Yes and no.
I was crushed when one of my very nice past clients said this to me recently. She had asked about the going commission rates and was checking around with other agents and companies before she and her spouse listed a property of theirs for sale. I know to never assume anything, but hearing this come from a past client of mine who had dealt with me a couple times and referred people to me to buy and sell, was still a shock to me. I guess I shouldn’t assume because someone has dealt with me, that they will automatically deal with me over and over. I really try to give my loyalty to businesses that treat me well and to also send them other business because I am grateful for great service and I hope that people will do the same for me.
Yes I think it is wise to check around and get 2 to 3 quotes for any ‘big’ job such as renovating, selling or buying a property, landscaping, etc, so that you feel good about your decision. But I firmly believe you tend to get what you pay for.
And yet this conversation made me think about the subject – don’t we do the same thing?
Yes – when you list a property for sale, the object is to get the property sold so agents really do the same thing. BUT how we do it is another thing.
Does your agent SHOW you, in writing, listings and sales in your area so that you feel comfortable knowing what is going on in your particular neighbourhood and how your property will compare with others? Does your agent take the time to give you advice on how to best get your home ready for sale or accept it in ‘as is’ condition and not say anything? You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to when it comes to repairs or staging or cleaning, but most sellers tend to want to get as much on the price as they can, and doing some of these things will tend to help you get that better price.
Does your agent have a list of tried and true contacts to share with you, whether it is a painter, a real estate lawyer, mortgage broker or a landscaper? Over 25 years I have collected and maintained such a list that comes in handy for me and my clients. These are people and businesses that have helped either me or my clients with a job and because they did a great job, they now come highly recommended and the list is continually updated because things change.
Does your agent tell you what he/she is going to do to sell your property BEFOREHAND and actually do what they promised? It’s easy to make promises, but it’s another story when it comes to carrying them out. Where will your property be advertised? How many pictures will there be online for buyers to look at? Where do most of sales come from and is that where your property will be advertised?
Does your agent take the listing for your property, then not contact you for days, weeks and even months? Or are you kept in the loop by phone calls, texts and/or emails keeping you informed (telling you what the showing feedback is, how many inquiries have come in about your property and from where, suggestions on what to do with the property to make it appeal to buyers, what not to do when your property is listed such as staying in the property during a showing, sharing details about why you are selling, where you are moving, etc – anything that could hurt your chances for a sale).
Does your agent share their past records of their sales to show you what they have done? Or do they just tell you they are successful?
Is your agent willing to share references with you so that you can call them to ask about their experience with this agent?
Does your agent stay up to date with training and education or get their license and only do the bare minimum to stay licensed?
Does your agent discuss things like alarm systems, home insurance, rentals in the property (furnace, water heater, water softener, etc) and how to best handle these things or are you left alone to figure this out?
Does your agent show you statistics on how she/he compares to the average agent? or do you even care?
Does your agent explain the commission (rate, how it is divided, how you compare to other listings, etc)?
Does your agent take the time to listen to you, ask questions as to what you have enjoyed about this property, know where to find buyers for your property?
Does your agent get as much info ahead of time so that you aren’t rushed later (surveyors certificate/real property report, tax bill, utility bills, pictures of the property, real estate lawyer, mortgage info, etc)?
Does your agent show you stats on what works to sell a property and what is fluff?
Is your agent honest in pricing your house or an order taker who just agrees with you to take the listing?
Is your agent up to date on the latest CMHC changes, interest rates, home buyer plans?
Let me tell you about my ‘getting what you pay for’ story that happened years ago.
I questioned why I was paying so much for a haircut or color at my regular hairdresser’s shop. I liked her. She seemed to know what she was doing. She always had suggestions on what was in style, what cut would look good on me, hints on how to style it myself, etc.
But I wanted to be the wise shopper and decided to get a haircut at one of those less expensive places. So I walked into the place of business. The business is nowhere to be found today, so that is hint number 1. I asked for a haircut and was politely greeted and told to sit in the chair and the lady started cutting my hair. I was surprised that she didn’t have me sit at the sink to get my hair washed first. I questioned her about this and she said “for another $2 or $3 she could wash it.”
“Yes please” I said. So she washed my hair. Then she told me to go sit in her chair again. I asked her if she was going to use any conditioner. She said that if I wanted some, that would be a few dollars more. “Yes please” I said.
Now we were at the cutting hair part. She cut my hair, then said “we’re done.” I was sitting there with a haircut but still with wet hair. “Aren’t you going to blow dry my hair?” I questioned.
“Sure” she said “for more cost.”
“Yes please” was becoming my saying at this point.
Then she said “you’re done” after she blow dried my hair.
“Aren’t you going to style it?” I questioned.
“If you want it styled, that will be more cost”, she said.
Here we go with “yes please” again.
So after all that, I learnt that yes you can usually get things gone cheaper, but do your homework and find out exactly what is included and what isn’t included. Sometimes that big savings turns out to not be a savings after all.