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What Bob Vila Is Telling Your Future Clients

Sep 13, 2016

Known and trusted by millions of homeowners who have followed his advice for more than 30 years, This Old House host Bob Vila is now offering words of wisdom on how to choose a real estate agent.  If you want to land their business, you need to know what he’s telling them.

MSN Money just published a feature entitled “10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Realtor.”  The author, Bob Vila, has lots of clout with readers, as his syndicated television programs, This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again, and Restore America with Bob Vila have been watched by tens of millions of American homeowners.

It’s likely that the folks you’ll be sitting across the table from at your next listing appointment will have read his advice.  It’s not rocket science, but if you take a few moments to brief yourself, you’ll have the answers that your potential clients will be looking for.

“The best listing agents serve as coaches and copilots, helping home sellers navigate a market that can be lucrative and treacherous in equal amounts,” he notes.  “It’s wise to invest some time in choosing the best person for the job.”

And here are the ten questions he wants them to ask you:

1. How many homes have you sold in this neighborhood?  His emphasis is on “this neighborhood.”  “Every part of town—and sometimes every street or even every block—has its own market conditions,” he explains.   So if you’re not on top of the market in the seller’s specific neighborhood, you’re going to lose points on this one.

2. How has the market changed in the past five years?  Bob suggests that how many years the agent has been in business is not as relevant as how keenly aware she is of recent market trends.  Do some show prep on this one.

3. What’s your most effective marketing tool.  An agent needs to “create buzz” about a new listing. 

You need to be a master of the obvious sites and outlets, but also understand which tactics work best in your town—whether it’s a local publication that hits the perfect demographic or a photographer who knows how to make it shine in online listings.

4. How did your last three sales go?  Bob advises potential clients to listen to how an agent describes his or her recent sales—including the way she talks about dealing with clients and customers.  He also suggests that if the agent’s most recent sale happened two years ago, the sellers should steer clear!

5. Who is the target market?  You should be able to “paint a picture” of the home’s next owners and be able to explain how you’ll reach them.

6. How would you price my home?  You’re probably on top of this one, coming armed with current comps from the local market.  Bob also advises, “Beware an agent who gives you a number that’s much higher than the norm—he may be trying to land your business by giving you false hope of riches that won’t materialize.”

7. How would you advise me to get my home ready?  Bob advises that a good agent will be able to to point out repairs that are needed and recommend cost-effective upgrades that could lead to a higher price or a quicker sale.  He also suggests that you should be able to refer reliable handymen or staging companies.  Cultivate those contacts in the community.  They can be a valuable resource and add to your own credentials.

8. What does your contract entail?  Sellers need to know the details:  the length of the listing period, any fees or costs entailed in the selling process.  Walk them through the details and suggest that they consult with their attorney if they have legal questions.  Careful with this one!

9. Quiz the listing agent on the ins and outs of the contract you’d be asked to sign. He should tell you precisely how long would it last (three to six months is typical in hot markets), what the listing fee will be, and what other clauses can you expect to see.

10. How often can I expect to hear from you?  Tell your clients what kinds of programs you have in place to stay in contact with sellers, what kind of backup you have in case you are tied up with other clients or out of town, how you will inform them of scheduled showings and what kind of feedback you will provide.  “Look for an agent who’s going to lavish you with attention—you deserve it!” he says.

Read the full article here