There are many common problems sellers face when working with real estate agents in Baton Rouge. Learn more about what to watch out for in our latest post!
Before we start, I want to make a disclaimer here and say that I am friends with and do business with quite a few great real estate agents. Heck, I even am licensed myself. I also want you to make sure you know that 92-95% of the time, selling through an agent is the right move. It often gets you the maximum sale price, and in some situations is almost as fast as selling direct. However, my business is geared towards that 5-8% who needs a different, non traditional solution. If your house is in great shape and you have a little bit of time to sell, use an agent. I can even give you the contact info for some great ones. If your house needs work, you need to sell fast, or you want an easier sale without pages and pages of disclosures and conditions, you may want to consider some other options. We typically give you 2-3 other options. In this article, we will talk about a few of the common issues sellers have when working with an agent.
The Money Up Front
There are two main items to tackle when listing your house if you want to be competitive (for a quick, full price sale). The property needs to photograph well, and show well. For most houses, that means making repairs, cleaning, de-personalizing, and maintaining the yard. Additionally, you may have to stage the house or move many of your things into storage to de-clutter the house. The last house I had staged cost me $2,500 for two months. Plus we spent $14,000 on repairs, $1,000 on lawn care/landscaping, and $200 for debris removal. That money all comes out of your pocket. If you are selling traditionally, you may have similar costs.
Marketing and Other Expenses
Some real estate agents are full service (everything they do to market your property comes out of their commission), but not all are. Some agents charge you for marketing. Some agents only list it on the MLS for you for a flat fee. I recommend using a full service agent, but a lot of people use other options to try to save money. This can cost them in the long run when it takes longer to sell, they get lower offers, or you have to disrupt your days to show the house and answer questions. Make sure you know what your agent will do for you, and how much they charge.
Inflated Listing Prices
As I said earlier, there are a lot of good agents and the good agents never do this, but the bad ones do. Bad agents often will tell you that you should list your house for more than it is worth to get you to sign a contract with them. This also lets them keep a sign in your yard longer, so they get more advertising exposure. Inflated list prices will make your property take longer to sell, and will get fewer showings. You will eventually have to lower your price to market value, and stale listings don’t get as much attention as fresh ones. Pricing the property correctly from the start is essential for you to get a quick sale and avoid paying months of utilities, mortgage, and lawncare.
A Non-Responsive Agent
We keep coming back to this… There are good agents and bad agents. There is nothing worse than being stuck in a listing agreement with someone who seems like they don’t care about you and doesn’t return your calls. Good agents make you feel like you are their top client and the most important deal. They answer your questions and tell you what to expect. They keep you updated. You shouldn’t have to work to get ahold of them, just one call and they get back to you. Find the good agents. They work for you, so they should treat you that way.
Being Stuck In A Contract
Getting stuck in a listing agreement can be very frustrating. Most agreements will state that the agent is entitled to their commission no matter how the house is sold. Even if you find the buyer yourself, you will still be required to pay your agent. Sometimes the agent even makes money if you fire them then find a buyer a month later! It is especially frustrating when you get stuck with an agent who isn’t working as hard as they should be. You can find yourself doing much of the work, only to have them collect their fee when all is said and done.
Selling Direct Might Be For You
For many houses in the Baton Rouge area, a direct sale can be a much better choice. There are no commissions, fees, repair costs, or marketing expenses. You won’t have to wait around for a buyer or worry about the sale falling through. When you work with us, we come, inspect the property, make our rehab estimate, then crunch some numbers and make an offer. If you like our price, we will sign a contract, take care of the title work for you, and set a closing date. We sometimes have appraisers that need to come out if we are working with a bank, but regardless of where the appraisal come back we still will buy your house for the agreed upon amount (we just make up the difference). If we are buying with cash, we don’t even do an appraisal. You can take any furniture that you want, and leave what you don’t want. You don’t have to make any repairs, or even clean! Our goal is to make the process as easy and cheap as possible for you.