In my opinion, having professional photos taken may be the most important part of selling your home.
Do some agents promise the seller they will get an impossibly high price for them, then wait while it languishes on the market, wearing down the seller until they agree to lower the price? Maybe…When they get an offer, any offer, do they pressure the seller to take it, using fear as a motivator? The best way to prevent this scenario, is to be educated as a seller. Don’t base your price on how much you need to get. Instead, try to understand the market conditions, competing inventory and comps and buyer demand, then work with your agent on a strategy. If you can find an agent who listens to you, and you are informed and have your own sense of the market, you can work together to determine appropriate pricing.
Find an agent who will take the time to listen to you regarding the great points about the property and area, then let them market it. The photos and descriptive text are not about providing a complete inventory of every single aspect of the home. It’s about presenting it to the market in a way that people are drawn to it, for whatever reason. You can’t know where your buyer will come from, and you can’t know what they want, how they interpret things, or what they already know about the area or even the property type. A good agent will present the property to the marketplace in a way that it has the widest possible appeal.
Agents are notorious about copying the good ideas of other agents when it comes to marketing. Sellers too can fall into wanting what everybody else has. But to stand out, you want to actually be different than the others. Although there is herd mentality involved in real estate, that does not mean that everybody wants the same thing. A good agent will be creative and innovative in how they spin the appeal of your home or property, although it is only a matter of time before another agent will be copying their approach or technique, if it is a good one.
Agents you interview may brag of how many buyers they have or how they are “connected”, can network, or can even maybe sell your property off the market. If they do, they will probably be doing the happy dance, but you may not be. The MLS is effective because all agents have access to it, as do all their buyers. Also, the SF MLS has something called an IDX feed, which is how the listings are fed to all the other sites such as Trulia, Zillow, Redfin, ZipRealty, Realtor.com, and so on. The theory is that the greater the number of buyers your property is exposed to, the greater the chance you will sell it, and at the highest possible price. It seems that unless a seller puts their property on the open market, it is hard to tell what it is really worth. And that whole idea about some agents having access to a network of better buyers is a very old model. You just don’t know where your buyer will come from, and limiting your pool of buyers to people your agent knows is not going to be in your best interest. The old model of superior social standing equaling access to fancy buyers is a very old model, one from before the advent of the internet…
So a great place to start when selling is to be certain that you work with an agent to price properly, have professional photos taken and let the agent market it, and make sure the agent is exposing the property to the greatest number of buyers possible.
Here are two of my recent listings, both of which sold for well over asking:
A 1-bed TIC in NOB HILL:
And a studio in Yerba Buena Museum District: