When I go meet home sellers and sit at their kitchen tables I feel obligated to give them honest and straightforward answers to real estate questions. I have been selling homes in northeast Atlanta for over 30 years and hopefully I have garnered a good reputation for being a trustworthy professional.
Real estate agents have earned their reputation for being less trustworthy than used car salesmen. During my many years in real estate, I have faced stiff competition from real estate agents who are willing to say practically anything and behave outrageously just to get listings. Here are a few of the lies I run up against while giving listing presentations.
We have buyers ready to buy your house
When I get a text or email from a seller who chose their listing agent because they were told “we have buyers ready to buy your house” I get steamed. This is the worst kind of pandering and is, in my opinion, an out and out lie. My Inman news Associate puts it this way
There is almost no chance that any of those agents will actually have a buyer who will buy his property, which is probably a good thing because working with a dual agent may not be in his best interest.
This homeowner did not understand broker reciprocity or agency — most of them don’t. He believed that listing agents single-handedly find buyers and sell real estate. That isn’t exactly how it happens. He may have gotten that impression from agent marketing.
If these agents had a buyer, then how come the identical unit that is currently on the market has been for sale for 25 days and counting.
Sadly, many home sellers actually believe a listings agent is going to put their listing in MLS and then bring a buyer out the next day who is going to buy their home. 60 days later they realize they hired an agent who tells a good story but has “no buyers” and no marketing skills.
FMLS has 40,000 plus member agents. Who is more likely to bring a buyer for your home? Is a single listing agent going to bring a buyer for your home or will the group of 40,000 agents be more likely to find a buyer searching for a home like yours.
Statistics for fmls show very few homes are actually sold by listing agents – where the listing agent has the buyer as their client. This is called dual agency and it is not very advantageous for a buyer.
Who is going to bring a buyer ready willing and able to buy your home – likely a third party Buyer’s Agent. My most recent listing had three offers from three different Buyer’s agents in the first week on the market. I have not shown the house. But I am responsible for marketing the home to the agents who brought the three buyers. My work has been successful
Sunday Open Houses will sell your home.
Another obstacle I run into while making listing presentations is questions about a Sunday Open House for their home. Let me state clearly that I will do a Sunday open house if you think it is absolutely necessary to sell your home. But, I am going to be honest and tell you Sunday Open Houses are attended primarily by neighbors, tire kickers and folks you would probably rather not have in your home for security reasons.
Again, an Associate on Inman News has put the matter in focus
When you go searching for a real estate agent, you are likely to hear a number of sales pitches speaking of the necessity and desirability of an open house. Many agents will speak of their enthusiasm for open houses and how they will do well for you with all the traffic they draw. What you may not realize, though, is that a real estate open house typically has far more benefits for your agent than for you. The question of course that is on the minds of many homeowners is does an open house sell homes?
What may be a real shocker is the fact that less than two percent of all homes sold nationally are a direct result of a buyer visiting an open house unaccompanied by an agent. Real buyers are with real estate agents who schedule appointments. The people who come through your home on any given Sunday open house are not likely going to be the ones opening up their checkbook and handing over an escrow deposit!
Problems with Open Houses
Wrong Kind of Traffic – One of the biggest issues with open houses is that real buyers rarely attend them. You may get a number of different people walking through and viewing your home, but legitimate buyers are usually rare. Your neighbors might come by to satisfy their curiosity and you may get people taking a walk-through to get ideas for their own renovations. You may even get a few people who dream of one day owning a home just like yours – only they do not currently have money to purchase something as expensive as yours.
The Unqualified Buyer – The likelihood you will get some buyers who are actually thinking about purchasing a home are pretty good. The problem however, is the vast majority of these people will not be qualified to pay your asking price. What is ironic is that most real estate agents will drive home the point about how important it is to qualify a buyer looking to purchase your home. This gets thrown out the window like the baby with the bath water when it comes to an open house.
Busy Work – Your REALTOR® wants to appear valuable to you and an open house is a great way to accomplish this. It is one of the few tasks a REALTOR® can engage in that is easily viewed by clients. You see all the work the REALTOR® puts into the open house and it makes you feel like you are getting your money’s worth. In reality though, most of the work that goes into selling a home happens behind the scenes. Connecting with other REALTORS®, listing a property across a number of different marketing channels, and using social media all happen out of sight. Hence, clients don’t always see everything they do.
Mainly for Your REALTOR® – All sorts of people will wander into your home, even if few of them are truly interested or capable of buying. This is not advantageous for you, but your REALTOR® knows how to utilize this traffic. It allows an agent to make connections or network – one of the most important components of growing a real estate business. The agent will meet your neighbors who may need to sell a home in the future. He or she will also meet those that don’t qualify for a home as expensive as yours but who may be in the market for another home the agent happens to be selling. That home of course would be in their budget and not at the price point your home falls into. Your agent will also add another successful showing to his or her belt, and therefore be able to tell you, “I have shown your home X amount of times and drawn X amount of traffic.” Very few real estate agents are going to tell you that the real reason they are holding an open house is to get additional clients.
Security Issues – What many real estate agents fail to do is inform their clients about the drawbacks of an open house. Rarely are both the pro’s and con’s of an open house discussed. It is usually just the potential benefits. Unfortunately an open house is the perfect invitation to invite unqualified strangers into your home. When you do this you are potentially opening yourself up to a whole set of issues you probably have not given much thought to. Numerous sellers have reported theft both during the open house as well as on a later date when thieves who have visited come back and take what they like. It’s no surprise this happens as an open house invites anyone and everyone into the home. If the open house is busy, it is impossible for a real estate agent to watch everyone.
There are a couple of agents in my home turf that promote their open houses and make a big deal out of how many houses they sell because of Sunday open houses. The statistics just don’t back them up. Ask the agent for a list of homes they have sold in the past year that were dual agency sales – either them individually or their “team”. You will be surprised by the small number of homes, if any, on the list.
If you still want to have an open house, by all means have one. But do not be fooled by claims from various real estate agents that having an open house is a “must” or that this or that agent is great because of them. Some agents are better at selling homes than others, but no one that is good will pretend that an open house should be a main priority. Very few top producing real estate agents hang out in someone’s home waiting for a buyer to show up.
The bottom line despite what some agents may tell you is this – a buyer who really wants to see your home will always schedule an appointment to see it. If you were in the market to purchase a home and saw something you really wanted to look at, would you be saying to yourself “If they don’t have an open house I’m not interested,”? Of course not! Sounds pretty absurd when you think about it.