Choosing a Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home
Selecting a Listing or Selling Agent
To many people, a real estate agent is nothing more than a salesperson. A good agent, however, should be more than that. The best in the business wear many hats: consultant, trouble-shooter, negotiator, and, yes, marketing expert. So how does a homeowner choose the right broker?
Ask Around, Look Around: Shopping for a Listing Agent
Start by asking friends, family and colleagues if they recommend anyone. Someone who has had a good experience will often make a referral. Look around the neighborhood, too. Whose signs do you see? Agents with experience in a particular area often have better knowledge about localized prices, issues and buyer preferences. If referrals and neighborhood experts can’t be found, fear not. Consult the Internet and select two or three agents from different companies for the next step.
Interviewing Potential Real Estate Agents
Employers don’t hire the first prospect they interview, so why should homeowners? Arrange two or three interviews, and be frank about this process – most worthy agents don’t mind the competition. Try to schedule the appointments within two weeks, so each experience remains fresh in memory. Take notes, and then compare the pros and cons.
Typically, a broker will visit the house on a fact-finding mission and analyze a price range before making the official marketing presentation on a separate occasion.
Marketing, Marketing, Marketing
Many agents will tout their experience. Others will brag about the size of their company. Some will pledge their complete devotion. All of this is important, but if potential buyers don’t know your home is for sale, nothing else matters.
Ask for a written marketing plan to which the agent can be held accountable. This plan should feature the standards: a yard sign and entry of the home into the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). But what about advertising? These days, most buyers look for homes on the Internet. Recent surveys suggest fewer than 20 percent of buyers in the past few years have found their homes through traditional print media such as newspapers and magazines. Make sure the broker has a specific Internet strategy to complement traditional marketing methods.
Ask for References
Just as an employer would interview multiple candidates, so would they ask for references. Of course, it’s OK if you really don’t want to speak to complete strangers about their last home sale. At least ask for the references. If an agent can’t provide a few names, this might suggest two things: They aren’t organized enough to have references ready, or their past clients may not have had good experiences.
It’s Not About Price (Sort of)
Nobody wants to sell their home for less than what it’s worth, but choosing an agent should never boil down to picking the highest bidder. When an agent estimates the value of a home, they use data culled from recent home sales, homes currently on the market, and “expired” or “withdrawn” listings that were on the market but didn’t sell for some reason.
Unfortunately, some agents might massage the numbers to make a house look as valuable as possible in hopes of obtaining the listing. The problem with this approach, of course, is that the house takes longer to sell. In the long run, this costs the homeowner additional mortgage payments, utilities and taxes… not to mention additional stress and inevitable price reductions. If you believe real estate agents have not priced your home correctly, consult an appraiser.
Trust Your Instinct
There’s more than one qualified real estate broker out there. Sometimes, it’s all about connecting with a person, and deciding they would be pleasurable to work with.
Use these tips as a starting point, but remember to always trust your instincts.
About the Author - Mark Vanderhoff
Mark Vanderhoff is a real estate broker with Keller Williams Realty. He helps sellers stand out among the competition and helps buyers take advantage of the opportunities. He also devotes himself to consumer education through his writings in various publications and holds free first-time homebuyer seminars.
Mark offers buyer and seller consultations at no cost and no obligation. He is also a certified Environmental Consultant who specializes in green building.
Asheville Real Estate Directory Listings
|Agencies and Agents||Appraisers||Architects|
|Land Surveyors||Mortgage Brokers||Property Management|