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It’s important to hire a good real estate agent who will work hard to help you sell your home. However, all real estate agents do not work the same way or give the same level of marketing or effort to selling your home. Unfortunately, some agents do the minimum, posting information and then hoping that people will see it and decide to buy your home. Don’t select a ‘post and pray’ real estate agent. Instead, read this blog and choose one who will work hard to get you the best deal possible.

Post and Pray Method

The multiple listing service (MLS) is a tool for real estate agents. As a matter of course your agent will put your home’s information into the MLS so that other agents have access to your home’s features and the asking price. Some online searches also use the MLS database to provide results. MLS allows real estate agents and some potential buyers to see your home information.

The ‘Post and Pray’ agents will put your home into MLS, put up a sign, and then hope that you get a great sale. This can work and so some agents just stick to this process, either because they don’t have experience with other marketing techniques or because they don’t want to go to the effort to use them. Real estate agents have many other options to advertise your home than just the MLS though. If your agent assures you that a good price and MLS is all you need, reconsider your agent. While this strategy might get you a good deal, it probably won’t get you the best deal possible.

If your home is in a very strong market, MLS alone might work out well for you. However, many people don’t live in that perfect seller’s market. If buyers have other options in your market, you want your real estate agent to do everything possible to give your home an edge over the other homes for sale. The best real estate agents, and the ones you want to hire, don’t rely on lazy techniques but stay on the cutting edge of real estate marketing strategies and employ them to advertise your home.

Good Real Estate Agent Marketing

A post and pray real estate agent can be successful. Their signs or the online listing may be seen by an interested buyer. An agent may see the listing and bring a potential buyer to view the home. But with such limited outreach, it’s possible none of this may happen, or at least not in a reasonable amount of time.

A great real estate agent has a strong understanding of real estate marketing. He or she is motivated to sell your home quickly and for a good profit. It’s in your agent’s best interest to lay the groundwork for a great offer since it’s how he makes his living. Your agent should be actively using a variety of marketing techniques, online and offline, trying to rise to the top of the field of agents. He or she won’t rely on the same techniques that every other agent uses but will know new advertising techniques and what works best for your type of home and neighborhood.

Marketing combines art and science. Your home must be presented and positioned well, your property should be shared in a large network, and your agent should use all the power of the internet and online marketing opportunities to bring prospective buyers to your home. Doing these things well takes time, effort, and experience. It’s great to be lucky, but your agent should set the groundwork so that you can take advantage of any lucky breaks when they come.

Bad Realtor Characteristics

Photography

Bad photography is a common flaw in weak or post and pray realtors. Photography can make or break a home sale. Great, professional photos that share the best angles, features, and views of the rooms in your home catch the interest of agents and potential buyers. Remember ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ especially when exciting someone about a home.

If your home doesn’t look appealing in photos, no matter how great the description is, many buyers will skip right over it in favor of another house with better photos. Make sure that the real estate agent you choose prioritizes photography and then follow up and look at the pictures and video that he or she takes of your home. Don’t just assume this is a tool that your agent uses well without evidence! You don’t want your home to be the next home on the Bad MLS Photos blog. Unfortunately, since this type of shoddy real estate marketing happens every day, you need to be aware and on the lookout for it.

Home Descriptions

Bad real estate agents don’t spend the time and effort creating a strong, enticing, complete description for MLS as well as for the marketing materials for your home. Most MLS systems allow for a comprehensive description to be posted. Home descriptions, along with great photos, are incredibly important as they allow other agents and potential buyers to understand the features and benefits of your home. Your home description should be detailed and catch a buyer’s attention, inspiring him or her to visit your home.

Post and pray agents don’t write strong and exciting descriptions of your home. They write something quickly and send it out. They also don’t take time to create special, effective marketing materials for your home. Don’t accept this level of effort. Make sure your agent writes complete, enticing descriptions that translate into strong marketing materials.

Marketing Materials

Want to identify a great real estate agent marketer? Look at his or her materials. Are they glossy brochures with beautiful professional photos of all the rooms in the home as well as great exterior images that give a clear overall understanding of the property and home? In comparison, a bad real estate agent likely has only a copy of the MLS listing available in your home during showings and open houses. He or she is unlikely to spend money to create high quality marketing materials since he’s relying on the MLS listing and the sign to make his sale. When you want the best offer possible on your home, marketing materials can determine who and how many people see your home. You want your real estate agent to actively use slide shows and video tours to market your home. You don’t want a post and pray agent who will immediately write off these extra steps.

Communication

One of the biggest complaints from home sellers in multiple studies is poor communication with their real estate agent. You want to know what buyers attending a showing at your home thought about it afterwards. A good real estate agent will have a system to get such feedback for you. A good agent will keep you in the loop with all aspects of the home sale process. This should be something done by all agents as a matter of course. Regularly talking and providing feedback as you go through the steps keeps you and your agent on the same page, allows you to assess any issues, and make any changes or corrections before they could have a negative impact. Unfortunately, such a level of communication is not guaranteed with every real estate agent. Make sure your agent prioritizes keeping you informed!

Leveraging the Internet

Internet marketing isn’t just filling out a description for MLS and posting it. It isn’t limited to just putting up an ad for your home. Instead, your agent should make sure your home gets wide exposure and is actively seen by people. Search engines can be useful in finding homes but your agent should go beyond. His or her website’s search ranking on popular search engines such as Google and Bing will affect whether your home listing on his site is more easily found. Just having a visually attractive website does not mean that your agent’s site is a high-ranking Creating a high-ranking site takes time and effort. The agent should put in time to make sure that the site has quality content and information as well as listings. It’s not something that can be done quickly or superficially.

Blog

Some marketing savvy real estate agents understand the importance and advantage of creating a real estate blog. Blogging allows an agent to build his or her thought leadership in key real estate topics and demonstrate expertise in the local market. This is a great way to share tips and advice for both buyers and sellers. A post and pray real estate agent won’t have a blog but will expect the internet to provide results without much work on his part. Make sure that your agent has a quality website and provides useful content, whether through a blog or other channels.

Social Media

Social media is a normal element of life today. Therefore, you want a real estate agent who is plugged in and integrates social media into his or her marketing strategies and daily life as an agent. Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus, and Twitter are incredibly popular with hundreds of thousands of daily users. Your real estate agent should recognize the potential of these sites and use them to advertise your home.

A post and pray agent wouldn’t go to the effort of keeping up with social media. The lack of marketing often hinders the sale of homes being sold by their owners. Owners often think that selling a home is easy and only needs very basic marketing efforts, similar to post and pray agents. In the end, over 80% of for sale by owner homes end up listing with an agent. Great marketing really makes a difference!

Interview Multiple Realtors

Your real estate agent is going to work closely with you as you go through a major life change and he or she should be someone you respect and trust. Don’t just select the first agent you come across. Instead, interview your agent. Make sure that he or she does a great job selling but isn’t selling to you. You should ask and get answers to hard questions up front. Make sure that your agent is effective, getting successful results and utilizing all the available avenues to sell your home. Is he or she really #1 at selling homes?

When interviewing an agent, ask about the topics covered in this blog. Make sure you are satisfied with your agent’s answers and the materials he or she shows you. An unqualified agent will expose him or herself through his or her responses.

Make sure to ask about the number of successful sales the agent has had. You want one with a good record of recent sales, not just in the past. You also want to know if the sale prices come in close or above the listing prices. You don’t want an agent who will list your home too high initially to satisfy you and then have to drop the price substantially before it will sell.

You want an agent who will tell you the facts, whether or not they are easy to hear. You want his or her honest, informed opinion about your home’s worth and likely selling price. But you also want one who will close your home on an offer close to the listing price. Make sure to ask for the original list price to sale price statistics for your agent.

Don’t pick an agent who will agree with you and tell you what you want to hear, especially that your home is worth more than seems reasonable, just to get you to sign a contract.

Another important statistic is the number of days an agent’s listings are on the market. You want to make a quick sale and so you want to work with someone who sells their homes in a timely manner.

Finally, look and make sure your agent has a respectable website. All agents should understand the importance of a website in this digital age and a good agent should be using a suite of digital marketing tools to sell your home. Remember that your agent will be your partner and what he or she does is a reflection on you and your home. Don’t you want to be associated with a well- respected brand and local agent?

Don’t choose quickly! Make sure you take the time to select a great real estate agent who will make a significant difference in the amount of time it takes to sell your home and the amount of money it sells for. A major home seller mistake is to select the wrong agent. Don’t make that mistake! Tips for Selecting a Great Agent: Look at the agent’s photography for current listings Read the agent’s home descriptions to see how he differentiates his homes from the rest See if the agent uses slide shows or video tours in his marketing Understand the agent’s communication style and plan for the home selling process Look at the agent’s website and Google him. Does he provide information and is he easy to find in local searches? Find out if the agent has a blog to share additional resources and exposure for your

Call Adrienne or Frank at the Szabo & Manley Group today at 202-417-2058 with questions about selling your home in Washington, DC.