Home sellers have been trained by the real estate industrial complex to think that the big splashy ads in newspapers and magazines will sell their home.  Realtors prey on the seller’s ego by promising to have their house prominently displayed all over town, and with a price that will make them proud.  Sometimes they’ll get a chuckle with their signature sign-off, “we can always lower it later”.

In 2011, those tactics are low-grade.

Yes, there is a very remote chance that some old guy sitting around the barbershop will pick up a freebee real estate magazine and become enamored with the glossy photos, and plunk down a small portion of his massive bankroll to put you out of your misery.  Very remote.

It’s much more likely that the eventual buyer will come from a thorough internet presentation that reflects reality.  Most realtors say they do video tours, but in virtually every case they are moving a camera over a still photo.  That is not a video tour.

If you are selling your house, review the internet presentations of the realtors you are considering.

1. Do they use large, clear photos that look professional?  Or did they use a camera they got out of a cereal box?

2. Do they use a wide-angle lens that captures most of the room?

3.  Are they “over-photoshopped? Improving the quality with the computer is permissible, but if they are adding enough extra mustard that it looks like a fairy-tale, it’ll makes buyers wonder, “what are they hiding?”

4.  Do they include a youtube video tour that shows a physical walk-through of the house?

The listing agents that produce a tailored, professional internet presentation of your house are the ones doing sellers a favor.  They will use these photos and videos on all of their marketing, and maximize the exposure of your home.

Both buyers and sellers should use two other simple ways to evaluate agents:

1. Check their license number – it’s on every business card now.  Agent license numbers are issued sequentially, so the lower the number, the longer they have been in business:

My license # 00873197 from 1984

Klinge Realty # 01388871 from 2003

Wifey’s license # 01889890 from 2010

The license number is just a checkpoint on experience, and not a perfect measure.  There are plenty of old guys with numbers around mine that should have retired a long time ago, and others like wifey who just got licensed but have been in the business for 12 years – she has more qualified experience than most realtors.

2.  The BEST way to evaulate a realtor is by how many homes they have sold this year.

It’ll make virtually every agent squirm, but you want to know how successful they are at navigating these waters.  The market is TOUGH, and you need quality help to succeed.  A decent, full-time realtor should be selling at least one house per month.  If they aren’t, you should ask more questions to find out why.  There are still 2,000+ sales happening month in SD County, rates are at all-time lows, and lots of people want to buy a house.  If their answer is ‘bad economy’, then you may want to keep looking.

It is nothing personal, I’m not trying to throw lousy agents under the bus – they will do it themselves.  The public deserves to know how to evaluate a realtor, in an environment where virtually nobody talks about it.

Here is my video on Interviewing Listing Agents: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-9qpueJik8


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