house with another agent you will realize that after your house closes. You will understand that despite your agent's marketing skills, his charm, wit, and good looks they were unable to change the value of your house on the open market. Your house sold because a buyer saw it on the MLS and contacted his agent. They viewed the house and found it to be the best value on the market. They wrote an offer that was e-mailed to your agent. You signed the offer and went through the steps to close on your house. At closing you will see a large portion of your equity being transferred to your listing agent. It is then that you will realize that the listing agent provided no special services to you. The buyers did not buy your house because of him. They would have placed the same offer if you had listed with a more affordable agent (me). It is then that the truth will become incontrovertible.