February 1, 2021
Campbell Realty Advisors, Inc
Let’s be honest. Most Agents prefer to focus on listings (representing Sellers) versus representing Buyers. Why? Less heavy lifting, no extensive search work, planning or executing tours, preparing offer(s), following critical dates of inspection period, LSU deadline, financing PTD dynamics and so forth to protect the Buyer(s) interest (and EMD).
Then why are Sellers often not 100% satisfied that the commission paid was worth it? (And, I’ve heard it plenty of times at backyard BBQs). Simple answer is we have not fully demonstrated our value to them. Either failing to communicate our activities regularly or passively waiting for Buyers to make offers on our listing. Worse yet, the dreaded conversation of lowering the asking price because there’s not enough interest.1 Here’s an abbreviated sampling of licensee best practices in serving Seller’s interest that could help correct this seller perspective of our professional services.
- Interview/Appointment: In addition to the CMA, do you take a Prelim and copy of the Monsoon generated Tax/Ownership record AND a SPDS form with you to a Listing Interview? You’d be surprised how often a Seller is unaware of certain Liens such as child/spousal support, IRS, HOA violations, and contractor These will be factors in pricing and net proceeds expectations when negotiating with Buyers. Do you ask; “Why are you selling?”, so you can understand their motivation and advise them with the best recommendations/options when the negotiations get “spirited.” Do you ask about previous home selling/buying experiences? Show them the SPDS, and when hired, ask them to complete within a couple of days, so it’s ready when you have an accepted contract or load into documents tab, if appropriate when the listing goes live in the MLS platform.
- Pricing/Staging/Photos: One of my favorites is if the Seller is demanding an asking price well outside of the comps and market dynamics, quit taking the listing. And, don’t exaggerate about what you can sell the property for just to get the This does not serve a Seller’s interests, nor your professional reputation when you cannot get an accepted contract within the Seller’s expected timeline, and it only delays your compensation opportunities as well. Ask the Seller(s): Do you want me to Sell your home or just list it? That usually gets them thinking differently. Lowering price, generally means you did not hit the mark in initial pricing. As for staging. Let it be known (and firm) that staging matters. I know great agents that will not take a listing if the Seller does not comply with exactly what the agents expects in the staging/removal of clutter. If Seller is unwilling, don’t take the listing or fire the client if they fail to comply after reasonable attempts. Ever seen a listing with the Agent’s reflection in the bathroom mirror? Never mind the poor quality of the other photos. Happens all the time. Talk about tarnishing the reputation of our profession. Professional photography is very reasonably priced, and if you are unwilling to pay for it, because you discounted your listing fee; sorry, you didn’t sell your value. Or you failed to negotiate into your employment agreement that Seller pays for the photography, given the discounted listing compensation.
- Pain/Negotiations: Sellers should not be metaphorically smoking a cigar and popping the Champagne cork after contract acceptance. They should be briefed shortly after hiring you that there are numerous buyer contingencies embodied in the contract, giving the Buyer opportunities to cancel. The areas of negotiations and potential speed bumps should be pointed out to the Seller long before an accepted This is part of your value as a licensed trained professional and you should review the contract template with them upon hire line by line.
- LSU from Buyer: During the 2008-2011 financial crises, the buyer pool was shallow; if a Buyer could fog a mirror, we didn’t care about the LSU We’d figure out how keep the deal alive. In a balanced or Seller advantaged market, the LSU is critical to protecting the Seller’s interest. Let them know you are on top of the deadline (they expect you to be) and send a cure notice immediately if the deadline is missed by the Buyer side.
- Rejected Offers: I can’t tell you how many times in 2019 and 2020 when representing Buyers, my firm’s agents and on my own Buyer rep transactions, when requesting Line #473 Rejected Offer with Seller initials and dated, we get every response from, and it’s not a requirement, to your offer expired and we’re not countering, so you’re not getting Really? The number 1 or 2 complaint at ADRE in 2020 is from Buyers who don’t believe their offer was presented (as required by Arizona Statute). Ask any Attorney if they’d require their client to initial and date any rejected or expired offer. The response would be “absolutely” for the protection of the Seller & Broker. There is a reason AAR included this in the template. If a Buyer files a claim, it would be prudent for your Seller’s protection, as well as your Broker and your protection, to have line #473 initialed and dated available in your Seller’s file. Anything less is malpractice, exposes Seller and Broker to unnecessary liability, and smacks of laziness, IMHO.
*These recommendations are solely that of the author and not the position of ASREB and Hogan.1 2020 being an anomaly with short supply and multiple offers above asking price.