In this series we examine the process of selling on Cape Cod - and don't worry, we'll get to the buying soon. This installment includes choosing an agent and living with a listed property.
"OK Agnes, I am ready to choose an agent...what should I consider?"
"Well, a great place to start is with interview questions to ask your agent. Consider some points in this article on nerdwallet.com and create your questions with the goal of choosing a professional. We suggest asking, "In which neighborhoods do you primarily work?", "Do you work full-time or part-time?", "Can I hear from your past clients?", and "How many sales did you close last year?". An agent worth their salt should be able to answer all of those questions satisfactorily.
"Keep in mind that many real estate agents are part-timers or hobbyists who participate in very few deals each year. Of the 2,712 registered agents and approximately 5,325 residential sales in 2017 you can see that 91% of agents on Cape Cod participated in fewer than one deal per month. While we don't snub our noses at anyone working hard to make a living in a competitive industry, we strongly recommend you consider agents who have the experience and expertise that comes from doing dozens of deals each year, rather than just a handful, or none. It may feel good to give a close friend from your book club a chance to sell your house but when it comes to six and seven figure transactions we recommend hiring professionals. Think of it like this: chances are that the other party will be represented by one of the agents in the top 1% anyway, so set yourself up for success and make sure that your agent is not outmatched even before you start negotiating. We'd also like to point out that the Cape Cod Chatelains are in that top 1% category (we are actually in the top 0.3%)."
"Really Agnes? It's just a stats game?"
"No and stop interrupting. You have to be sure you connect with, like, and trust whomever you choose to work with. Agents are so plentiful that you have a lot of choices - be sure you will want to work with this person, or these people for a while. The process of selling your home can take months, and sometimes years depending on the client's needs and expectations. Keep in mind also that we aren't just talking about how long your home spends on the market. A good agent is going to work with you from start to finish and this process can be timely, as should any major transaction. And be sure to ask for references - we are proud that an average of 88% of our business comes from repeat or referred clients who are always happy to speak with folks who are considering us to represent them."
"Thanks Agnes. Now to actually having a house listed...what is that like?
"Well again this depends on your current situation. Needless to say it can be easier to sell a second home if it is not your primary residence because it is far less disruptive. But let's consider a home that is occupied full time for this exercise. First, there is generally a lot of activity when a house first hits the market. The Cape market is heavily seller favored so there are buyers that are waiting for houses to pop up. Literally we get calls within the first 20 minutes a listing activates. Furthermore we schedule two different types of open houses as soon as is feasible for the seller. First we schedule an agent open house during a work day so that local agents can preview the property. Soon thereafter we do a weekend open house for the public so that anyone and everyone gets a chance so see the home. It helps tremendously if the home is in tip-top shape for both of these events - clean desks, no drying dishes, fresh towels, swept, mopped, dusted, you get the idea. From then on showings are as requested. Keeping the house tidy and clean during this time helps it show well. Also we love chatting with our clients about black-out times when showings are not possible (i.e. dinner or Sundays 1-3), as well as the best way to get in touch when needed. Needless to say, when a house is on the market it can feel disruptive and intrusive to have strangers in it. Setting some black out times is a great way to ensure your home still feels like your home, and we are happy to work with clients on which times make most sense (blocking out every day from 4:30-8 may be impossible when accommodating work schedules for example). Additionally we always recommend that sellers leave for showings, it reduces stress for all parties and allows the buyers to make informed decisions."
Thank you Agnes. As usual we rely on your years of expertise and insight. Our next installment will involve getting from negotiation to closing. Feel free to contact us with questions.