There are many challenges that homeowners may face when listing their property in a slow market. Hiring a realtor who can reduce seller fatigue, effectively market a home, and navigate a successful sale is important.

Denny and Monica recommend specific questions you should ask a realtor before hiring them to sell your home. 

This episode will cover the key role that marketing plays, the importance of keeping up with trends on social media, the difference between experience selling homes versus the number of years as a realtor, the benefits of effective communication with other agents and buyers, and the positive impact that a great showing has on a sale.

Watch and listen to the Garbutt+Dumas Real Estate Podcast below and follow us on Spotify, iTunes & YouTube.

Read the Transcript Here

Hi everyone, I’m James Garbutt and I’m Denny Dumas and this is the Garbutt Dumas Real Estate podcast.

Denny: We’ve done podcasts in the past in busy markets, “The three most important questions to ask a Realtor”.  And our three questions that we advise that Consumers ask when they’re thinking about hiring a realtor in a busy market are how do you market the home? How do you get more attention to the home? likely you’re gonna be on market for a week or less? So how do you get the most amount of exposure to my listing in that one week on market? How do you show the home in busy markets? It’s not uncommon to have 40, 50, 60, 70 buyers want to see the home. So how do you get all of them in and three, which is probably the most important in a busy market is how do you handle multiple offers and get the most out of those offers when they come in on offer day. 2022 has been a strange year and the market has shifted interest rates climbing have definitely affected activity and sales volume. So we want to re-address our thoughts on if you are thinking of selling in the next six months and you’re interviewing realtors in your neighborhood. What questions to ask them in a listing appointment?

Monica:  Well, marketing is always going to be important no matter what type of market you’re experiencing, whether it’s a buyers market, sellers market, marketing is a really key one you need to know exactly what you’re getting exactly what the realtor plans to do, and what your listing is going to look like once it’s out in the world. So that’s a really important one. 

Denny: That question is never going to change. It doesn’t matter what market you’re in, what type of product you’re selling. The more people that see it, the better end of story. That’s it. So I think questions around like, you know, show me some of your previous marketing of the listings that you’ve done or, you know, open up your Instagram page, show me a previous listing in the last few weeks, that you’ve marketed, how many views did that get. It’s, it’s, it’s pretty easy on your phone to be able to show the type of video quality that you’re producing or how many views they’re actually getting. 

Monica: That’s a really important one and we do have potential sellers ask us that in listing appointments and you need to be, you need to be good with your Instagram and your social media.

Denny: Even like what types of videos right so in the last year-ish, posting a regular video on your Instagram feed doesn’t get nearly the amount of attention that a reel will. So reels are done differently. There is music involved, usually there’s less talking or little talking or no talking and the feel of them is a little bit different. Are they hitting the most important buyers for your specific type of property? Probably not. But the goal with those is just exposure is, you know, a few extra 1000 people seeing that, your home in the hopes that you’re hitting a couple extra realtors, maybe a couple of buyers that didn’t necessarily or weren’t necessarily looking in your specific neighborhood or for that type of home. But the goal with any marketing campaign for a home is more views. So I think the professional video is very important for buyers that are looking specifically in your neighborhood for that type of home. But the real videos are basically where the state of online social media marketing is today in terms of more exposure. So five years ago that was posting an exterior photo of your home hitting “Post” and now we get 20, 30, 40,000 views if it was a cool looking home, it would just keep going. Three years ago that was a professional video with me and Monica saying hey, this is a pretty awesome home. Come have a look at it. It’s got three bedrooms, and now those don’t get very many views. So now it’s more creative music. Different, different.

Monica: Social media marketing is the OG marketing style right now. It’s, it’s here to stay you have to be doing it with integrity, you have to be doing it right. It has to be professional, and you have to stay on top of trends. I hate the word trend, but for marketing it’s an extremely important word you need to know what the marketing trends are. And in order to navigate the trends properly and get the most out of it, you have to be doing it often.

Denny: So you understand how important marketing is now and that never changes any, any market busy, slow medium, anytime, anywhere. It doesn’t matter marketing, super, super important to ask who you’re going to be hiring, how they’re going to get exposure to your listing. Number two, let’s talk a little bit about offers because offers, the way offers are presented the way offers are negotiated. The leverage the seller has is very different than it was a few months ago. It’s still extremely important to talk to a potential listing agent about how they work with an offer, how they negotiate their experience in the industry in terms of you know how many homes they’ve sold, how many contracts they’ve negotiated. It’s just different. So instead of the collecting multiple offers, you know calling people back the scenarios that we’ve talked about previously on the podcast, it is more of getting everything out of a contract that is possible. And sometimes that means selling a home 50k under list price. Sometimes that means you know grinding an extra few $1,000 at the end to get exactly what the seller is looking for or to get to a number that actually makes sense for the seller to move. 

Monica: Yeah for sure here’s a little hint:  if you’re, if you’re  potential listing agent shows up to a listing appointment, and they don’t know every single comparable on your street and in your neighborhood. They’re probably not going to be able to negotiate a really great price for you. You have to know the neighborhood really, really well when a buyer’s agent sends you a contract. And like you have to stand behind your listing price. You have to stand behind the value. You need to know the product that you’re selling. And so I think that when you’re asking a realtor, how are you going to handle offers in this market? You need, you need to have a realtor that knows the neighborhood really, really well. Also knows how to communicate with other agents and the best, the best way to find an agent that might be really really good at that is to look for somebody with the most experience.

Denny: It’s a really good point. When you are dealing with multiple offers, you are essentially allowing buyers to compete against each other. They’re not really discussing other homes that have sold recently, comparing and contrasting pros and cons. They are basically saying okay, well what’s the other offer? How much more do I need to go up? 50 grand Okay, yeah, we’ll do it. Versus you can slow markets like this when you’re one on one negotiating. People are trying to grind you down on price. So they’re saying okay, well that house over there on Second Street. That was, you know, 200 square feet bigger. The lot was 500 square feet bigger. That’s why we’re discounting it 75 grand. And if you as the listing agent don’t know that Second Street is a busy street, or that lot specifically how to grow up or you know, other details that only someone who really knows those neighborhoods really well would know. Your reaction to those types of questions, whatever negotiating points is probably Oh, yeah, you’re right. So it’s, it’s really important to know neighborhoods, know streets. Deal with someone who, like Monica said, has followed up with every single listing in that in your neighborhood to give you the summary of how many showings they have per week, have they seen an offer, all of that kind of stuff. It is unbelievably important. 

Monica: It’s really important. And when we say, you know, to pick somebody with experience, we don’t mean pick somebody who’s been in the industry for 45 years necessarily. It means somebody who’s doing business in the current market that we’re in often.

Denny: I said this line the other day in a podcast and I absolutely loved it. I have no idea if I made it up or not. But I’m gonna take credit for it because… 

Monica: If you say it often enough it’s gonna be yours.

Denny:  100% is gonna be my tagline for the rest of life. Expertise is not calculated number of years expertise is calculated and experience and what does experience mean? Experience means so much situational prep, like you’re having these types of conversations with sellers multiple times a day. You are negotiating contracts every single day, 365 days a year. You are communicating with buyers agents and buyers and sellers, multiple times every single day. You are selling lots of homes, not three a year, lots, hundreds of homes a year. That’s experience not years in a business, right. 

Monica: That’s just such an important, that’s an important detail. Very, very important. 

Denny: So I can have that line?

Monica: We’ll give it to you. I love it.

Denny: YES! I think we’ve made our point pretty clear that experience very very, very important in slower markets like, this knowing neighborhoods really well. The other. I mean, in the busy markets, we had three questions, in slow markets, there’s gonna be more than three. But they’re kind of summarize for me into, what’s your organization like like, how organized and I’ll expand on that, how well do you communicate both with me with and with buyers, agents and buyers? And then in your experience, which we kind of touched on, but in that how well organized, are you or what’s your organization like? The most listings right now are on market longer than seven days most are not getting multiple offers and selling in a week. The organization of setting up showings, the organization of communicating effectively and regularly with both with the seller and with buyers agents. How do you follow up? After a showing are you reaching out to the buyer’s agents to get feedback? Probably they have seen other homes in your neighborhood. It is very valuable information for both mea us as a listing agent, but you as a seller as well, in terms of what do buyers think compared to the other listings in your neighborhoods there’s four homes for sale right now. They’re probably seeing all of them if they’re priced relatively similarly. If they like their, if if constant feedback is there’s three homes right now that have more features bigger lot size that are better than yours at the same price. That’s really good feedback to know probably means you are unlikely going to get an offer in the next little while, while those are on market.

Monica: Yeah, those are really important ones I think, especially because the sellers are just kind of following their listing agents blindly basically. They need to know what’s going on, new listings could pop up after you’ve already had a conversation where you set certain expectations. So if a new listing comes up that is priced lower but has better features, your seller needs to know that and you need to be staying on top of those things, especially in condo sales, because different condos can pop up in the building all the time. They can be on a better side of the building with better views. They can have a little bit extra square feet, which means a lot in condos, they could have one extra parking or the parking could be better situated. So staying on top of the listings in the building is really important and talking to those listing agents. That’s really, really important because if somebody comes to your listing, they’re very, very likely in a market like this gonna visit all the listings in the building that are similar in specs like parking, bedrooms, bathrooms, that kind of thing. So you need to be able to let your seller know hey, you know this guy came to see yours. He also went to see the other one he ended up purchasing the other one and this is why the agent said he picked this one because it had side by side parking instead of tandem parking like little special details like that are really important for the seller to know and understand.

Denny: The other question that in busy markets as well as slow markets is very important is how do you show my property and that, that scenario changes in slow markets and the longer you’re on market, the more likely a listing agent is to put up a lockbox or you know just leave keys at their office for a buyer’s agent to pick up. And I just firmly believe that that is not an advantageous way to show a property for a seller. If you’re walking into a dark house with the blinds closed, (do you mind closing that window? Thanks. Someone is reconstructing a home next door using a power drill) How do you show in a in a slower market and I really firmly believe that being there in person to give the best first impression when lights are on and blinds are open and you are answering questions for buyers as they’re walking through and you’re educating them on neighborhoods. It is really common in Greater Vancouver for people that would be moving outside of their current neighborhood and they don’t know the neighborhoods that well. So it is really really valuable in a showing to educate consumers on where there’s where the closest schools.. If they have kids, where are the closest restaurants and coffee shops, how far are you from the skytrain and parks, and you know, different types of amenities in the neighborhood. There. There are lots of little weird hidden parks in neighborhoods that we work in that you would never know about unless you live there. And so it’s really valuable to, I think, to educate the consumers as they’re coming through the door and when you leave keys at your office or home on lockbox. You’re just missing out on that aspect of the experience and the purchase for a buyer.

Monica:  Right we talk about this a lot and it’s something that’s really important to our sellers that we physically show up for all of our showings. Danny hit on a lot of really important ones. Buyers usually work with an agent that takes them all over Greater Vancouver. There’s, it’s impossible for that buyer’s agent to intimately know every neighborhood that they go to, especially if they’re seeing six properties in a day. It’s impossible for that agent to know and to be able to show your home at its best like the listing agent has to show your home at its best. We also know the best times of day to go so if if it’s in the middle of the summer, and we know that your home can be really warm later in the day. We’re trying to navigate those showings so that we can get them there at better times. When the view is nicer. Like all there’s so many aspects to showing the home yourself and lockbox or leaving the keys at the office, it doesn’t create a good experience for the buyer. What creates a good experience is when the listing agent shows up and that’s what you want them to market like this.

Denny: The last point I’ll make is who you hire really, really matters when you’re selling your home both busy markets and slow markets and busy markets you’re getting the most out of your multiple offers situation in slow markets you are potentially is the difference between getting an offer and actually selling or not or sitting on market for months and months and having to reassess next year. It really matters. Expertise at the top of that category. But I think this was a hopefully a very valuable chat about what questions to ask listing agents when you’re interviewing them. 

Monica: You know what we left out that I think is really important that we should mention in stratas right now. The experience agent thing is really important especially if you have buyers that are navigating crazy minutes and depreciation reports and up coming stuff. It’s really important to have an agent that can effectively and calmly communicate things about the building that are really important. Without you know, scaring buyers away.

Denny: Back to the construction like conversation and as a realtor having a decent level of knowledge in the construction world is super important both in strata and single family. If you can alleviate buyer concerns by giving real information that is correct and not made up, because you don’t know and if you can alleviate their concerns of how much is this gonna cost? It is, it’s just a piece of an extra peace of mind for a buyer and that may give them or that may push them over the edge in terms of writing an offer. It’s like understanding how stratas work just because it’s in the depreciation report that it says they’re going to be redoing the roof next year in 2023, it doesn’t mean they’re going to be redoing the roof next year. It might mean they’re redoing the roof in 10 or 12 years. 

Monica: Or it could mean that they are but the buyer needs to understand that the value that that will add, we’re having, there’s there’s a lot that you have to educate them on and you can’t educate them on it if you’re not there for the showings. So this kind of all is you know, a cycle you got to be there for the showings. You have to understand the product that you’re selling and you need to know the neighborhood that you’re selling it in.

Denny: Boom.