If you’ve decided to list your home for sale
you need to find the right real estate agent.
What does that mean, the “right” agent? Of course, if you’re selling, that means that you want someone to help you get the best possible sales price with the best possible terms. So how do you find an agent that can accomplish this for you? While it’s tempting to use Aunt Dottie or the nice man that you talk to at Starbucks, but for most people, this is one of the largest financial transactions of their lives and should be treated that way.
It’s time to do some homework. Selling a home is part skill and experience of the agent but it’s also marketing. At a minimum, you want an agent who has access to your local MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Today over 70% of buyers start their search on the Internet. You also want an agent with an online presence. Look at their websites and see if they have an independent online following of their own.
Once you’ve found an agent, or a couple of agents, that are active in your community, it’s time to meet them. There may or may not be a reason to interview more than one agent: you might find the first one gives you the right information and hire them right away.
What can you expect from the “right” agent?
The right agent will come prepared with information, data. While often an agent will try and tell the homeowner what they want to hear, the right agent will come prepared to talk intelligently about your home, neighborhood and market.
The right agent will bring a comprehensive market analysis and be able to explain the data it contains. They will be able to tell you if your market values are trending higher or lower and then show you the recent sales, current active listings, and pending values….and how these pertain to your own listing price.
It’s dangerous to choose an agent simply based on how high they think the list price should be. The truth is the listing price should be based on the market and your goals. Data will tell you how much inventory there is currently available, how quickly homes are selling and where you need to price your home to be competitive and to sell within your timeline.
Skills and Experience
This might seem tricky to determine…after all, won’t all agents tell you they are the best, more experienced agent in the area? Ask for the data to support these claims. The “right” agent should be able to bring a printout of their closed sales. See how many transactions they have really done.
If they are primarily a listing agent, then you can use this information to see how the final sales price compares to the initial listing price.
- How good are they at getting the highest possible price?
- How quickly did these sales close?
- Were most of them 30 days?
- Do they get transactions to close on time?
- How long are their listings typically on the market?
There is hard data available, if you know to ask for it
Finding the right agent for your home sale might seem daunting, mysterious…but it’s not. Ask for referrals from friends and family. Call the agents’ references and do your homework. You do want to find someone with whom you can communicate. You need a solid working relationship. But this is a large financial transaction and you need a working professional to help you manage your way through to the close. Finding the right agent is simply getting the right information.
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