Choosing a real estate agent to sell a home is an important decision. With the recent economic downturn still on most people’s minds, many people are tempted to forego using a realtor altogether. However, the right agent can net more income from the sale of your property and can sell it quicker.
While realtors have customers knocking on their doors to be shown homes, lone sellers have to redouble their efforts to publicize their home’s availability. Also, homeowners have to be available at various times for showing the home. Then, there is time wasted on the lookie-loos, people who may be looking for homes beyond their budget or who are hoping to lowball you on price. Probably the worst experience could be a legal entanglement over a technicality that a realtor is trained to avoid.
While the commission from the sale of a home seems like a large expense, you are actually paying for years of experience. The usual amount of commission for a realtor is six percent ($6,000 on a $100,000 home), to be split equally between the listing agent and the selling agent.
For a budget-conscious consumer, $6,000 is a lot of money, especially when so many of us are counting pennies. Because of this, many people choose to go the For-Sale-By-Owner route to keep more of their hard-earned cash. Going it alone can be an option if you have lots of experience with home sales. However for the average consumer, going it alone can be quite risky and should be avoided.
So, how do you find a compatible real estate agent? Well, you could start with the person who sold you the home in the first place. If you liked that person, your search is over, but if you had rather not go back with that realtor, ask your friends who have recently sold homes in your area. Or, you could contact an agency with a Relocation Specialist who knows the agents and can suggest a few agents for you to interview.
Ideally, you should interview a few real estate agents because you are hiring the agent to sell your home. Most people don’t think of their relationship with a realtor in those terms, but that is really what it is. The realtor works for you to sell your home and looks out for your best interest during and even after the sale.
Another thing you also want to consider is where the agent sells the most homes. Sure, anyone can pull the prices of comparable sales in the area, but an agent that actively works your area knows the houses in the area and how your house compares to them. With that knowledge, an agent can best advise you on asking price and help you with negotiating when the time comes.
Also, a real estate agent needs to be very familiar with your neighborhood and the benefits of living there. A knowledgeable agent knows more about the area than just what’s contained in the description and can answer any question a seller might ask: Where’s the nearest grocery store? The best gym? What are the people like who live here? Do they get together for community celebrations or block parties? You can also fill your agent in on some of the nuances you have observed and enjoyed while living there.
One of the most important details is the agency with which the realtor is affiliated. Choose an agency with an excellent reputation. Check to see if it has won any national or international awards from realty associations. Recognition from organizations that evaluate agencies is a great indication that the agency places great emphasis on customer service and satisfaction.
Probably one of the most important considerations is how your property will be advertised. Since research has determined that the majority of people start a real estate search on social media, you should check to see if your potential agents have a real estate business page on major social media networks. The agency should have an active social media presence, as well. Check to see if these social media sites are regularly updated, or if it has been weeks or even months since the last posting. An agency with an active social media presence is keeping up with the latest developments in marketing and will provide the greatest exposure for your property.
A knowledgeable agent can save you time and speed the sale of your property. Also, the agent has the experience to prevent you from many of the pitfalls of selling a home. Choosing a real estate agent to sell your home is the first move you should make when it comes time to sell your home.