Deal Negotiation: Part Three of The Agent Interview: Sell my house, please!

Part Three: Home Seller Deal Negotiation

This is Part Three of a Three part series detailing interviewing agents to sell your house focusing on the final deal negotiation. Selecting an agent will make a tremendous impact on how long it is on the market, the sale price and the daily grind on your life. Over 65% of home sellers hire the first agent they speak with and yet over 56% of home sellers are not happy with the agent they selected.  Making the effort to find the best agent for you can be incredibly valuable. You will save time, money and most importantly, sell your house. The best agents really do get better deals accomplished because they know selling your home depends on how strong they are a property presentation, pricing and deal negotiation.

To help with the interview process we recently interviewed four top agents in Fairfield County, Connecticut to better understand the most important skills an agent should have to sell your house. There are different skills and experiences you should look for in an agent selling your house vs buying a house.

Three core competencies were consistently shared from our top agents interviewed. They are Property Presentation, Pricing, Deal Negotiation. Part One focuses on the Property PresentationPart two here details the Art of Pricing and now were are here to focus on Part Three: Deal Negotiation.

Explore deal negotiation skills

How seasoned is the agent at keeping deals on track to close? The diversity of transactions an agent has completed are critical background for demonstrating their ability to close deals. If only home deals were completed based on numbers alone. But there is always the “human” factor. Professional agents define their job as really three in one: 1. Presenting properties 2. Deal negotiation 3. Psychologist.

In this article we explore several ways you can probe in an interview to appreciate just how shrewd a negotiator each agent can be.

How well do they negotiate with you?

From the very beginning, how well do they negotiate and discuss challenging topics with you? “Yes Agents” in the interview can be a red flag for poor negotiation capabilities with sellers. If an agent says yes to whatever you want the price to be and yes to glossy flyers and marketing tactics that sound grand… beware.

Home Sales Specialties

There are several unique types of deals or market specialties you might like to explore with agents. Some specialties are great torture tests for getting deals done, others could be relevant to whom you think might be interested in buying your house.

Hot topics for Home Sales are:

  • Old homes — Are they experienced with issues in old/antique homes. Professional agents can spot issues and know the relative cost of repair in that neighborhood based on their years of experience.  As you review your current property, you can decide up front what you are willing to change in a deal negotiation and what is “as is” when sold if you need to negotiate that in the closing.
  • FHA loans — There are several check points with the government, loan institution and home inspections that need to be carefully considered and organized in a timely manner for the deal to go through. One agent interviewed claims that all his work with FHA loans is what turned him into a great agent because the details are significantly more than a non FHA loan deal.
  • Home Repairs & Escrow accounts — Often there is a need to hold money in escrow to fix an issue with a home in order for the lending institution to approve the home loan. Professional agents have seen this numerous times and can help guide home buyers or sellers on how much to hold in escrow depending who is the responsible party for the repair. Top agents know how to get multiple contractor bids promptly to secure the best price, and get the work done quickly.
  • Senior Living — There are different needs in a home if you are a senior or plan to have a senior living in the house. Agents with this expertise are amazing. Given how many seniors they have helped, they see qualities of properties that can make a huge difference in how efficiently the deal gets closed.

 Are they Masters of the Deal Killers?


Inspections and Mortgage Contingencies

Professional agents will have many examples of how these two topics have killed deals and also how they have saved deals around these two topics. Get as many examples from them as you can. Not only will this give you confidence in their ability to deal with these issues, but you will also learn what you do and do not want to do as well!

Devil in the details… What is included in the sale?

Make sure your agent has experience negotiating the tiny details in selling a home. Examples our agents shared were confirming appliances and unique features of the home.  If the buyer is expecting a specific chandelier, window treatments (blinds, curtains, shutters), jungle gym in the back yard… make sure these types of details are clarified in your contract or the home buyer might back out at the very last minute.

Understand what agents believe is negotiable when you are interviewing them. This helps you appreciate each agent’s style and foundation for what they believe is possible to change during the sale.  Then you have a better idea if you will be in agreement later in the process.

Selling your home is an intense process both physically and emotionally. Professional agents know they not only need to have their real estate license, but also a psychology degree to help their home sellers through this process efficiently and effectively. The top agents in your market can sell your home faster, for more money and with fewer headaches. We hope these interview insights from four of the top professionals in their markets helps you find the very best for you.

Explore the DADO App for Apple iOS now and end house hunting hysteria.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy reading our research report on Fit with Agent.

Special thank you to our four top professional real estate agents that shared their insights with us for this article.

Todd Turcotte
Milligan Realty

Lisa Valenti
William Raveis

Alan Stewart, Jr.
Yellow Brick Realty

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