This is a continuation of a previous podcast about what listing agents actually do. If you missed the first podcast, on what an agent does before they list your home, you can click here. I may end up adding a PS to this series, so stay tuned for more posts on this topic.
This podcast is focussing on what a listing agent does once your home is on the market and what their role is after the contracts ares signed but before the actual closing.
Once on the market, it can appear as if your agent has disappeared. Apart from open houses, where an agent’s presence is quite obvious, much of the real work is being done behind the scenes. Listing agents work hand in hand with buyers agents to coordinate showings. We also follow up and try to collect feedback. I personally use a showing service which helps keep my sellers appraised as to how the showings are going. We keep in touch with the agents of potential buyers who gave positive feedback, notifying them with respect to any change of status. Sometimes, these initial prospects will make an offer down the road. But that generally only happens if they are kept up to speed on the status of the listing.
Both the buyers agent and the listing agent have an obligation to qualify the buyer. We make sure they have the appropriate pre-approval for a loan. If they don’t, we help them find an appropriate lender to confirm their qualifications. If the transaction is in cash, we make sure that they have the funds to act. There is no point in coming to an agreement with someone who does not have the means to buy.
Once a solid offer from a qualified buyer is made on a home, there is a negotiation period where the buyer and seller try to come to what we call “the meeting of the minds” on pricing and conditions. The third party/arms-length negotiation process is perhaps THE most valuable asset that a listing agent brings to the table.
Selling a home, as well as buying a home is a very emotional experience. Mix in the tiny little fact that it is the largest single transaction most people ever make and you have the potential for melt-downs even among the most calm and restrained of clients. When everything is on the line emotionally and financially, it is almost always for the best that the face-to-face negotiating is done via third parties who are not so emotionally and financially involved. Rather than going 10 rounds over mini-blinds or that light fixture the homeowner wants to take with them, the third party negotiator can help put these issues into perspective before they wig out of control. (And yes, I actually did have a transaction where the sellers and buyers were fighting over metal mini-blinds.)
This is one of the problems I see with FSBO negotiations. When negotiating on your own, small issues tend to mushroom needlessly into big deals and transactions that should have been smooth sailing can hit a brick wall. Real estate agents may not eliminate these conflicts, but they help to minimize them and put certain issues in their proper perspective.
A real estate transaction is seldom a completely smooth ride. This has been particularly true since the financial crisis of 2008. From appraisal issues, to title issues, to unexpected glitches in the lending process, there can be quite a few obstacles between the signing of a contract and a closing. Any one of these can derail the transaction taking the seller back to square-one. Agents handle many transactions. We’ve been down this road before and can anticipate the problems preventing many of them from asserting themselves. We also provide solutions for the ones which do come up unexpectedly, smoothing the path to a successful closing.
So, I hope this gives you a better perspective on what a listing agent actually does. In future podcasts I will help you wade through the minefield of choosing an agent to help sell your home.
Please feel free to contact me anytime to request additional information or to set up an appointment so we can explore your listing or purchasing needs. I am easy to reach by phone, text or email. Or, if you just want to continue your search online, the links below will help you get started.