First Person: You May Be a Better Salesperson Than Your Real Estate Agent

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A real estate agent can be an integral part of the home sale process. However, unless that agent has lived in your home before, it's unlikely that he or she is going to know more about the property than you do. So while an agent can have valuable input, sometimes you must be the judge of their advice and decide if what they are offering in the way of sales tactics will be best for your home and selling situation.

During our last home sale, we realized that there were a few areas in which it was important to trust our gut instincts and make some adjustments of our own when it came to how we marketed our home.

Pricing input

A real estate agent will likely provide a seller with home pricing input before a home hits the market. However, this doesn't mean that it's going to be the right type of input. Remember, a real estate agent will likely be working on commission and the more he or she sells a home for, the bigger the commission will be. Just because they recommend a certain price that seems higher than the comp sets or maybe higher than you're comfortable with, this doesn't mean that they are correct in doing so.

When we put our home on the market, our personal agent recommended a starting price well above what we paid for our home, and this was after the housing bubble had popped and values had already started coming down substantially. Rather than go with our gut instincts on a price that we had determined ourselves and that was $25,000 under the agent's recommended price, we went with hers. In the process, we missed out on the initial wave of buyers and agents that came through our home to see it, and most of the feedback we got was that we were priced too high. After a year and a half on the market, and multiple price reductions we finally sold. However, if we had priced more accurately initially, we might not have had such issues with our home sale.

Staging techniques

Hopefully you've lived in your home long enough to know what makes it look best. While a real estate agent can provide helpful staging techniques such as where to declutter, how to arrange furniture to open up space or make a room cozier, or ways to improve curb appeal by trimming bushes or raking leaves, there can also be the things that a homeowner knows how to do best.

Little quirks about a home you may have noticed and that a Realtor might not like a darkened hallway or corner of a room that needs some extra lighting, blinds that are dirty or don't close properly, bedding that could really pop were it replaced with new, a cracked floor tile that needs to be replaced, or carpet stains that could be scrubbed out might be things that you have noticed over time that need to be remedied and that an agent might not catch on a quick tour of your home. Remember, just because an agent doesn't catch them, it doesn't mean a prospective buyer won't.

Creating a home description

It's important to realize that a real estate agent won't likely be living in your home and they might not even live in your neighborhood or surrounding area. This means that they can leave things out -- sometimes things that are quite pertinent to the sale of your home -- when creating the descriptive write-up for your home's listing. And sometimes it's more about just the home itself when it comes to selling a property.

From area amenities like a community pool, great schools, playgrounds, and parks, to public transportation, shopping, and more, there are all sorts of things that a real estate agent might leave out upon a home description. Parks, schools and a pool -- all within just blocks of our home -- were great selling points that we had to request the agent include in our home's description.

So just because the real estate agent is the supposed "expert" this doesn't mean that the home seller won't have some valuable contributions to make to the home sale process.

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The author is not a licensed financial or real estate professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.


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