Choosing a Broker for Your Home
At this point, if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to select a broker. Now, I’m obviously a bit biased when it comes to who to work with when selling a home in Mar Vista, but since I know many of my readers live elsewhere, here are some general rules to follow when making this decision.
Location, location, location doesn’t just factor into the home, it is also crucial that your broker lives very close to, if not within, your community. You want to work with someone who is intimately connected to the neighborhood and its subtle nuances and is not just aware of the market trends but is ahead of them.
Friends and Family?
Before deciding to work with a close friend or a family member, consider what might happen if you are unhappy or un comfortable with their performance – can you fire them without it causing trouble at the next Thanksgiving dinner? You should also consider that as close as you might be, there are things they may not have any business knowing about you, your family, your financial situation or other personal family affairs. A good broker will put their client first, and if a friend or relative doesn’t understand why you don’t think working together is a good idea, they are probably not the broker for you.
Experience Is The Best Teacher
Experience is obviously key when it comes to selecting a broker. While I’m forever grateful to my instructors at UCLA who guided me on my way to earning an MBA (Go Bruins!) my best teacher is the four decades I’ve spent helping families sell their homes. Your broker should have guided homeowners through enough transactions that it is extremely unlikely that something will come up that they haven’t dealt with – successfully – prior to the sale of your home. Longevity is key because market conditions are always changing. You want someone who’s successfully navigated inflation, recession and other ebbs and flows that are inevitable over time. Even when you know where you want your Seller’s Journey to end, these types of external conditions will affect how you get there. It’s best to work with someone who’s been down this road hundreds, if not thousands, of times.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
I’m often asked whether or not large companies have an advantage over smaller ones. Over time, and having been part of one of the ‘Big 3’ real estate companies, I’ve learned that this is simply not true. The biggest issue these companies face, even the best ones, is an unavoidable lack of coordination amongst their agents. When timing is crucial, this is a real drawback.
A Good Broker Is A Good Advisor
As you move forward, the broker you’ve partnered with will take on more and more heavy lifting. An experienced broker will be able to provide comprehensive advice on list price, length of sales period, how to handle requirements from the city, county and state, and reviewing disclosure forms such as TDS (Transfer Disclosure Statement) and AVID (Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure). It’s important that these disclosures are completed and shared with a qualified buyer sooner than later so an offer cannot be changed unless something new is discovered in the course of the inspection.
A Good Broker Knows Marketing
Effective marketing – doing what it takes to make sure that not just ‘a’ buyer but ‘the right’ buyer sees your home, is a major part of the broker’s responsibility. Posting your home to MLS, making sure lawn signs are placed correctly, coordinating not just the Sunday open house for buyers, but the Tuesday ‘broker caravan,’ and utilizing the latest communication tools such social media and drone video and photography. A less than fun fact – combo locks can be a major liability. Too many homes have been burglarized after a burglar received access after calling a listing agent impersonating a broker. We only use electronic smart locks that will notify us of every entry and are individualized for each broker based on authenticated contact information.
Evaluating multiple offers, negotiating with a buyer and managing contingency periods can be stressful so your broker’s bedside manner is crucial. Trust your gut about this – you don’t want to feel rushed about any decision. You should be confident that your broker will not only notice when a detail may have slipped past your thought process but take the time to back up and get you up to speed.