Episode 021: Stop Giving Free CMAs. Get the listing first!

On this episode of the Real Estate Marketing Show we’re talking about never giving a price to a homeowner or a potential seller until they have a commitment to list with you.

If you’ve been in this business more than a minute, you know listings are the name of the game. You can’t build your business without listings BUT it’s hard to find proper training for listings. Listing agents traditionally don’t like to share information with newbies.

So today’s episode is very controversial!!

Here’s what I know: If somebody’s going to sell their house, first they’re usually going to get 2 to 3 referrals minimum, if they are smart, that is. I am very actively involved in the community; I do a ton of charity events, nonprofit, city stuff, volunteering etc. BUT a lot of other agents do that too! I have to go up against a lot of agents a lot of times! So one of the things I learned back in the day is that it’s very easy to get the business if you don’t give the price!

Today most homeowners have the price of their homes or are very close to it because of the zestimates all the millions of landing pages that are out there. So a seller really today doesn’t even need an agent to get a price. But what they do need an agent for, is to confirm the best price. So, if I were to sell, I’d go with the agent who’d give me the highest price. And that’s so sad; the whole market has been like that for ages! And, we, as real estate agents, are training them to work and do business like that while, in truth, it’s the market that controls the price, not the real estate agent. The worst is that this is backfiring on them because they are the ones losing listings!

So what should you choose an agent based on?

  • Marketing
  • Experience
  • How you get along; are you ‘clicking’ together?
  • Referrals

So once somebody calls me, we go through the whole prequalification process and end up with an appointment at their house. So the homeowner has naturally a few things in their mind:

  • How much are you going to charge me?
  • How much is my house worth?
  • How can I get you to do all this with the least amount of commitment to you?

So we start, unfortunately, on different sides. The first thing you want to do is remind them that you both are on the same team and one of the first things you need to remember today is that there are two very important decisions you need to make:

  1. Who and what firm to list with and why
  2. Later on, will be the price

All we’re going to care about right now is who can get you more buyers, and in what amount of time, with the least amount of hustle. At Home Smart, we teach 6 steps in a home selling process; from talking about our firm, marketing, tools of technology, our team etc. It is only after that, if we decide that we totally love each other and want to be a team, we will talk about price. Then you go through an entire market plan with them.

Other than price, is there any reason, Mr. and Ms. Smith, you will not start the paperwork with me now? Whatever that reason may be, we need to isolate that objection and find out. Chances are, they want to know the price you are going to market the home at.

However, one of the things we have to realize as agents is that, we don’t choose the market price. Who does? The buyers! It’s a compilation of how many homes a buyer’s willing to pay and a seller is willing to sell their home for! That’s called your ‘current market evaluation’.

So did these agents show you the comparables? Most agents just print out a bunch of MLS sheets… in black and white! And how do you feel about pricing your home based on a piece of paper?! Let’s face it, A lot of things can be missed that way!

One of the benefits of working with Team Bjorkman is that, once we decide to work together, I am actually going to go see all these homes, record them by video and pictures, and I’d like to take you with me because I want you to see/feel the house from the buyer’s eyes!

It takes several hours to properly do an appraisal, but, with your permission, I’d like to do a mini appraisal on this property and just go out and reconfirm your asking price. If you then feel that one of those agents might have done you a disservice because they didn’t actually go look at the property and they just brought over some paper (we’re talking about the difference in tens of thousands of dollars), you are absolutely right! And, don’t you agree that this is too important to just take a guess?

This is why, if you still feel that I can get you the highest price in the least amount of time, based on experience of marketing and how we are getting along, I’d love to accept the job of marketing your home. Then, I can have the time to go find out exactly what this home is worth and we are going to price this home as a team. Inevitably however, you will be the one in control of the price. That might be a little slower but a little smarter way to go ahead! 

At this point, I’d like to get the paperwork starting, with your permission. If I deliver all the valuable information and I still think that your home is going to be way overpriced and won’t sell, would you let me out of this agreement? – Great so go ahead and sign here!

And that’s the worst-case scenario! Here is how it happens most of the times: These agents have spent hours doing the CMAs, they don’t have any marketing, so they go over price with them. So I have had at least two other agents do all the work for me and have already priced the home at market value! Those agents did at least a good job at pricing; unbelievable they won’t spend the time marketing your property! I’m still going to go out and, with your permission, I am going to look at the active properties to make sure we’ve priced right. So I have already blown them away with marketing, now I’ve got them to tell me the price they’re comfortable at—and most of these people truly know the market value of their home! – so I have nothing else to do; I just have to list it and ­– bye bye!

I like to be last, to show how much better my marketing is, which no agent prior to me shows them! But now, I’ve learned to be first because I can go in there, and use script and dialogues to get the listing agreement signed, cancel the appointments for them, or at least have the agreement signed and if they find anybody that will work harder to get them the highest price in the quickest amount of time, they can let me know within 24 hours with a written notice, and I’ll let them out of the agreement. Because I guarantee my services!