Find a Real Estate Agent to Help You Sell Your Home. It’s not difficult to find a good real estate agent if you do a bit of homework before you start interviewing people. Work through these steps to find an agent who will work with you to sell your home.
Research Real Estate Firms
- Which agency’s ads or websites are the most appealing?
- Which agencies consistently feature virtual tours on their websites?
- Do house descriptions make you want to schedule an appointment?
- Does the agency provide multiple photos of homes? Are they of good quality?
- Which agencies advertise in multiple publications?
- Was their website easy to find when you searched for homes for sale in your town?
- Does the agency offer an MLS search tool online to help potential buyers search for properties?
- Ask your friends for agent referrals. Have they worked with an agent who did a great job?
Once you have a list of agencies and agents, make an appointment with each one to learn more about their services. Find out if agents are willing to do a free comparative market analysis (CMA), a process that compares your home to similar homes that have sold recently. Agents use this tool to help sellers set listing prices.
- Ask agents to explain the marketing tactics that will be used to sell your house, including print, on his personal homepage and other types of advertising (you’ll already know much of this if you’ve done your research).
- Will the agent market your house in his website using virtual tours?
- Will the agent place your house in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) immediately? Making your home available to every affiliated agent greatly increases the buyer pool.
- Find out if the agency belongs to more than one MLS. In some areas there’s an overlap of popular neighborhoods, making multiple memberships important.
- What’s their commission rate? How does it compare to that of other agencies that offer the same services?
- Find out how long they want you to list with them, keeping in mind that the time is usually negotiable.
- What’s the average length of time it takes to sell a house in your area? What is their company’s average?
- How long has the (potential) listing agent been licensed to sell real estate?
- What percentage of the agency’s listings sell during the initial listing contract period?
- Buyer feedback is an important tool. If everyone makes the same negative comment, you should consider working on the problem. How often can you expect to receive buyer feedback? Weekly, twice a month, after every showing? Will the feedback be written?
- Will the agent hold an open house for other real estate agents? For buyers?
- How are showings handled? Will you receive advance notification that someone is coming? How much notice is typical? You can put restrictions on showings–certain days or times are off-limits–but that may cut down on the number of times your home is shown.
- If you have pets, make sure the agent is committed to a plan that ensures their safety. If it’s a dog that bites, you will need a plan for buyers safety, too.
Your Home Selling Costs
Ask agents to give you an estimate of typical seller closing costs.
- Attorney or other professional fees.
- The real estate commission.
- Any other expenses that sellers are typically expected to pay for. (surveys, inspections, certifications, etc.)
Ask any other questions you think are important, but your decision to hire an agent should be based in part on a gut feeling that the two of you can work together.