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Selecting an Agent

What to Look For in a Real Estate Agent

When selling your home, one of the first steps is to find a real estate agent. In most markets you have a large number of real estate agents to choose from, so it can seem daunting at first. But there are some signs you can look for when evaluating and interviewing agents that will let you know they’re better than the rest.

Look for an agent that:

  1. Has sold homes similar to yours. Take a look at the agent’s past and current listings on their website and online profiles.  When you talk to them, ask if they have sold homes similar to yours. Also ask them how those sales went, and what they might do differently. This will give you insight into how successful they might be selling your home.

  2. Demonstrates strong marketing capabilities. Check out the agent’s website. Does it look like they would be good at marketing? What do they say they will do to sell your home? Do they have a good understanding of what sells a home in your area? Your agent’s primary job is to find a buyer for your home in a reasonable time period. Find out where they will advertise your home besides on the MLS. Do they pay for print advertisements in local real estate magazines? What about online advertisements? Don’t assume all agents will spend money on advertising your property.

  3. Has several years of experience. If your transaction goes perfectly, this may not be important. But if there are any problems with negotiating prices, or closing the transaction, their experience is crucial. An experienced agent will know how to handle difficult situations and give you expert guidance on tough decisions. A real estate transaction involves a complex contract agreement. Each term in the agreement involves choices you or the buyer will need to make. If the buyer changes their minds on any of these terms, or wants to add terms, your agent will need to know how to handle the situation, and advice you on your options.

  4. Has good references. Ask the agents you’re most interested in for past clients you can contact as references. A good agent should have a long list of satisfied clients as well as written recommendations they can show you.

  5. Has a support staff. A successful real estate agent will have a support staff so he or she can focus on what they do best…. working with clients. A support staff will usually manage the transaction process and handle marketing details. A good agent will also have a network of partners they work with to help sellers with pre-sale home repairs, staging, inspections, and other key services sellers needed before selling. And they will have recommendations on title companies and lenders if you don’t know who you want to use.

  6. Is busy, but not too busy. How long did it take to get a call back from the real estate agent?  If it took more than 2 days, they might be too busy to handle your transaction effectively. And if they have no current clients, it’s a sign they aren’t getting many referrals, which is a red flag. You’ll want an agent who is serving 3-6 clients at a time. That’s a management number that allows the real estate agent to take care of all the details and issues each client might be dealing with.

  7. Is a top agent at their office. Most real estate offices have 10-40 active agents working out of their location. There will always be 2-4 agents that bring in the majority of the business. These agents have the most experience, the most sales transactions, and will have processes and resources in place for taking good care of their clients. The better an agent is, the more referrals they will get from past clients, keeping them busy years afterwards. Top agents will usually win company awards on a regular basis. Look for information about awards when you visit agent websites.

  8. Uses quality photography. The majority of serious buyers use online real estate portals to search for homes. Whether they are working with a real estate agent or not, they rely heavily on online photos to decide which properties they want to view first. Even a distressed home can get lots of attention if it is priced right, and the photography highlights the best features of the property. A good real estate agent knows this and will take the time to get high quality photos using good lighting techniques that show how spacious each room is. They’ll also feature aspects of your home that are unique, and will include outdoor living spaces in the photography. Finally, they’ll know about furniture placement and staging techniques that will bring out the best in your home and its furnishings.

  9. Uses social media and online videos to market your home. Finding the right buyer for your home isn’t as easy as you would first think. A good buyer is not only willing to pay the right price for your home, they are also able to qualify for a mortgage and close in time. You will also want someone who appreciates your home’s best features, and won’t be likely to bring up problems or pursue complaints after the purchase.  If your agent focuses his or her search by targeting the right buyers, they’ll use the best tools the internet has to offer including social media and online videos. Social media targets your agent’s own network of past buyers and sellers, as well as local agents that have their own network of buyers. High qualify online videos put the best features of your home in the spotlight so it will attract more interest than a standard MLS listing.

  10. Is knowledgeable about your neighborhood. Each neighborhood in a community will be attractive to a specific group of potential buyers. Some areas are more attractive to young families, for example, while others are favored by seniors. Having a real estate agent that understands who that audience is, and how to attract them is key to getting the best price for your home. You’ll be best served by working with a real estate agent that has sold homes in that area in the past, or in similar nearby neighborhoods. They will know the local market trends and will be able to focus their marketing on key selling points of area in addition to the selling points of your home.

Call Shanne today to find out how he can make your life easier, 831-588-2374.