What a seller’s broker can do for you.
By Shia Getter
When putting your apartment up for sale, the big question is whether you should take an exclusive agent, or not. While there are definite advantages to exclusivity, there is another option that will land you all the benefits of exclusivity, plus the bonuses of more publicity. And that is a seller’s broker, also called a listing broker.
A listing broker is the agent of the seller; he is working for you and representing your best interests. By law he has a fiduciary duty to you, which means he cannot buckle under pressure to close the deal so he can walk away with his fee; his first obligation is to your money, and therefore he will only sell the house for the right price to the right person. A listing broker knows the market and will guide you in setting your asking price, as well as the lowest price you should accept if necessary. A real estate agency on the other hand is interested solely in the profit they make from the sale – in other words, they just want to close the deal. They may therefore come back to you with a too-low offer, and convince you it’s worthwhile for you.
A good seller’s broker will offer an extensive marketing campaign, including advertising in relevant papers, on real estate sites, around the neighborhood, etc., to agencies and potential buyers. He or she will sit down with you and delineate these steps for you, and then come back with regular updates so you can keep abreast of how the search is progressing, what steps have been taken to market the apartment, how many people are interested, the bidding, as well as changes in the price.
He can show your apartment to numerous agencies, so that you effectively have hundreds of people working for you simultaneously. Giving over your apartment exclusively to one agency will significantly reduce the chances of selling, as that agency wants to be the ones to close on the deal themselves.
A good seller’s broker understands how to prepare the home for sale, staging the home to showcase its advantages. Details such as furniture layout can be very effective in making the apartment look more attractive and spacious, which will facilitate the selling process. He, or a professional on his team, will be able to suggest those subtle improvements that will boost your apartment’s value and give it that edge, without wasting your money on extras. This is part of the job description of a professional seller’s broker, so before contracting, find out if he has this experience, or, alternatively, works with a staging professional or interior designer.
When taking advantage of the full service provided by a broker, you can enjoy the security of knowing your apartment is safe and looked after. You give the house key to the broker who will hold on to that key and accompany all clients who view the apartment. (Before contracting with a broker, check on this, and other points, to make sure he is professional.) You don’t have to keep track of who has your key, and you can rest assured that no one is going in unauthorized; your apartment is not a free-for-all.
Haggling with potential buyers can be an exhausting experience. You may underprice the apartment, either due to pressure, or without realizing the value of the apartment. But if you have a broker representing you, he will do the negotiating for you. For one thing, he will check into potential buyers at the outset to see if they are serious, if the necessary funds are in place to buy the house, whether or not a mortgage has been authorized. A seller’s broker is also accustomed to buyers trying to underpay, and when the time comes, will only go through with a deal that is worth your while.
Because the seller’s broker is your agent, he keeps your benefits at the front of his mind and wants to ensure that agencies are working to find potential buyers. This is different than when you go with a real estate agency and you don’t know how many people they are really taking to see the apartment. They may advise you to reduce the price by ₪100,000 because they have a willing buyer, claiming that they have already shown it to ten people and no one wants it. However, chances are, this isn’t accurate, since, remember, their goal is to close the deal and get their commission. A broker working directly for you is not limited to any one real estate agency, and is under no pressure to give up the apartment for less than its actual value.
Shia Getter is the CEO of the Shia Getter Group, a full-range real estate services firm in Jerusalem catering to the Anglo-Charedi Community. He is a noted expert, columnist, and author of Everything You Need to Know about Buying Real Estate in Israel (Feldheim 2014). He and his professional team are Israel’s one and only true seller’s and buyer’s brokerage. They provide a unique service by managing and maintaining your apartment and being completely responsible for the entire buying or selling process.
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