Why Having a Great Listing Agent Still Matters in an Extreme Seller’s Market

Posted on Apr 16, 2021


In a buyer’s market - where buyers have the upper hand when it comes to offering and negotiating - the benefit of having an experienced listing agent is obvious. Making sure your home is seen by as many eyes as possible and having a professional online listing is essential for getting offers. And it’s easier to maximize your profits and limit your concessions when you have someone advocating for your best interests.

In a seller’s market, however, the benefits aren't always so clear to home sellers. This is the market in which multiple buyers are competing for every available home, and a home listing with a single grainy photo can still get a thousand views within a week. When buyers are willing to pay top dollar for homes - often going over asking price and getting into bidding wars - what difference does an experienced listing agent truly make?

The reality is that agents are more important than ever when it comes to having a seamless, successful, and profitable transaction. Here are six reasons why. 

1. Marketing Your Home the Right Way Still Matters

In a seller’s market, home sellers often make the mistake of thinking they can overprice homes and still experience multiple bid situations. In reality, pricing a home accurately can be the difference between it selling right away and lingering on the market/eventually getting discounted. 

Houwzer agents, for example, advise their clients to price competitively. This may seem counterintuitive to people hoping for top offers - but when you price your home too high, you ultimately price it out of people’s searches. Not only that, but home buyers today have a trove of home buying data at their fingertips that makes it very easy to know if your home is priced too high. And many buyers will not bid on an overpriced home in the first place.

“Our goal is to price it right and aggressively from the beginning, so that way you’re getting a lot of activity. It puts you in a better position because you tend to get a lot more offers — and people are willing to go over asking,” explains Director of Listing Sales, Trish Gesswein.

This approach pays off. Houwzer homes typically sell for 1-2% more than the local market average, according to 2020 sales data from Bright MLS. That translates to thousands of dollars in additional profit on the sale of a home. 

The bottom line is that experienced agents understand the real estate market intimately - and they know how to price a home to sell it in your neighborhood. Even in a seller's market, this can translate to additional profit and a faster sale.

2. Attorneys are Not a Substitute for Experienced Realtors 

Sellers looking to profit more on their home sale sometimes consider cutting out the agent and having a lawyer handle the paperwork. 

“A lot of people say I don’t need an agent, I can sell myself and I can work with an attorney,” notes New Jersey-based listing agent Ruben Concepcion. “That’s fine, except - if for some reason the deal falls through, the attorney still gets paid. Whereas the agent doesn’t get paid until it actually settles.”

In other words, sellers who try to save money by hiring an attorney may not be considering the potential costs involved if one or more deals end up falling through - and in multiple bid situations, it’s not unusual for offers to fall through once it comes to financing or the appraisal. 

Keep in mind, too, that most lawyers aren’t experienced in closing homes the way a Realtor is: if the sale runs into complications, are you going to be able to solve them?  

“A lot of times the attorneys don’t actually know real estate so when you run into a problem, they’re just doing the paperwork - but they’re not actually helping you,” explains Concepcion.

3. 180 Pages: Home Selling is Complicated 

Although every city, county, and state has different paperwork required for selling a home, on average homeowners can expect about 180 sheets of documentation. That’s a lot of important information to get through - and accidentally forgetting or ignoring something can spell trouble for your home sale (and/or your profits).

“A big portion of our job is to market and procure a buyer, but that’s only the first couple weeks of the whole thing. You have potentially a 60-day window of things going on,” says Concepcion. He notes that if sellers opt to do without an agent, “You’re still going to have six weeks of work to do that now you’ve signed up to do on your own.”

At the end of the day, selling a home is a complex transaction and having the guidance of an expert agent will not only reduce stress, it’ll reduce costly mistakes as well. 

4. Emotions Cloud Judgment 

Home selling can be a more emotional experience than you initially anticipate. When you’ve spent time in a home and formed memories there, it’s easier to take it personally when buyers bring up issues or required fixes. On top of that, the stress of selling one home and looking for another often pushes people to be more stressed than usual. 

You may find yourself preferring one offer over another not because it’s the better offer, but because their letter indicates that they're a dog-parent like you are, or because the other buyer made you feel insulted when they said your kitchen was incredibly outdated. That approach may be fine if you're selling an old coat on Facebook marketplace, but the sale of your home is too important and large a transaction to allow your emotions to run the show.

“I try to advise my clients that while you're selling a home that you lived in 10, 20, maybe 30 years, it's a very emotional process,” explains Concepcion. “So you need someone to be an outsider to remove some of that emotion.”

An experienced listing agent knows how to navigate around these emotions and steer you toward the right decisions, rather than the ones you make in a moment of reactive weakness. They will ensure that you treat your home sale as a professional business transaction - as it should be.

5. Provide Guidance in Choosing the Best Offer 

According to a recent CNBC article, over half (62%) of home buyers nationwide right now are experiencing bidding wars with their offers. Competition is strong and buyers are forced to be aggressive. But what does this look like from the other side? 

Even though a multiple bid situation is the ideal outcome for selling your home, it takes the help of an experienced agent to figure out which offer you should choose. Although more money may seem like the obvious choice for the best offer, there are other factors your agent will help you consider and evaluate, such as:

  • If speed is a top priority, offers without contingencies are better. 
  • If you need to move out quickly, buyers who can move in immediately are ideal - this way, you don’t need to pay a double mortgage.
  • If you want to stay in your house for longer, buyers who have more flexibility on the move-in date will be good.
  • If you don’t have cash flow right now, buyers requesting repairs may be less appealing.
  • You might wonder: “Should I accept a contingent offer on my house?” If you want to ensure the sale closes, some contingencies are riskier than others (such as offers contingent on the buyer selling their home).
  • A buyer’s financial strength is important to consider - your agent will have experience in checking for loan qualification letters and talking to financial institutions directly to double-check the offer’s dependability.
  • Cash offers are great since that is one less contingency (and less paperwork) to deal with, but an experienced agent can verify proof of funds.

“Finding a buyer, that’s easy because there are so many buyers banging at your door to buy - but that’s only the first step,” advises Concepcion. "If you’re going to have all these offers coming through, yes it’s easy to sell, but can you actually weed out what a good offer is versus a bad offer? You want someone on your side to go through all those little details.” 

6. They Negotiate for Your Best Interests

It may seem like selling your home today is an easy money grab considering that housing inventory is down by -64% in some areas. The extremely limited number of homes puts intense pressure on buyers to lead with their very best offer, rather than a tepid discounted bid. So what difference does an agent really make when it comes to negotiating?

The reality is that negotiating matters more than ever when additional profit is on the line. Top listing agents have years of experience communicating with buyer agents to determine how much money the seller needs to give up, for example, when an issue pops up with the home inspection

“When you get to inspections, will you have someone who's going to help you negotiate the inspection portion so that you’re not giving away too much?" Asks Concepcion. "We're going to fight for your best interests."

Top Realtors not only understand the local market best - they can also advocate for your best interests when it comes to important post-offer agreements like the closing date, rent-back agreements (in which you stay in the home as a tenant until you’re able to move out), contingencies (such as the home not selling until you’re able to buy a new one), etc.

Do You Still Need a Listing Agent to Sell Your Home? The Answer is Yes.

It’s still a seller’s market right now, and having an experienced agent to represent your interests is more important than ever with so much potential profit on the line. Contact a Houwzer agent today to learn more about what your home is worth, and to get the most out of your home sale.

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