Too Big to Succeed

Seeing an agent’s signs all over an area or neighborhood, one would believe that this agent is particularly successful and has done a great job taking care of their clients to have so many signs planted in an area. To the extent that the agent has done a great job of marketing, I will agree that they’ve been successful. However, I don’t think many sellers are too concerned about the success of an agent, unless it has to do with the sale of their specific home. I recently heard a story about a newly listed home for sale that makes me believe that there is such a thing as being too big to succeed for the client’s benefit.

The Market

Our current marketplace has a days on market average of about two days. While I am joking about the average being merely two days, the point is that homes that are well priced and exuding quality do NOT last long on the active market. The last few years, I have been able to take advantage of these conditions for my seller by pushing the marketing for their home on the day of listing, then controlling the initial showings to begin at the open house on Sunday for a couple hours. In about 80% of the homes I’ve listed the last few years, they have sold as a result of the open house and above list price.

At least, this is how I’ve taken the market conditions, my marketing efforts, and combined them to the benefit of my sellers.

The Story

A fellow agent was relaying their buyer success story on how they submitted an offer on a home hours after it was brought to the active market. Buyer and seller agreed to price and terms immediately, and all parties are happy. Well, except maybe the listing agent. It turns out the listing agent was bummed that the sellers took the offer so quickly upon coming on the market. The listing agent bemoaned the fact that the sellers could have gotten more, if only they had stayed on the active market just a little longer and then been able to play multiple offers off each other.

The What?

Look. There are many ways to get the job done for real estate clients. Some of those ways, the clients are even happy about. In this circumstance, the buyer’s agent was responsive, whip smart, and struck like lightning on behalf of the buyers. Clearly, the sellers are happy about the price and terms of the contract, as they accepted the offer. At this point, many folks would say that the listing agent succeeded for this seller. And to an extent, I would agree.

Except, I believe the listing agent left some of the seller’s money on the table.

Because of this agent’s personal success in the real estate business, and the “busy-ness” that this has created in simply keeping the ball of business moving forward, I think a key opportunity was overlooked. This oversight has, potentially, cost the sellers additional proceeds from the sale of their home.

Here’s what I mean about leaving seller money on the table, and not taking advantage of the current market conditions to the benefit of sellers. From a prior post on open houses:

A past client engaged my services to sell their home. They had a newborn, and two toddlers, so they were beginning to bust out of the seams of their 1050 square foot ranch. We settled on a list price, and a date to shoot the photos and video of their home. We even chose a list date for their home to become live in the MLS.

And then the Mrs. asks a question that has transformed how I list homes.

Todd, our child has a learning disability that makes it difficult to get back to a normal routine, when the daily routine is interrupted. If you think that there will be a fair amount of traffic for this home, is there some way we can cut down on the inconvenience to my family?

A light bulb went off in my mind and here is exactly what we did:

We captured all the media (photos and video) for their home, created a single property website to answer as many of the potential buyer’s questions as possible, and launched the listing active on a Wednesday. We did not allow any showings on the property until the Open House that was held the following Sunday, from 2 – 4pm. Not.One.Showing. None.

At this open house, we had 140 attendees. Before I left the open house, I had 4 offers in hand, and an additional 5 threats of offers to materialize. By Monday evening, my sellers had 17 offers to review and finally settled on an offer that sold the home for 12% more than the list price.

Moral of the Story – If you are going to allow your home to be held open, make sure that it’s a part of the marketing strategy for your home and that there is a clear plan of attack on how to maximize the impact of your open house to cause your home to be sold.

Is this the only way that an agent could have maximized the current market conditions to the seller’s benefit? Nope. But if I can come up with this simple plan, there’s no reason a “successful” agent can not also do the same, or better.

There’s a reason I am harping on a personalized, hand-crafted real estate experience. It’s because consumers deserve better. SO MUCH BETTER.

For this listing agent, this transaction was just another one on their way to [mumbles] millions of dollars of closed real estate this year, with [mumbles] number of closings.

For the seller, this was their primary residence. Likely one of 4, maybe 5, total transactions in their life.

Who needed the success more; the agent or the seller?

I think you know my answer…

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Todd Waller Real Estate
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