Choosing an Agent to Sell Your Home
Your home may be your biggest investment, holds the most equity but you also have an emotional attachment to it. Choosing the agent to handle the sale of your home should not be taken lightly. Here are some things to consider when hiring a listing agent.
Finding A Realtor
Just because your uncle’s brother’s cousin is in real estate, does not mean you have to hire them. There may be some hurt feelings but there is a lot to consider when choosing the person to sell your home. So don’t automatically assume you have to hire the family Realtor.
Buuuut, the family Realtor or the good friend that is also a Realtor may be a really good choice! Some choose to keep “business” and personal separate, but like I mentioned above, selling your home is emotional, stressful and life changing. Who is going to understand your needs, wants, and fight harder for you than a good friend or family member?
Many sellers find their Realtors from referrals from friends and family. Talk to someone you know that recently bought or purchased a home in the area you’re looking. Ask them what they thought of their Realtor and if they’d recommend them.
If you can’t get a referral for a Realtor in the community you’re looking in, resort to the Google search. Search “(insert community here) Realtor.” Read their bio’s, reviews and testimonials.
Some may not need to interview Realtors. You may already know them well, worked with them in the past or they got a glowing review from friends or family. But in case you’re in the “Google search” realm or unsure about the referral you were given, it’s totally within your right to interview as many Realtors as you like.
You should “mesh” with your Realtor. This sounds hokey but let’s be real…you’re going to get to know each other real well and spend a lot of time together. If your Realtor rubs you the wrong way, or the meeting is strained, it might be beneficial to see how your next interview goes.
Good Realtors listen. Good Realtors won’t talk over you and will ask a lot of questions. Our job is to get to know you and what you need and pair that with our knowledge and expertise. This is a great example of ‘one size does not fit all.’ Not all sellers want the same things, Realtors need to tailor their marketing and home selling plan to the seller’s wants and needs.
Your Realtor should come prepared. They should have information about them, their company, statistics and knowledge of the market and information about comparable homes. They should also know homebuyer trends and how the market is moving in your area.
Most Realtors are not interior designers, but should be able to tell you what you should do to your home to increase buyer demand. They work with enough buyers to know what turns them off. Don’t be offended if they tell you to fix, repair, paint, replace something. They’re trying to get you the most money for your home.
They should have a solid marketing plan. Hopefully you don’t choose a Realtor who operates under the “PPP” method: Put in MLS, Put a sign in the yard and Pray. Your Realtor should be able to articulate their marketing timeline and where they spend their marketing dollars.
Choose a Realtor that is honest, even if it’s not what you want to hear. It’s hard for homeowners to hear what might deter buyers from their home. It’s also hard to hear that it might not be worth as much as they thought. Regardless, the Realtor should be honest and give you’re their expert opinion on price and marketability.
Your Realtor should have an extensive knowledge of the community. They should know what homes have sold for, what homes are still active, where the schools and parks are, what the community amenities are, the different subdivisions and their qualities, what draws buyers to that area, etc. It’s a bonus if they’re involved in this specific community too and have a network they can market your home to. However, just because an agent does live in your particular community does not mean they are not qualified to sell your home. Some Realtors list and sell homes in neighboring towns/cities than their own, but they will still know more about those communities than some of the residents!
Now that you have a signed listing contract, what can you expect from your Realtor?
My motto is “Always do what you say you’re going to do. Sometimes more, but never less.” Your Realtor should follow through on everything they explained to you at the listing appointment. Your marketing plan should be in full effect and your home active on the MLS when they tell you it will be.
Open communication. Between showings, feedback, contractor inspections, open houses, offer deadlines, contingencies, etc., your Realtor should be in frequent contact with you. You should always know what the next steps are. If your home is on the market for a while, you should still hear from your Realtor frequently. Your Realtor should be keeping you up to date with what’s going on in the market, any comparable homes that have sold or come on the market and working with you to entice more buyers to come through your home. Remember, not every home flies off the market right away. Some price points or areas take longer to sell.
Offer Guidance. You might get one offer or you might get five. Your Realtor should be able to articulate the pros and cons of each. Once you accept an offer, you should expect that your Realtor keep you informed every step of the way and when it comes time to make a decision, will give you the benefits or disadvantages of each option.
Things get handled. Real Estate transactions can be minefields. There are surprises and some issues that come out of nowhere. Your Realtor should be able to handle whatever arises and come up with solutions to the problem. As the seller, it will ultimately be your decision how major problems are solved but you aren’t in this alone and the Realtor should be able to guide you through.
They sell your home. If the Realtor follows their marketing plan and works hard to sell your home (assuming the home is priced right) it shouldn’t be long before you have an offer to work with. However, it’s very difficult to sell a home that is priced too high. Consult with your Realtor often to make sure you are priced in line with your competition.