Whether you’ve already sold a home or it’s your first rodeo, a knowledgeable real estate agent can provide important assistance. But with so many to choose from – the National Association of Realtors has 1.5 million members and counting – it can be difficult to choose the best agent for your specific needs. Here’s everything you need to know when looking for a real estate agent to sell your home.
Benefits of Hiring a Listing Agent
You don’t have to hire a real estate agent to sell your home. However, it’s probably better to work with an agent for a number of reasons. The right agent can help you value your home properly, market it effectively, and increase your chances of making the highest dollar in the transaction. They can help you prepare your home for viewing before it is listed and then help you screen listings from potential buyers afterwards. Seller’s agents — also called listing agents because they manage the listing — also handle several other aspects of the home selling process, including:
Make sure you do your due diligence to find an agent that fits your needs and expectations.
You could spend hours online looking for real estate agents in your area, but it might be wiser to ask friends and family for recommendations first.
You are looking for agents who not only know the local market but also have experience with the type of home you are selling. (You wouldn’t want to hire someone to sell your 4 bedroom home only to find out they specialize in condos!) A good agent will understand exactly what you are selling, including comparisons to similar homes recently sold in sold in the area.
You also want someone with specific experience in, or at least close to, your exact area. Watch out for “For Sale” or “Sold” signs in your neighborhood – the real estate agents representing these listings might be worth contacting, especially if they have a track record locally.
real estate commissions
It might be tempting to just choose the agent that charges the lowest commission fee. But that can backfire for a seller: realtors put in a lot of work to earn those fees, and in return, the seller ideally gets the best possible price for their home. The amount you pay in commission will likely be much less than the amount you could lose if your agent doesn’t research, price correctly, or market the home effectively. In other words, you get what you pay for.
Interview multiple candidates
Don’t settle for a remedy that only looks good on paper. Conduct multiple interviews and ask questions that will help you make an informed decision. John Myers, a real estate agent with Myers & Myers in Albuquerque, New Mexico, recommends that you first research each agent’s type of experience in the current market — including their recent sales volume.
“You do not want that [just] hear they’ve been in the real estate business for more than 20 years,” says Myers. “Years of service don’t mean much. The real estate market is constantly changing and you want an agent who is active in the market and knows what is happening. The market is changing as we speak.”
Also, ask each agent how they would resolve difficult situations with potential buyers. They want someone who knows how to react when problems arise to ensure the deal gets to the closing table. Communication is another important factor to consider. Does the agent have a preferred method of communication and does it match yours? How quickly do they respond to inquiries? If an agent has subpar communication skills, the transaction is unlikely to go smoothly.
Request a few references from each agent and reach out to them to discuss their experiences. Be sure to inquire about the services provided, the agent’s level of communication, and whether their methods were effective. You could also ask if there was anything the agent could have done to provide a better experience. If you wish, you can even check agent license status online.
Hire the best real estate agent for you
The final step in this process is to hire the listing agent that best suits your needs. Before signing on the dotted line, read the agreement in its entirety to ensure you understand the terms and timeline. Also, reiterate your expectations to confirm that you are both on the same page. In the end, the right agent for you is the one you click with and trust.