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Some agents sales pitch sound to good to be true

Some agents, when trying to acquire a listing to sell, make some pretty big promise. They all seem to claim that they are experts when it comes to marketing and the internet. How do I know which to believe? I have interview 3 agents and each seems to make the same claims.
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July 25 2012 - Portland
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Answers (23)

Best Answer
If it sounds too good too be true..........Well, you know the answer to this one!
Part of my listing presentation to sellers says that "Every agent on the planet will tell you they will market your home online" But what does that really mean? Some agents are really not that tech savvy and believe that posting your listing on services like Postlets will have your home seen "all over the world!". The truth is, you could be on a 100 websites, but if they don't show up on common searches, they are really of no value to you. Recently I saw an agent promoting that his listings will be featured on over 200 websites and will recieve over 100,000 unique visitors! Yet when I did some very common searches on Google and Bing, which is what many buyers do, not only did this agent not show up anywhere...his listings did not show up!
I have spent much time on internet marketing and have seen all the angles that some agents will use including... Your listing will sfow up on page 1 of google for the search of 222 Main Street. Well of course it will! But nobody is going to be searching that. That is like saying you will show up on page 1 of a google search of your name.

If you want to find out if these agents are in fact good at marketing and internet marketing, do some home work. Are the agents good at branding themselves? If they can't do a good job of this, what makes you think that all of the sudden they will be good at marketing your home? If they focus in a certain area, do these agents or their listings come up in a search for that area. Have you seen any of their marketing materials? Are they done with class and professionalism or does it look like many of the "just listed" postcards that many agents send out without much effort or thought behind them? Does the agent do extra things to market his/her listings and make them stand out? Things like professional photos, individual websites for your listing, vitural tours or even better yet, a well done video. Some agents may prepare a very nice glossy folded brochure for buyers when they show up at a listing and that is great but they should probably spend more money to get people to their listing instead of a nice brochure.

Here is an interesting stat: 95% of real estate agents do not have a sales and marketing background. What is selling a home? It is all about sales and marketing! Sure, your agent better be strong in negotiations and know the contracts inside and out but marketing a home is about increasing the odds of getting your home sold in the shortest time for the highest price and the best way to do this is to increase the exposure it gets.

There have been some good comments to this question but I would like to comment on one of them. One agent said to see how active they are on Zillow. I would be hesitant to use this as a guide to select an agent. I have seen some agents on Zillow and Trulia that spend an enormous amount of time posting on these websites. Are these agents actually selling homes?
 I would also caution you to the agent that feels that social media is the greatest thing since sliced bread for selling real estate. It is not! It is an important aspect of internet marketing but not as effective at this point as Google, Bing and YouTube.

Best of luck to you!
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July 26 2012
That Fitzmaurice guy is nuts if he really thinks he has 1 million hits on any one listing. Unless he happens to be the owner of Trulia or Zillow he does not have that many. I think the first line of the best answer above pretty much sums it up.
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July 11 2013
Bottom line is...find an agent that you feel like you can trust and has a really good web presence.  Your instincts are usually right.  We all have access to post homes on the internet but most of the agents don't understand SEO and how important it is to get your home at the top of the searches.  A savvy agent will post your home on many sites but will consistently update the info so that it stays fresh and is picked up by the top search sites. 
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September 13 2012
I would recommend doing a Google search on each of the agents and see what comes up. The agents should have a very strong internet presence and understand how to attract buyers worldwide. You can also see waht kind of Zillow and Yelp reviews they have.
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August 29 2012
The user did not read my answer correctly. Please read below, it says "at times" and is absolutely correct. Factoring in the average views on all my listings including those that sell in 1 day, the trackable viewing average is over 100,000 online views per listing. My record is 1.4 million views for one listing. I'm happy to prove this to anyone, and do prove it day after day with detailed reports to my clients. As often happens in the internet world, people underestimate what is possible.
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August 29 2012
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To good to be true....I call Bulls#@! on the agent (Fitzmaurice) that says he gets 1,000,000 hits on ANY lising. I have a friend (a realtor) in California that pays extra for his lisings on Google and Trulia. He told me thousands would be a huge number of hits on those sites! I looked at the traffic on John L Scott, which I understand gets the most of local companies and they get about 200,000 unique visitors a month and they spend a ton of money on advertising to get those numbers. They don't even come close to 1,000,000. I am not in the real estate business, I am in the internet business. When someone makes false claims and then try to spin it like they can support those numbers, I would stay clear of them!
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August 14 2012
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If you have any doubts about what an agent is telling you in terms of the marketing plan, then ask them for specifics and do not be afraid to make the specifics that they promise conditions of signing the listing agreement with them.

That way if they do not perform, you have a reason to cancel the contract almost immediately and find another agent with the online marketing skills to back up their promises. Making sure your house gets exposure is a an important job of any listing agent. Hiring the right agent is important so interviewing more than one before listing is key.
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August 14 2012
They must verify the facts. I have an extremely successful program that does in fact at times generate over 1 million views on my clients listings, but I back it up with proof and monthly reports to my clients. I know it sounds shocking, the numbers out there can be that way. Proof is needed. 
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August 14 2012
Send the agents email and see how soon they reply. Are they helpful when they do? Word of mouth is a strong tool, ask for references .  Check out their websites and where they are investing on the internet. Do their sites look professional and updated? 
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July 28 2012
The best thing you can do is ask for referrals from past clients, and ask them to show you their marketing. Right now the market is good so anyone is going to have some success.

You should focus your efforts on finding someone who si not going to cave in the negotiation. For instance, I might be horrible at marketing, but I would bet there are limited individuals that are better at negotiating which would make someone like me better for the job than the best marketer.

I am not a real estate agent, but I could help you get pointed in the right direction.
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July 27 2012
Mostly good answers so far, especially WetDawgs and William Metzker.  My marketing schedule presentation includes the line items Metzker asked for, including which ones I pay for (photos, flyers, ads, staging consult, etc)
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July 26 2012
My gooness..
In my opinion, you should be able to find this Agent (or agents) very easily online. Type in their names and see what comes up. The internet is the number one method of marketing according to our marketing research (not newspapers or other methods).
Another way that homes are sold..and fast..is by the actual Agent and their reputation and relationships with other agents. Once a really good and popular agent has a listing, (if they have good relationships in the industry), that listing will go all over..even to many other brokerages..to Buyer Agents who have good buyers.
Most homes are sold by other agents with buyers!
Make sure they are pricing your home right for this market. Overpriced homes will languish for months with no interest.
Best!
Dorene
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July 26 2012
The reason you're having a problem believing any of them is because they're not telling you anything you can get your hands on. It's a problem inherent in commission-based compensation. The first thing you need to do is make your own plan, namely why you are selling and how long you're willing to be on the market. The longer market time, the less you have to put up with agent pressure to lower the price. Tyhen, ask the agent exactly what he/she will do--not pretty-picture brochures or Ipad presentations, but specifics: Professional photography, and if so, what's that cost? Video, and how much does that cost? Website syndication, and what's that cost? In other words--line items of the services performed and what each one costs. Then, ask how many hours the agent will spend in total on selling your house. Time spent will be for weekly updates, site visits, correspondence with the buyer's agent and so forth. They'll say they don't know, so ask for a range. My fastest listing took me fourteen hours, with a seller who wanted out and a cash buyer who wanted in. Say the longest took 50 hours. How does all that equate to (a) a successful sale, and (b) what you are asked to pay?
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July 26 2012
Profile picture for Dunes ..
You are going to most likely need to talk with/interview far more than 3 RE Agents to find a good one imo. This is a Huge decision impacting a Huge Financial Transaction so make time...

Spend some time browsing the RE Sites where they post..Trulia..ActiveRain..Zillow and decide for yourself just how high a % of RE Agents have anything more than a Sales Pitch to offer ;)

Shop Smart..Be Smart
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July 26 2012

Tons of good answers here but the one I don't see is how you found the agents you interviewed. Whenever I need to hire someone for anything, I always start with family and friends. If they had a good experience and liked the individual, I usually end up interviewing the person for whatever work is being done. Doesn't mean they get the job but it certainly narrows the field and gets some solid prospects in front of you. Best of luck!

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July 26 2012
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You need to look at the time that they took to close their last 20 listings as compared to the average time for the market. Look at their advertising materials for their current listings including photo quality, advertising flyers, write ups and googling the address to see what online sites they cover.

Drive by the listing and look to see if they have a flyer box that is empty. Ask them for references of the last 3 houses that they closed in your area. Do not believe the marketing that any agent provides. Do your own interview, contact recent references and spell out any promises by your listing agent on paper as part of your listing agreement to avoid any misunderstandings.
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July 26 2012
I think the best way to know what results you can expect is to look at past results. For example, our company [hotlink removed by Zillow moderator] has sold four times what our closest competitor has sold. Remember, you don't want a For Sale sign, you want a sold sign. Look at who gets the results you want.
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July 26 2012
How did you find them?  Was it on the internet... that would indicate some level of familiarity.   Ask them how they know it, are they part of a team... what do they do specifically that makes them an internet expert.   Many agents talk the talk but you want to be sure they can walk the walk.   Meet with them and ask them to have their lap top handy so they can walk you thru how they will sell your home...  Do they provide a video tour, can they show you how your listing moves to the top of the search page etc... etc... and if you're not internet savy have someone with you who is when you meet the agent.
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July 26 2012
You have already gotten some good answers here.  I would take them up on their suggestions.  As Wetdawgs pointed out, drop them an email through one of their listings and see how long it takes them to respond.  This is a great suggestion.  Who needs an agent that takes two days to respond?  

You need to know up front who you're dealing with.   Stephanie's answer about trust and connection is a big one.  You have to feel a connection with and trust the person you are entrusting your biggest possession to.   If you don't find this with 3 agents, talk to a few more until you do find someone you click with.  

Best of luck to you!
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July 26 2012
Well, they should be. 

I think that it is reasonable to expect a certain level of competency in a real estate agent, and that includes a mastery of marketing homes and using the internet . . . to sell your home. A lot of agents are masters at marketing and using the internet to get new clients, but the reason you hire a real estate agent isn't so that they can get new clients, but so that you can get your home sold for the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time.

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July 25 2012
Look at Wetdawgs' answer.  It is excellent.  And, We are Realtors.
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July 25 2012
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Evaluate their actual practice.  Pull up their active listings by googling.  How widely distributed are they on the dozens of non-MLS sites?   What do the photos look like?   Drop them an E-mail through one of the sites and check responsiveness.  Talk to real clients!
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July 25 2012
Selling or purchasing a home is a big deal. Your real estate agent should be someone you connect with and who you feel understands what you are looking to accomplish and how. You have to trust your agent to be looking out for your best interest. It's important to know what your agent will do for you as far as marketing your home, but it's also important to connect with them on a personal level. I would hop online and do some research. Google their names. Do they have websites? Blogs? Facebook pages? How recently have they updated the pages? Search them on websites like Zillow and see how active they are. This will give you a better idea of how honest they are, or if they're just trying to "sell" you.

Hope this helps!
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July 25 2012
 
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