“Okay, so there are several caveats. First, Sue and I have been friends and colleagues long before she helped me sell my house. Second, some of this review is not just Sue herself, but her team, especially Dawn Preziosi, her transactions manager. Third, I’m likely not your typical consumer since I work in the industry and know too much.
Having said that, if you were going to sell your house in one of Sue’s markets, you’d have to come up with reasons why you wouldn’t ask her to take on the challenge. Kinda like how every time I think about buying a car, I start with, “Why shouldn’t I buy a Honda?” and go from there. You should start with, “Is there any reason why I shouldn’t use Sue?” She’s that good.
Local knowledge — there may be other agents who have a better pulse on what is going on with the market at any given time. I just don’t know them. She and her team handle so many listings, handle so many buyers, and are doing so many deals that they have a really, really good grasp of what’s going on, what buyers are thinking, what features are important, and which are not. She knows the towns, the neighborhoods, the schools, what it’s like to live there… pretty impressive for a Philly native. One piece of advice: if you’re going to list with Sue, just listen to her advice on pricing. You might think your house is one-in-a-million exception, but she has a far better grasp on the market than you do. You hire her for that knowledge and insight, so don’t argue with her.
Process expertise — between her and Dawn, possibility the best duo you want on your side. Ask Sue sometime about “bulletproofing the transaction” — the woman knows her stuff as it comes to what has to be done to get a deal done, what the steps are, and what creates demand. And Dawn may be the best “project manager” for a home sale you could find. She’s totally on top of every single step.
Responsiveness — maybe it’s because we’re friends, but I doubt it. Keeping in mind that she is busy pretty much all the time, speaks nationally (internationally even) at huge major conferences, and so on, Sue is pretty much always available. And Dawn even more so. I recommend email and text messages, actually, rather than phone calls because they’re usually running around doing something, but they get back to you in a hurry. Doing the sale from Texas, there were some parts of the transaction where communication could have gotten fouled up; they were on top of the issues and smoothed everything out.
Negotiation skills — since I wasn’t on the phone listening to Sue negotiate, I have no way of judging this. But consider the result: I did not have to sell. We had great tenants in the place already. We would have been happy to just hold on to it as an investment property. But I got the price and terms I wanted, so I did. If results are an indication of negotiation skills, then you got nothing to worry about.
The Extras — there needs to be a star rating for this. Let’s just say that Sue and Dawn went way, way, way above and beyond what you’d expect from a real estate agent. Two examples come to mind. First, we had moved away and the house was vacant, when we got hit with a NJ snowstorm. We didn’t actually know who to call to arrange for the driveway and sidewalk to be shoveled so the house can be shown. Well, Sue got her husband (I believe) to actually take a shovel out to our house and have it shoveled. Not just once, but twice. Might have been three snowstorms, actually. Would your agent do that for you? Second, the cleaners we had hired did not do the greatest job in the kitchen; we got a call from Dawn that the oven was not cleaned as well as it should, and the appliances were not exactly sparkling. Well, Ms. Preziosi went down there herself, personally, with scrubbing brushes in hand, and spent an hour on a Saturday morning cleaning our frikkin’ oven by hand so the house was ready to be shown. That’s… well, you tell me if your agent would do THAT for you.
So, like I said, if you’re going to sell in Millburn, Short Hills, or any of her other markets… you should come up with a good reason why you wouldn’t want to use Sue and her team.”
Robert Hahn Managing Partner 7DS Associates personal blog: www.notorious-rob.com