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Limitations to the Area Specialist

Ron Wynne on

Selecting a real estate advisory specialist is not as easy as it appears on the surface, but one thing's for sure: Be certain to evaluate the agent's track record, reviews, testimonials and personal recommendations. Do not be lured to consider a family member or personal friend based on a commission reduction or a feeling of obligation.

Next, think twice about the need to hire the person with the most "for sale" or "sold" signs in the neighborhood. On the surface, this may imply that the person's clients have been consistently satisfied, but that is not necessarily a fact. Imagine if everyone were to feel that an abundance of "sold" signs validates the worthiness of an agent. This notion could perpetually feed itself for years. There are true examples of this happening. That is not to say that continued neighborhood success is not worth consideration and not an impressive achievement. But I suggest trusting your intuition after a thorough interview. Always consider your own needs and priorities. Not every home requires staging or drone photography, but every owner needs an agent with hands-on attention to detail, good listening skills and the ability to make things happen.

A focus on selling for top dollar involves many considerations, starting with an agent who really cares about getting you the last $50,000. You deserve an agent who doesn't think, "The commission on that last $50,000 is peanuts, so I would rather just move on." Now, also consider the agent's negotiating track record and consistency for networking with the best agents and clients. Think about an agent who only specializes in your geographic location. This agent is networking with a very limited group of agents and potential clients to expose your property.


Say, for example, you live in the Elm Creek, Brentwood Park, Meadow Hills or Cheviot Hills neighborhoods of Los Angeles. The local specialist (as they might call themselves) knows the area, the agents and the current list of circling buyers, but that is probably where the exposure stops. Let's say homes range in value from $1 million to $4 million for a particular area, from fixer-uppers on a small lot to brand-new, recently built homes on large lots. You plan to sell a home worth approximately $2 million. Would it not make more sense to consider an agent who specializes in selling homes for $2 to $3 million and casts a wider net, going several miles north, south, southeast and west of your location? This agent is already connected with buyers in your price range, and agents with buyers in your price range who have been seriously looking for a home within a close radius and may not fall upon your house on their own. A listing agent who reaches out to everyone in the area but certainly goes way beyond that might provide you a lot more benefit, resulting in a faster sale and, quite possibly, a better price, especially if the buyer is brought into your neighborhood from another area that offers less house and fewer amenities for the same price.

I do think you should interview a neighborhood specialist. But add to your list of three agents to interview an agent who successfully sells lots of homes, particularly homes in your price range and three or four areas adjacent to your area.

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