Jeff Escher - Homes Near Metro
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Sellers Frequently Asked Questions

What geographic areas do you cover?

 My area specialization is "Homes Near Metro". That includes Montgomery County and NW DC including Rockville, Bethesda, Gaithersburg, North Potomac, Germantown, Clarksburg, Montgomery Village, Potomac, Chevy Chase, Takoma Park, Dupont Circle, Downtown DC, Silver Spring and nearby areas.  I will also often go in to Frederick and Howard Counties.

 I have knowledge of many of the popular neighborhoods in Montgomery County including  King Farm, Fallsgrove, Lakelands, Kentlands, Washingtonian Center, Clarksburg Town Center, Rockville/Twinbrook, Fountain Hills, Kingsview Village, Milestone, Villages of Urbana, Tuckerman/Grosvenor - just to name a few.

 Areas that I do not personally work in, but partner with other Realtors include Northern Virginia, Annapolis, Ocean City, Ocean Pines.

 Regardless of which area your property is located, I have the resources to provide you information on recent sales, market trends, active competition and much more.

Are you full-time or part-time?

I have worked full time as a Realtor since 2002. This is my career - I'm not dabbling in the business to make a extra money and I have no other commitments that will limit my responsiveness! I work 7 days a week, 24 hours a day (or so it seems!) I am available to meet with my clients weekdays, evenings or weekends. 

How many clients do you work with at one time?

I am not a high-volume agent (by choice). My sales goal for the year is $5 million. That translates to about 15 transactions a year.  I typically limit my active buyer clients to 3-4 at a time.  For listings, I only have four lockboxes! Listings are much less time-intensive than working with buyers, so it's not a strech of resources to add a listing to my workload.  But don't worry, if I feel my availability will be compromised by taking on new clients, I will refer you to another Realtor. 

What's your average market time? What percentage of the homes you listed has sold?

Since the market has changed drastically over the past year, these kind of statistics should be considered with caution. They are not necessarily reflective of the agents performance and marketing plans. It was much easier selling a home when it was a Sellers Market than in the Buyers Market of 2008. So, it's necessary to compare an individual agents record to the market average.

Historically, my listings have always beat the market average. In 2008, my listings sold in an average of 45 days at 2% under list price - compared to 90days/6% county-wide.  In 2006, my homes sold in an average of 36 days at just 1.25% under list price. (compared to a county average of over 60 days and 5% under list !)   In 2005, it was under 10 days and 2% over list price.

I've only had one house that didn't sell and was re-listed by another agent. (Actually, the house eventually had 3 more listing agents after me before it finally sold!)

Another agent says they can sell my house for a higher price. 

Many sellers choose their agent based on who quotes them the highest sale price for their home. Unfortunately, these sellers have fallen prey to the oldest real estate scam around - "buying the listing". In truth, Realtors have NO control over price. If you talk to five agents about what your home is worth, you will likely get five different values. Why? Because all Realtors can really do is research the comps and make a guess as to what a buyer will likely pay. That's right - the person who really makes the decision on what the house is worth is the BUYER!  And if you were a buyer, would you pay $10k more because Mary Houseseller has the listing? Of course not! 

Ultimately the final price decision is yours. I will always give you a range of pricing options to consider (Agressive, Market Value, Sell-It-Fast).  I am also part of a Task Force of agents that collectively offer pricing opinions - the team is happy to visit your home to help you with making pricing decision.  However, due to the out-of-pocket expenses of marketing, if I do not feel the price you seek is obtainable, I will not list your home. 

What can you offer that your competitors cannot?
How will you find me buyers?

  If you are comparing good listing agents, chances are the marketing plans are going to look pretty similar. I am aware of that and am constantly trying to add new products and services to my marketing plan. As an E-PRO Realtor, my specialty is multimedia marketing. With many statistics showing buyers increasingly moving to the web to find a home - and realtors unable to reach these buyers - I can offer you a real difference.  I am confident no agent can compare to my online marketing campaign.  My listings statistics have always beat the market average for days-on-market and % sold price to list price.

 I design specific marketing programs for each property I represent. Every property is unique and needs to be marketed as such. I determine who the most likely buyer would be and how to best locate that buyer.   I have an incentive to getting your home sold - if it doesn't sell, I'm out thousands of dollars in marketing expenses! In fact, I don't believe I can sell every home out there! If I don't think I can get your home sold, I will tell you.

I will not promise you I will sell your property in x amount of days for x amount of dollars. Together we will price the property fairly and agree on the best possible marketing plan. My promise to you is to do what I say I will do. I promise to keep you informed at all times and to always work professionally and diligently to get the job done.

For more details about my Marketing Plan, see "The Difference".

Will you reduce your commission rate?

 There are several textbook answer I'm supposed to give you: "If an agent can't fight for their own commission, how willing will they be to fight for the best price for you?"., "What services don't you want me to provide?", or "You get what you pay for", among others. 

 I'm not going to play that game. 6 % is alot of money out of your equity! Too much, really!  I personally don't think the commission based structure is fair, it doesn't cost me more to market a $150,000 condo than it does to sell a $600,000 townhome. Unfortunately, that's the way of the industry. You're paying me, you deserve to know where your money is going!

So why do agents charge so much? Here's the truth - {roll violins} -  What many people don't realize is the entire commission check doesn't go in my pocket. Half goes to the buyers agent, another half goes to the broker, and if there was a referring agent - another 25-30% goes to that agent!  As an independent contractor, I get no company paid benefits and pay for health insurance and taxes out of my pocket four times a year. I will also pay all marketing expenses to get your home sold before ever seeing a dime. I typically spend between $500-700 a month on marketing my listings. Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining! Realtors can make a great income! But it's no where near the money people think we're pocketing! I'm really not a greedy person and I'm sympathetic to you making as much on your sale as possible, but I can't work for free!  {end violins}

So, what does this mean to you? I believe in being fair. The commission rate I will quote you for the listing side will be based on the sale price, estimated time on the market, and my labor time and expenses for the marketing plan needed to get your home sold. You can choose what you'd like to pay the eventual Buyers Agent (assuming there is one). If you are also looking to buy a home and choose to have me represent you as a buyers agent on your purchase, I get paid for both sales. In that case, I will offer a substantial discount on the listing commission rate. 

The final overall rate is generally between 4.5% and 6%. I believe that is very fair and competitive considering the marketing services I will provide.

I need an agent that has sold homes in my neighborhood.

  No, you don't! This is one of those "inside secrets" of the industry. Making sellers think they need to hire an agent who only works in your neighborhood is purely a sales pitch devised by agents whose sole means of business is "farming" one or two neighborhoods!

   If we want to get technical, it's the BUYERS who need an buyers agent familiar with your neighborhood. It makes no difference to a good listing agent what neighborhood your home is in - a good marketing plan will work anywhere.  What should matter to you is my experience and ability to get you top dollar in a time frame that meets your needs and make sure that it all happens properly, professionally, and with no stress to you.

  No one knows your home better than you. It's your agent's job to ask the things you love about your home and convert that into marketing toward buyers.

Another agent has other listings in the neighborhood, shouldn't I list with her?

Sure, if you don't mind your agent having no incentive to sell your home over your neighbors! An agent with multiple listings cannot legally/ethically tell an interested buyer why the other home they represent isn't as good as yours. If you choose an agent that doesn't have competing listings, they can tell the buyer the downsides to other properties!

Another agent has a team to support him.

   While there are benefits to a team when you are buying a home, my advice is to ask your friends and neighbors about their experiences with realtor teams. It might not be what you are expecting. Realtors who have a staff do a lot of business - which is a good thing! But, it's typically a business that's focus is on getting a high-volume of listings, where they can afford to let your listing expire. They will tell you their marketing has better exposure - but how will your home stand out from the competition when its lumped in with twenty other listings in an ad?  Once you sign the paperwork, usually what happens is the agent moves on to getting another listing. An assistant will be setting up the marketing, responding to your calls, and even possibly responding to buyers inquires. My opinion is that you are hiring me, I should be there for you. By working alone, I can keep total control over the transaction. I always know what is going on. "The buck stops here!"

I have a friend/relative who is a realtor.

(response coming soon)

Do you have a question about Selling? Email me your questions!

Jeff Escher of Long and Foster Real Estate, Inc. Rockville, Maryland - Homes Near Metro.  Real estate in Montgomery County, Rockville, Gaithersburg, King Farm, Kentlands, Lakelands and Silver Spring
Jeff Escher
Office 301.548.9700
Direct 301.519.1709
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Long & Foster Realtors®
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