Choosing the right real estate agent


You’ve decided to sell your house. You take your collection of business cards and flyers from real estate agents, fan them out in front of you, close your eyes and pick one. Right? Maybe you’ll get lucky, but this really isn’t the best way to choose the person to handle what is likely to be your single largest financial investment.

Here are my top five tips on how to choose the right agent for you:

1. Referrals and Recommendations:
Get recommendations from friends, neighbors and family members who have already sold their homes. Ask them what their experience was like. Did the agent return calls promptly? Did they offer honest opinions on what you could do to improve your home’s condition regarding curb appeal, and fix-ups? Were the agents good negotiators? Did the sellers get close to asking price? How long did it take to sell their homes?

2. Spy Work: Do Your Own Research:
Once you’ve chosen your top 3 agents, you should do your own research and check the agents out. Check out their listings and their websites. Take a look at their ads.You should find professional-looking photos of their listings with well-written descriptions. Look at the kinds of dwellings they sell. If you list your modest bungalow with an agent who routinely sells mansions, don’t expect your house to be a big priority. Select an agent within your market and you’ll be better served. Next, look at their track record for the number of houses sold, and for the asking price achieved. The closer an agent can get to asking price on a regular basis, the better.

3. Meet in Person:
Let them know that you’re shopping for an agent and are at the interview stage. The most important part of your meeting centers on the listing price of your home, which is based on the selling prices of comparable homes in your area. If you have an idea of the price you want, a look at the comparables will tell you if you’re being realistic. Don’t fall for the sweet-talking agent who agrees to list it too high. Likewise, too low a price and you’ll sell fast, but you might not get the best return on your investment. If the agent doesn’t know what he or she is talking about, well you do the math.

4. Marketing is a Must:
Always discuss their marketing strategy and remember talk is cheap. Make them show proof of their marketing strategy. It could include any number of options such as photos, flyers, newspaper ads, open houses and the Internet. Make sure the agent knows your area. They’re not just selling your house; they’re also selling the neighborhood. A good agent will be honest and tell you what you need to do to prepare your house for visits. Getting rid of clutter and making your house more presentable can lead to a faster sale.

5. It’s All About Chemistry:
After all, with a major financial investment at stake, selling your home can be a pretty stressful experience. An agent can be a top selling one with all the credentials but if the person is arrogant and snobby or if there is just no chemistry, well that can be a turnoff to everybody.

You will know in your heart who the right agent is for you. Let’s call it a “gut” feeling. Good luck! And Happy Selling!