Selling a home can be a stressful process, but it doesn’t have to be. Finding the right realtor to represent you is the key to helping reduce the stress of the selling experience. Your home is likely one of your greatest financial assets and it is important to work with an agent who will understand that. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a real estate agent to list your home.
Decide what’s important to you
Prior to listing your home, it is important to consider your priorities. Is your main goal to sell your house quickly? Are you willing to let your house stay on the market a little bit longer if you can get the right price? Do you want a realtor who will communicate with you frequently or one who pretty much stays out of your way and just keeps you updated from time to time? How much commission are you willing to pay?
Research potential realtors
Talk with friends, family members, and co-workers in your area who have their homes on the market or who have recently sold a home to find out if there are realtors that they recommend. There are also Internet websites such as Homegain.com where you can research the sales records for agents in your area as well as read comments from other clients. In addition, you can request information and agents will send you proposals. You can also verify agent credentials by visiting sites such as Realtor.com. It is wise to choose an agent who is endorsed by the National Association of Realtors because they have a board that regulates them and they must abide by a strict code of ethics.
It may be tempting to hire a friend or family member who sells real estate, but this is something that should be considered carefully. Are you willing to risk losing a friendship or damaging a relationship if things don’t work out as planned?
Interview potential realtors
Once you have researched potential agents, select three or four to interview. If you are able to, it is helpful to conduct the interviews in person so that you can get a feel for the agent’s presentation and personality.
When you are interviewing a realtor, there are a few things to consider. First, find out what kind of experience they have. Questions may include: How long have you been working as a real estate agent? How many homes have you listed and sold in the last year? How many homes have you sold in my area? Ask for references from previous clients.
Ask about their availability. Do they work full time or part time? How will they communicate with you (phone, e-mail, etc.) and how often? What hours and days will they be available to communicate with you and to show your home to prospective buyers?
Next, find out what their marketing plan is. Will they list your home online? Do they rely more on printed publications such as ads in the newspaper or real estate magazines? Will they have an open house?
Ask for a comparative market analysis. A comparative market analysis typically includes list and sales prices for other homes in your area as well as detailed property descriptions and information about how long homes have been listed. Many realtors will come to an interview with a comparative market analysis already prepared, but if they don’t, be sure to get one.
Ask about their contract terms. How much of a commission will they ask for? Is this rate negotiable? How much commission goes to your agent and how much goes to the buyer’s agent? How long do you have to list your home with them? (60 or 90 days is typical)
Compare realtors and check references
Choosing a realtor is not a decision that should be made impulsively. Consider your priorities again and compare the different agents that you interviewed to see how they match up with your goals. Two common mistakes that sellers make are to select the realtor who provides the highest listing price or to select a realtor who asks for the lowest commission. If you price your home too high, other realtors will avoid showing it to prospective buyers and buyers who are searching online may not find your home in their search. The longer your home is on the market, the more desperate you may become to sell and you may end up accepting a much lower offer. In terms of commission, you may find out that you get what you pay for. If your commission rate is too low, agents may not have much incentive to work hard for you.
While you may have been blown away by an agent’s presentation, it is also important to check references. Contact clients who have recently completed sales to find out how they felt about their experience.
Select a realtor that meets your needs
Once you have found an agent that you feel will comfortable with, contact them so that you can sign a contract and list your home.