Tuesday, March 5, 2019


In an age of DIY and FSBO we are constantly encouraged to go at it alone. But to me, the key takeaway is consumer empowerment and you don't need to 'Purple Brick it' to take control. In fact, I am a huge believer in the power and value of using a realtor. That being said,  you don't need to surrender all decision making power. Remember, you are hiring them. You are boss. Just don't be a bad boss.

Like any good working relationship there needs to be collaboration. This means you have a say in the matter beyond list price. Take it from me, a serial home seller, who has learned a few things along the way. 

Below are my TOP 5 TIPS to help you get the most out of your realtor relationship and overall home selling experience. Of course there are exceptions to every scenario, but these are the rules I live by. 

 1  Choose the right realtor. Look for someone who is passionate about their job and knows their value. Don't contract the agent who is the first to race to the bottom (cut their commissions to cut out the competition). Their unique selling proposition should not be a flash sale. It should be value. Things that add, not subtract. Things such as unparalleled market knowledge, connections beyond compare (have you heard of this designer?!), great marketing, premium photography (forever fan boying Vogel Creative) and standout staging (LOVE Scena).

 2  Don't put a sign out front if you don't want to. Sometimes you want to be discreet and give it a-go without flashing your stuff to all the neighbours. If someone is in-market to buy a house they will find you on the multiple listing service. Unless you are on the corner of King and James (with the benefit of traffic exposure) the sign is more realtor-serving than seller-serving. 

 3  Ditto for agent open houses. I'm not saying these don't create some early market-buzz, but I'd rather bust my butt getting my home show-ready for an actual buyer. Maybe I'm jaded because I have three kids and the less showings, the less FMLs.

Staging by SCENA
 4  Double ditto for public open houses. These can also be more realtor-serving vs. seller-serving. I'm a big believer of, "if you list it, they will come." Yes, there is such a thing as impulse shopping, but more likely on a checkout chocolate bar than 3.5% interest on a $500,000+ mortgage. And be warned, recreational open-housers are real. From the likes of neighbours looking for comps, to the general public hoping to elevate their Sunday drive. Trust me on this one. I've been both. At the end of the day if a buyer has serious interest they will, in almost all cases, request a private showing. Here they can soak it all in vs. window shopping with a crowd. 

Staging by SCENA

 5  Build your marketing plan. Push your realtor beyond status quo. Because if you don't ask, you won't receive. I did exactly that when I wanted the 'legend' Tom Vogel (www.vogelcreative.com) to shoot my home the first time. His photos populate 90% of my blog images and I love him because his camera elevates homes from ordinary to extraordinary. The end result is akin to capturing the sparkle in someone's eye. Every shot makes me want to buy. Every. Single. One. What's not to love? My go-to-agent didn't always use him, but I made it clear it was a deal breaker. It wasn't a hold up but rather putting all my cards on the table before we decided to play. Just remember, every hand is going to be different and you aren't always going to need the same cards (sometimes you need staging ... sometimes you don't). But when you're missing a certain card don't be afraid to ask for another one from your realtor's deck (and don't be afraid to ask for an Ace over a Jack). It just may be the one that helps you win the game. 

All photos by Tom Vogel, www.vogel-creative.com

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