Buyers: If you are looking to buy property, please visit my buyer page. If you are looking to sell property, please read on!

All real estate agents are not equal

If you are thinking of selling your home you might be wondering if you need a real estate agent, and if so – how do you choose one?

Question 1: Do I need a real estate agent to sell my home?

The short answer to this question is no, and there are people who attempt to sell their home on their own. However, the rate of closing a sale by a homeowner by themselves is very low. Some of the reasons why:

  • Marketing – Home was not marketed effectively
  • Pricing – The seller had unrealistic price expectations and overpriced the home, maybe without even realizing it. I know, because I am one of the few agents in this market that are bringing in buyers, and many with all cash to spend. The bottom line is that in this market buyers are not going to bother with sellers that have their homes overpriced – there are too many good deals out there to be had
  • Money – Seller did not invest enough money into marketing or other selling expenses
  • Time – Seller did not invest enough time into marketing, showing, or preparing the home for sale
  • Legal Risks – Homeowner did not properly research or understand the legal issues involved with selling a home on their own

The legal risks (both California and Federal laws) are especially important to consider. You as a homeowner/seller do assume and face potential liability in the absence of a real estate agent. Licensed real estate agents on the other take on much of the legal liability that a seller would otherwise need to take themselves.

Question 2: How do I choose the right agent?

If you’ve decided that the expense, time and legal risks of selling your home on your own are not for you, then the next thing you’ll need to consider is which agent you will choose.

First and foremost, you should make sure the agent is licensed. You should also verify that the agent is a member of the National Association of Realtors, which is a professional association of real estate agents that maintain the highest degree of ethics and professional standards in the industry (which I am a member of in case you were wondering :) .  This will earn that agent the designation of REALTOR.  Fact:  Did you know that the word “Realtor” is trademarked and only NAR members may use the title?  True!

A successful track record of past sales is always helpful, but just as important is having a strategy to sell properties in a “bad” or challenging market.  Lets face it, selling property in the bubble market was about as easy as saying “123 sold!”.  But as we all know, those days are long gone.  So, make sure your potential agent has bullet proof marketing plan to work in this “new” market.

Two key factors of selling a home in a bad or even a stable market will never change:

Marketing and pricing!

As for pricing, your potential agent should have the ability to determine a price based on a multitude of variables, that will allow you to achieve the best price in the shortest possible timeframe under prevailing market conditions.  Some of these  variables include supply and demand, economic conditions, comparable sales and your own timeframe, among others.  

Now, lets look at marketing:

  • Fact 1:  Did you know that as of March 2010, over 90% of buyers now start their home search on the internet?  
  • Fact 2:  Did you know that even today in the year 2010 – there are real estate agents that still don’t have their own website? (!)
  • Fact 3:  Many agents that do have websites often do not market them other than note them on their business card.  However, websites don’t market themselves – if the agent isn’t doing it, then nobody is.  Which means nobody will ever see it – or your property!

Reality Check:  What this means is that if your potential agent does not have the technology skills or knowledge to strategize and execute a solid online/internet marketing plan, then they are missing a huge pool of potential buyers to market your property to. 

Bottom Line:  Why choose me as your Realtor?

One of the primary factors that distinguishes me as a Realtor from everyone else is my vast technology experience, and my ability to fully leverage  technology to my (and your) advantage to get your home sold! 

Prior to beginning my real estate career I worked from dot com startups to technology giant IBM as a hands-on “techie”, where I built databases, applications and enterprise systems along side some of the best and brightest minds in the world! So my experience with web technologies and internet marketing means I have the skills and the knowledge necessary to undertake an aggressive online/internet marketing strategy through multiple channels.   In English, that means:  I am going to make sure your property is exposed to as many of those 90% online buyers as possible!  Not only will your property be featured on my website (which I built, maintain and aggressively promote and market myself), but your property may qualify for it’s own professional website with its own .com address, which will be marketed all by itself through various other channels. 

One final thing to leave you with:  as a seller you never pay me a dime unless your house is sold! 

To schedule a no-obligation in-person listing presentation where i’ll assess your property and give you a customized marketing proposal specifically tailored just for your property, please contact me!

John Merritt
(310) 717-2232
E-Mail Me

About the Author

John Merritt - (310) 717-2232. John is a real estate agent/Realtor serving the Los Angeles communities of Studio City, Hollywood Hills, West Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, and all surrounding areas. If you would like to see any properties in the LA area or have any real estate questions please call me and I will be happy to assist.