Because your home is one of the largest investments you probably have, selecting a qualified agent to list your home is imperative. Word of mouth is one way to find a real estate agent to work with, but also pay attention to any marketing materials you get in the mail. An agent who spends the time and money to get their name known in a particular area will probably work hard for the clients gotten through those methods.
Whichever way you get names, you’ll want to interview at least three real estate agents to get a feel for their different styles and to find one you are comfortable working with. This will help you determine who will do the best job for you.
Take your list of candidates and give each one a call and make note of these things:
- How long it takes them to return your phone call. If they actually answered their phone when you called, move them to the top of the list.
- While talking on the phone, does he or she seem hurried?
- Was great interest expressed until you told them the area of town you live in, or did the fact that you live in a modest neighborhood seem to turn them off? If their usual clients are in high-priced neighborhoods, your listing might not get the attention it deserves.
- Did you understand what they were saying or were you unsure of their point? Were you left with questions or confusion about what you had talked about? This probably won’t get better under the pressure of negotiations and closing.
Just because you called them doesn’t mean you are obligated to set up an appointment. Go to the next one on the list. You can always call them back if you decide you want to interview them after all.
Once you have narrowed the possibilities down, call back to set up an interview if you didn’t do it during the initial call. Here are some questions to ask the agent during the interview:
- Are you a full-time or part-time agent?
- What will you do to market my home?
- How often can I expect you to communicate with me?
- What do you offer to help me make my home more attractive to potential buyers?
- Can you help me get my house sold quickly?
- How many houses comparable to mine are for sale right now?
- How long are they staying on the market before being sold?
- What kind of guidance can you give me in determining the list price of my home?
- Is there any reason you would not list my house right now?
If you noticed, the list price question was not the first consideration. Many sellers decide to go with the agent who is willing to put the highest price on the house. In a buyer’s market, an overpriced house will very likely languish on the market. It will be passed over by many potential buyers or not even known about by others. This will result in a lower sales price months down the road.
Find a full time agent who is not already swamped with clients and has the marketing know-how to get your house seen. A good listing agent will have a detailed plan for marketing your home. An agent like this will help you get your house sold in a reasonable length of time for a reasonable price.
Of course, I would love to be one of the agents you call. I’m happy to answer any questions you have about the home selling process!