Steve Koerber's Old Blog

Remuera's house sold name since 1998 – 021864166

One agent, or two?

Posted by Steve Koerber on February 3, 2008

With so many real estate salespeople willing to help you sell, how do you know if you should list your home with one agent or with two or more agents.  Obviously I’m going to be biased here and you’d expect me to say that you should only list with one agent.  Mostly that’s true, but not always. 

If (dare I say it) you want a ridiculously high price for your home, list with lots of agents.  You might just get lucky.  You might not though.  Because I love to deal with realistic sellers I would prefer unrealstic sellers to give me a call BUT, only after a few months of lots of buyers and agents through, no offers presented, unsold.  Wanting to work with realistic sellers is not to say I want it easy.  Easy is nice, but how much present and future business do you think I would attract if all I did was easy sales at ho-hum prices?  Very little.

Some disadvantages of listing with two agents (or more) are as follows:

1.     Leading up to last Christmas I had a lovely villa listing with a keen seller.  It was jointly listed with another agent.  He wanted a big advertisment to be placed into the last Property Press in December.  The beauty of doing this is that, if you really want to sell and you’re worried the market will be quiet during the holidays,  that Property Press edition will attract any buyer looking during a four week period before the first January edition around the 15th.  To my horror, my joint agent’s horror and the sellers horror, the advertsiement he had paid for did not appear!  Crossed wires, poor communication and more ‘fingers in the pie’ than I am used to, caused much heartache.  My opinion is that if only one (good) agent was dealing with this home, the advertisement would have been placed and the home would have sold.

2.     A home listed with more than one agent becomes everyone’s care but no one’s responsibility.  When things go wrong, it’s easy to pass the blame onto the other agent, or to blame a ‘mis-communication’.

3.     It is better that one agent deals with all buyer enquiry.  With two or more, vital information can be missed and it could and does cost sellers money in the end.

4.     One agent will often be better than the other(s).  One will be more experienced and possibly more trustworthy than the others.  One will have done more deals and encountered many more problems, clauses, pitfalls, etc than the others.

5.     One agent will know your area and people within it, better than the others.

6.     One agent may not like the other and may be less than enthusiastic about working with them.  If you sense this, it is a major “alarm bell”.  Don’t appoint two agents that don’t gel together.

7.     The better agent will always feel like they are leading or training the less experienced agent(s).  They may need to walk on egg shells and explain their every move to other agent(s), simply to do their job.  Trust me I know, this is an uncomfortable feeling.  I like to do things my way.  My way works very well and I have the results to prove it.

8.     If you appoint, say, four agents, you will be doing this because you want to spread your net wider.   More agents, more buyers, right?  Have you noticed that the majority of savvy house sellers and especially the mega-expensive mansion owners only use one good agent.  There’s a very good reason for this.  They usually choose one agent that has come highly recommended to them via a friend or family member.   These sellers can’t be bothered with new agents, un-skilled agents, those with mixed results and questionable negotiating skills.  If you appoint an agent without doing thorough research beforehand, you might get lucky, but tread carefully.  Ask yourself this question – What would three for-sale signs on your front fence indicate to potential buyers?  It can hint at desperation.  If I was wanting to buy such a home I would deal with the least experienced and least effective agent.  I would love to have that choice.

Some advantages of listing with two agents (or more) are as follows:

1.     If you can’t find one agent that truly stands above the crowd, this a good option.  Aim to appoint the best of the bunch as your preferred agent within one week though.

2.     In the first week you may get a ‘widen your net’ type instant response with lots of buyers through.  If you’re not sold in that period, when in theory the hottest buyers have been through, you need to question your decision to “spread the net wide”.  Speak to the agent that ‘stands out from the crowd’ and get a proper plan in place before too many other buyers see your home and reject it. 

3.     If you must do this ‘spread your net wide’ approach in the first week, I recommend you don’t sign a listing agreement with any agent.  For one week give a few agents free reign and see who impresses you.  Use this week as a chance to interview, then select the right candidate for the job.

4.     If you were investing $1million dollars that you had just won from lotto, would you call an investment adviser from the Yellow Pages?  Maybe you would?  If this approach matches your risk profile (ie: you’re a big risk taker and wonder why you often have average financial experiences), don’t listen to any of the above advice and do what you were going to do anyway.



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