A good friend of mine called me up about selling his house. He is a fireman down in Canton. In 2012, they bought a fixer-upper in a great subdivision at below market value. A perk of being a fireman is that you work 24 hours. Joey wait, working 24 hours is a perk? It is when you get the next 48 hours off. So my buddy Britt does what most fireman do, he works a side job. He is a contractor and a dang good one too. It was natural for him to live in the house and fix it up a little bit at a time.
Britt and his wife Melissa are really smart investors. They are taking advantage of Section 121 of the IRS tax code. That code states the profit you make on the sale of your home is tax free, up to $500k, if you have lived in a house 2 out of the last 5 years. Britt and Melissa are going to walk away from this house with a nice hunkin chunk of tax-free-cheddar!
The problem that Britt was having was finding a good Realtor. They listed their house with a friend-of-a-friend who was just starting out. (This was in peak buying season BTW.) After the first week, Britt and Melissa had no signs in the yard, buyer’s agents were contacting Britt for showings, and the MLS ad was incorrect. They were so frustrated they were ready to fire the agent and sell it by owner.
We have tried selling by owner. We have sold some by ourselves, but it is no where near as effective as using the right agent. And let me tell you this, a good agent is worth every penny!
So how do you find a good agent? First, Contact the Board of Realtors in your area. Ask them who received the top agent awards this year. You can also go to the local Real Estate Investors Association and ask around.
Figure out what agents you want to talk to and take them out to lunch. Ask them how many houses they sold last year. You will figure out quickly who is the best. I am blessed to work with some of the best agents in Gordon and Bartow County. Individually, they sell between 75 and 125 houses a year. That’s about two houses a week.
Make sure you get someone who is active in YOUR area. It doesn’t make sense to list your house with someone from a different town. They simply will not know the market as well as a local person. Agents are more than just an ad in the FMLS.
A good agent sells more houses because they know who is buying and selling in a particular area. Case in point, we flipped a house on Talon Drive. Our agent had recently sold a house three doors down. He learned that his buyers best friend wanted to buy a house in the same subdivision.
We were under contract 2 days after we listed. Guess who bought the house? The best friend did.
It is good to ask what the agent’s average price point is. This is important. You don’t want to list a million dollar home with an agent that sells $75,000 homes or vice-versa.
Ask them how they market, do they do open houses, is there anything you need to do on the house? That last one is BIG. I like to have my agents give me their thoughts before we start the rehab. I can tell you they have made and saved me lots of money.
Above all, make sure your agent is someone that you like and trust. They are going to be negotiating on your behalf. Make sure you are comfortable with them.
Britt is looking for another agent. He found out the hard way that not all agents are created equal. Make sure you choose the best.