By Jeff Wirz of The JW Realty Team at Keller Williams
Selling anything with a six-figure price tag is not something you should take lightly, and neither should your broker or sales agent.
In the case of real estate, sellers usually have one goal in mind – it’s getting the optimal selling price in a relatively short period of time and with as little stress as possible.
From routinely talking with prospective sellers, and working with many seller clients, I have found there are basically five things every seller wants. In this article I will go through each of these five seller wants in detail. There are many more not covered here, but these I have found are constant for every seller and arguably the most important.
5 Things Every Seller Wants
1. Sellers want access to buyers
2. Sellers want a master marketer
3. Sellers want experience
4. Sellers want easy access to their agent
5. Sellers want added value benefits
1. Sellers Want Access To Buyers
When I meet with sellers they often ask what types of buyers are purchasing in their market right now. Interestingly, as I walk through each seller’s property for the first time, one of my key focal points is to determine who the typical buyer might be for that particular home. I ask myself, Is this a family home? Is it a 2-year home, a 5-year home or a 10-plus-year home? Is it for seniors or soon-to-be retirees? Is it for professionals? Is it for singles or couples or new parents? Is it for Millennials, Gen-Xer’s or Baby Boomers?
While these are all important things to know when developing a plan for marketing a home, what the seller really wants to know is specifically how I will go about finding the right buyers for their home. They basically want to know if hiring me as their agent will give them access to the right buyers so they can get a good offer from a qualified buyer within a reasonable amount of time.
Although there may be many possible sources of buyers, I like to categorize all buyers into three basic categories: Online Shoppers, Open House Visitors and Buyer’s Agents. The graphic below shows how these three categories overlap to some degree as most buyers fall into more than one of these three categories. Over time they move from left to right, with the early buyers starting online and eventually finding an agent to represent them in their purchase. Of course those actively working with a buyer’s agent (far right circle) are still shopping online and visiting open houses too.
Most sellers should be most interested in the buyers in the far right category because these buyers are usually the most serious. They’re also the most qualified because they’re almost always pre-approved by a lender and they’re what we call ‘ready, willing and able’ to make an offer when they find the right home.
My job as the listing agent is to attract people from ALL three of these categories and to get them into your home and to make solid offers.
2. Sellers Want A Master Marketer
It used to be that a real estate marketing plan involved placing ads and combining that with grassroots selling efforts. Advertising is still sometimes expected by sellers, but the truth is that is a thing of the past. Grassroots selling is mostly done through agent networking, as well as direct with buyers who we meet at open houses. But online marketing is the key to a successful marketing strategy because it hits all audiences.
The primary objective of every listing agent today is to make their client’s homes look really awesome online, as well as in-person when the property is visited, and it needs to appeal to all audiences, including prospective buyers and their real estate agents. (Remember the graphic above and our three audiences). The ultimate goal of the marketing plan for every home is to get people to visit the property.
For buyers, shopping for homes couldn’t be any easier these days. Just go online or use your favorite real estate property app, plug in a few filters and you’re golden right? You know what else is easy? Eliminating properties. Delete, delete, delete! One simple deficiency (from the buyer’s point of view) in a property listing (or perceived deficiency) can trigger a buyer to remove an otherwise perfect home from their shopping cart. Buyers say things like ‘that kitchen is too small, or the wood floors are too dark, or the price is too high for that square footage.’ I work with buyers too and these things happens all the time. Buyers need to get out and visit potential properties, and this should always be the key objective of a master marketer.
The key to being a master marketer in today’s world of selling homes is first to determine a home’s best selling features and then identifying the optimal audiences (there are often multiple audiences) there may be looking for those attributes, and then developing a marketing strategy that attracts people to visit that particular property. The words we use and the pictures we take should always compliment those most important selling features in a home.
There is no cookie cutter solution for marketing all properties. Each home needs its own strategic plan, and coming up with the right plan is often not all that easy. Taking great photos is extremely important for every property and having the right written copy is absolutely vital as well.
There are four key steps that every master marketer must follow as they develop a marketing plan.
- Preparation (painting, repairing, cleaning, and decluttering)
- Staging (arranging furniture, fixtures and decor)
- Photography (shooting still photos and video)
- Copy (the words that compliment the visuals)
It’s not so much about where the property is listed online because virtually every ‘for sale’ property can be found on all the websites and apps (assuming its listed by a real estate brokerage firm and the MLS (multiple listing service). What really matters is how it looks online, and of course in person as well. The last thing you want a prospective buyer to do is to quickly scroll past your property. You want them to click on it, view all the photos, read the description and then to reach out to their agent or visit an upcoming open house.
Regardless of the property, all of these marketing steps above must be a part of the plan if the seller (and their agent) want to achieve their objective, which is to obtain the optimal price within a reasonable amount of time.
3. Sellers Want Experience
Lesser experienced agents can often get away with representing buyers with limited transactional experience, but if you want optimal results from your listing agent you are best advised to hire an agent who has plenty of experience as a listing agent.
We already talked about marketing in the previous section, which can only be done right if the listing agent has experience, but there are many other benefits to working with an experienced listing agent as well. Sellers often pay close attention to the ‘for sale’ signs they see around town and they typically know who sells lots of houses. But having lots of signs in the ground does not necessarily mean they’re stellar listing agents. Sellers must do their homework.
Experience is important for sellers because every step in the process is going to require a great deal of knowledge, insight and resources. Here are some of the important steps in the process of selling a home that will require experience from your listing agent:
- Setting the right price
- Properly preparing a home for sale
- Marketing (as described above)
- Problem solving (and more importantly, problem prevention)
- Collecting and analyzing feedback from buyers (and their agents)
- Actively communicating and making adjustments when necessary
- Having valuable resources in the field
Bringing experience to the table gives a seller the peace of mind they need and want, and also plays a major role in finding the right buyers.
4. Sellers Want Easy Access To Their Agent
I honestly think most sellers take this for granted, but this one is so important it’s worth writing about. Seller’s should not take communications with their agent for granted. Sellers need to have regular and direct communications with their listing agent and the listing agent needs to be available to their seller clients 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
From the very first meeting the listing agent should talk with the seller about how they can be reached directly and how they will communicate with each other. When there are teams involved this is most important because the seller expects their listing agent to be involved throughout the process. One of the most important jobs of the listing agent is to report on the progress on a regular basis. The seller must have realistic expectations on the price and timeline from the start and it’s the listing agent’s job to convey this to the the seller up front, and if necessary, make adjustments along the way.
Providing feedback every step of the way is also extremely important to sellers. They want to know how every showing went and they want to get feedback in a timely manner. An experienced listing agent knows they must keep a log for all showings and record notes on the feedback they receive from prospective buyers at open houses and from showing agents following their appointments.
Many different situations come up during the process of selling a home and sometimes additional resources are needed. This includes having access to reliable contractors and home service providers, and even other listing agents to share experiences when unique situations comes up, and they do often. An experienced agent should have all of these resources available at their fingertips on a moments notice because time if always of essence in a real estate transaction.
5. Sellers Want Value Added Benefits
Today’s sellers (and buyers) want more than what the standard service provides. They want two-day shipping for the price of 5 to 7 days. They want free valet parking. They want free breakfast included with their hotel room. They expect outstanding service, added benefits and more.
Selling a house or condo is not cheap. A 5% real estate fee is a lot of money for a seller to to take out of their proceeds at the closing, and while there are some discount agents in every market, it’s important for sellers to know that just like anything else, you typically get what you pay for. Is it wise for a seller to cut corners when you’re in the process of cashing out on what is likely the largest asset in your portfolio?
When a seller meets with their listing agent (or prospective agent when doing interviews) they should discuss what will be included in their fee. There are many value-add opportunities for sellers if they have a listing agent who offers solid experience and reliable resources. It’s important that seller’s know what value added options exist and whether their listing agent will be offering the seller with added value items. Examples might include staging consultations, pre-home inspections, home warranties, cleaning services, and of course, access to many home service providers and contractors when needed.
The services offered from listing agent to listing agent are not all the same. Part of what you’re paying for (in the real estate commission) is experience and insights, and when it comes to selling your six-figure home, these are extremely important details for every seller. What value does your listing agent bring to the table?
The JW Realty Team is based in Stamford, Connecticut and operates out of the office of Keller Williams Prestige Properties. We’re a full-service residential real estate agency team offering a variety of real estate services to sellers, buyers, renters and investors. The JW Realty Team offers knowledge, experience, insight and tremendous patience. We focus on making the entire process as stress-free as possible for all our clients.
To schedule a free real estate consultation, contact Jeff Wirz by phone at 203-617-0671 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more visit TheJWRealtyTeam.com