All too often I receive inquiries from a potential seller that is looking to “Get the Highest Price” for their property, but does not want to list it, or market the property. This seems counter intuitive as the basic law of economics is supply and demand. Although there is not much an average seller can do to affect the supply line, they can create demand by using a good agent.
I started my career in real estate auctions in the late 80’s through the mid 90’s. During that time, I was at first surprised when properties we took to auction (a method that was deemed as a “fire sale”) consistently sold for higher prices than neighboring properties, and in many cases sold at higher prices than what they were previously listed before going to auction. As I thought about it, it really did make sense, my economics classes in college explained exactly what was going on. The supply chain didn’t change, but by marketing the property, and creating a pent up demand the chances for a sale greatly increased.
We’ve seen this over and over the last few years in this current “Sellers” market. Almost to the point where we now receive as many calls from investors saying they only want to look at “off market” deals, believing they will get a better price without other competing investors. So it seems pretty easy… If a seller wants the highest price, they need to make sure the property is actively exposed to as many people as might be interested in their asset. But how can a seller know if their agent is doing just that?
To ensure the greatest exposure for their property, and therefore the best likelihood for the highest price, a seller should make sure the agent they use to represent them does all of the following, not just market to their own buyers. After all, even if that agent has a buyer it doesn’t mean that the agent’s particular buyer will pay the highest price. A good agent will create a marketing plan to provide maximum exposure for the property, which will include:
Placing it in multiple Multiple Listing Services (CoStar, Loopnet, A.I.R, the Local MLS, etc..);
Contact every owner of like property within the surrounding few blocks to see if they are interested in acquiring additional investments in the area;
Send out email flyers to all of the local brokers, owners, and their own buyer lists;
Make direct contact with every buyer that has purchased an investment property within the last two years;
Make direct contact with every broker that represented a buyer that purchased an investment property in the area in the last two years.
This sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but a good agent will definitely do all of the above and more. Please do realize though that no experienced real estate agent is going to do any of the above if they are not insured a representation commission. So to ensure maximum exposure, and thus maximum returns, make sure you draft up and enter into a fair listing agreement that details out what the agent will do for you, and what type of compensation they can expect from a sale.