The Minneapolis real estate market has not only seen an influx of buyer activity the past three years, but there has also been a significant increase in the number of people seeking to obtain their real estate license to grab “a piece of the pie”. The National Association of Realtors reports that over the past 5 years, membership in NAR has increased 65%. What does this mean in terms of service to home sellers? For one, an increase in lack of experience and knowledge for what it takes to sell a home.

I find myself aggravated every now and then by the lack of customer service I see in the industry, so I decided to compile the top 5 mistakes real estate agents make.

1) Failure to educate sellers – the Minneapolis metro area has become a big buyer’s market. More homes are being listed everyday, but fewer homes are being sold. I repeatedly see, however, homes being listed at prices of a year ago. Agents are not properly educating sellers that the market has shifted and one can no longer list high. Sellers need to understand that your home could possibly be worth $100,000 less than a year ago!

2) Lack of Photos – I cannot tell you how aggravating it is to me, let alone my buyers, when I see a home that looks interesting online, only to find the listing agent has taken no other photos except a front shot of the home. They write in the remarks, however, how beautiful the home is inside. Another failure I have witnessed is photos taken, but the pictures are crooked or poorly lit. This example does not add to the beauty of the home either and will quickly be passed over by internet buyers.

3) Not enhancing listings on the most searched real estate website, Realtor.com –
for only a small yearly fee, Realtors can “enhance” their listings by adding multiple photos, showcasing the homes, and writing detailed descriptions for the public to read. Realtor.com reports that listings on their website with multiple photos are viewed 300% more often than those without.

4) Lack of a Marketing Plan – repeatedly I enter a listing presentation in which the sellers have interviewed other agents and find I am the only agent with an actual written marketing plan. I have asked sellers in the past what the other agents are offering, but they cannot recall any details. A marketing plan not only spells out to sellers exactly what you do to sell a home, but shows that you are true professional in the field.

5) Not Returning Phone Calls or Emails – with our technology driven world and need for immediate answers, I am constantly amazed at the lack of response from fellow real estate agents. I hear repeatedly from buyers and sellers contacting me via phone or email, that I am usually the only agent out of four that has returned their message. I make it a rule to respond the same day and no more than 24 hours later. Clients are not alone…I, too, call agents that have shown my listings (in order to receive helpful feedback on the buyers thoughts) and only have about 20% of the agents return my phone call.

Please remember that these are mistakes I have seen other agents make over the last few years. Not all agents are perfect, but there are more inexperienced agents in the business than ever before and it is good to be cautious when choosing a Realtor to market your home. Also, please remember, number of years in the business has nothing to do with experience level. An agent that has sold homes for only 5 years might have more transactions under her belt than an agent that has 20 years “experience”.