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The sale of one’s home is often the most important financial transaction of their life. It can be a deeply personal, emotional experience, so it’s no wonder that the past year has seen the rise of homes for sale by owner (FSBO) in some markets. While it has not been a trend in the Greenwich market in which I work—the diversity of our housing stock and the 50 square mile breadth of our community means that sellers have always recognized the value of using a local real estate expert—the overall rise of FSBOs means that now, more than ever, agents need to demonstrate their value.
Every property, no matter the price point, deserves a professional Realtor as an advocate—it’s just a matter of communicating that value to the clients.
Marketing yourself and your property pays off
An agent must be able to promote and validate their own skill set while illustrating that their real estate firm is capable of providing the needed framework for successfully marketing the property. I believe a case study approach can resonate with many clients and can educate them at the same time. As a Sotheby’s International Realty agent, I am fortunate to have the world’s best marketing platform in the real estate business at my disposal. The combination of our proprietary publications, our unique relationship with Sotheby’s auction house, and our award-winning Sotheby’s International Realty website give me the upper hand when illustrating my value.
Marketing is about getting the property in front of the right buyers, and that is where Sotheby’s International Realty excels.
Highlight your repeat clients and referrals
I believe it is imperative to highlight repeat clients and referrals. When a client uses you again and again, it is evidence that you have been a “good investment.” When they refer you to a friend or family member, it reinforces that you added value.
I am results-driven. My prowess is best illustrated by my past transactions and the accolades I’ve received from clients, so it’s important to always ask for testimonials. Clients want to know that you have the experience needed for their property, and that when put to the test, you perform.
Emphasize your own skill set and expertise
The real estate sales process can be challenging even in the best of markets, and this is especially true when the seller and buyers are inexperienced. Almost everyone I have encountered who contemplated selling their own home quickly realized that they needed professional help. They soon discovered they were not equipped to market their home, show their own home, or to accurately evaluate the competition. They quickly grew to appreciate the magnitude of the task and the valuable skill sets required to be a successful Realtor.
Professional agents are just that—people who transact regularly in the real estate market. They are licensed, trained, and know the ins and outs of buying and selling properties, and this knowledge only grows with experience. It’s our job to facilitate the sales process from the initial launch through to a seamless closing while handling the critical details along the way. I work with both buyers and sellers, which gives me insight into how every transaction will play out, no matter who I am representing. Having worked in finance for almost 20 years prior to becoming a Realtor, my strong financial background and business acumen has enabled me to handle even the most challenging transactions and negotiations.
It’s also important to remind clients that they need to work with a Realtor who knows their specific location and is well versed in the market price point of their home. This market intel allows their Realtor to appropriately position their home to sell at the highest possible price in the shortest period of time.
Monitor FSBOs in your market
Ultimately, most FSBOs fail. In this way, FSBOs themselves can often turn into the biggest advocates for Realtors as the sellers learn first-hand how hard agents work and that the job is far from easy. If FSBOs are a large part of your market, it’s a good idea to keep track of them and their rate of success. Do they actually close? Are they achieving good results? I think research would show that paying a real estate commission is well worth it in all market conditions.
When it comes down to it, a savvy seller will recognize that a business transaction of this importance and complexity should be handled by a seasoned and professional Realtor. Communicating to clients that the investment of a commission will be well worth it when they have secured the highest and best price, terms they can live with, and can move on to their next chapter is the best way to reduce FSBOs. It is, after all, impossible to put a price on peace of mind.
Committed to excellence and dedicated to unparalleled customer service, Leslie McElwreath has over 35 years of experience as a sales and marketing professional. Leslie’s singular results made her the #1 agent in the Town of Greenwich in both 2019 and 2020 per the Greenwich Multiple Listing System. Her career sales volume exceeds $1 Billion and her annual production places her in the top echelon of real estate agents in the United States.
Leslie is active in all aspects of residential real estate from listing homes and land to working with buyers and relocating families. Perseverance and focus allow Leslie to achieve extraordinary results in all market conditions and price ranges.