Selling a house is a big action. You’ll have to manage the logistics with care as you vacate the property and move to your next home.
Depending on the size and condition of your current residence, hundreds of thousands of dollars could be at stake in your decision.
Most people hire a real estate agent to assist them with the selling process. In exchange for a commission (based on a percentage of the final sale price of the home), your agent will help you prepare the home, list it on the market, advertise it, and even negotiate with buyers in an effort to push the sale price higher.
With the right agent, you can walk away with considerably more money, streamline the process, and undergo lower stress. But who is the “right” agent? How can you choose the best one for your needs when you sell your house?
Credentials and Experience
The most obvious factors to look for are a real estate agent’s credentials and experience.
- Certification. All real estate agents must possess a professional license to serve people in an official capacity when they’re buying, selling, or renting a home. Some agents are also qualified brokers who have completed training to obtain additional licenses. Furthermore, certain real estate agents have achieved the formal designation of Realtor – a licensed agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
- Affiliation. Most real estate agents work through a sponsoring broker or a brokerage firm. They may also own their own company. Obviously, certain agencies have better reputations and more resources than others, so you should keep that in mind.
- Years of experience. You should also consider how many years of experience a real estate agent has. Generally speaking, more experienced agents tend to be more reliable and capable of getting you the best price for your home. That’s not to say that a newly licensed agent will do a bad job or hurt your chances for success, but experience usually counts.
Niche Expertise and Specialties
It’s also worthwhile to evaluate an agent’s niche expertise and areas of specialty, if appropriate.
Consider the following:
- Neighborhood familiarity. Is this agent particularly qualified to cover the neighborhood that appeals to you? Has he or she lived and worked in this city for many years?
- Type of real estate. Some agents specialize in selling one type of property. For example, you might find one who sells luxury real estate exclusively.
- Relationships. Real estate agents pride themselves on their personal networks. They may have connections to inspectors, loan officers, real estate lawyers, and an array of other professionals that can help them and their clients. These networks could obviously be valuable to you.
Personal Demeanor and Communication
It’s not only professional expertise and competence that matter. Communication and your personal experiences when you interact with this person count for something as well.
- Openness. Does the individual come across as open, honest, and transparent? If he or she avoids questions or seems overly terse, that could be a red flag.
- Response time. Similarly, you’ll want to pay attention to response times. When you call the agent, does the person tend to call you back within a day? Or within hours? If you’re left wondering whether your agent is ever going to respond, that’s not a hopeful sign.
- Strategy. Any home selling strategy includes certain must-haves, but other strategic elements are more subjective. Do you understand and agree with this agent’s perspectives on selling, for example?
- Listening. When you voice a concern or ask a question, does your agent honestly listen to you? Or does the person do most of the talking, and minimize your role in the relationship?
- Overall personality. Is it easy to get along with this person? Do you have good rapport and enjoy spending time with him or her?
Options for Searching
When you’re looking for a potential real estate agent, there are several options you can employ – and you could consider using all of them.
- Personal referrals. One of the most reliable methods for finding a great real estate agent is to tap your own personal network. Do you know someone who has sold a home recently? What was their experience?
- Online search. You can also conduct an online search for agents and real estate firms in your region. It’s an easy way to identify the major players, but you might miss some independent agents and small outfits.
- Networking. Finally, you can work on fleshing out your own professional network. Consider joining real estate meetups or other events where you’ll have an opportunity to find real estate investors and agents.
Here are some other tips that may help you during your search for the ideal real estate agent:
- Meet with several. Many home sellers go with the first agent they talk to for the sake of convenience and to save time, but this can be a mistake. It’s a good idea to meet with several different ones so you may compare – and choose the agent that most closely aligns with your goals.
- Ask many questions. Arrive at each meeting well prepared to ask questions and learn more. Find out about this person’s specific experience, philosophy with regard to selling properties, and what plan he or she has to sell your home. You’ll get far more information you can use and a feel for how this agent communicates.
- Discuss strategy in advance. Come to the table with ideas for home-buying strategy, and be prepared to discuss that from a high level early on. It’s the fastest way to get a sense of a prospective agent’s expertise and ability to help you.
A competent agent can make your selling experience dramatically better – and leave you with more money than you’d end up with otherwise. Green Residential has a robust team of experienced, qualified real estate professionals to help you with everything you need.
Contact us today for a free consultation or to learn more about the real estate services we provide!