When it’s time to sell your home, you will make several important choices. Selecting professional partners who can coach you well, market your home effectively, and guide you from listing through closing with the wisdom, strategic insight and enthusiasm of market leadership will be essential. How do you choose the right agency and the right sales representative for you? Referrals can be a great way to start, but don’t assume a referral is automatically the right combination for you - you are unique, and the best judge of whether an agency and representative suit you.
There are different kinds of real estate professionals. An agent is licensed to sell real estate by passing a state exam; a broker has continued studies and is able to hire agents. A realtor is an agent or broker who is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®, and has agreed to its code of ethics.
Start with referrals, research online reviews, and then interview as many agents as you need until you find the one who gives you the best answers to questions about their experience, the resources at their disposal, and how they can help you.
Think of the agency as the support system and tool box your representative will rely upon to promote and sell your home quickly, efficiently and at the best possible price. When you interview agents, be sure to ask about the agency and its array of resources. Most agencies participate in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) because it is essential for maximized exposure. Ask whether your listing will also appear on other social and online marketing channels like zillow.com, realtor.com, Trulia; in print promotion including local and other newspapers; in direct mail campaigns, magazines and brochures. Understand fully what region the agency considers its core market, what types of property it typically focuses on, and what resources will be specifically available for your sale in your area.
Your selling agent will be your marketer, mentor, coach and confidante. Finding one with the experience, resources, and network best for you is just one hurdle to clear; you also need to find the agent you “click” with – the one with whom you feel most comfortable as your representative, negotiator, and advisor. There can be twists and turns in the road between listing and sale, and you need to be confident in your agent as a partner and guide to straighten out the turns. Here are some hints on how to home in on the best agent for you.
Agents who choose to specialize often pursue credentials like CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), SRS (Seller Representative Specialist), PSA (Pricing Strategy Advisor), RSPS (Resort and Second-Home Property Specialist), and SRES(Seniors Real Estate Specialist); look for an agent who has the credentials most likely to assist you in your purchase.
Look for online reviews by clients, and make appointments to meet with agents who get high marks – especially if they have sold homes in your market. Interview more than one agent and ask questions to get a feel for whether they are going to be a good fit in personality, drive, approach and enthusiasm. Ask for references from recent clients, and ask specifically for sellers and properties most similar to you and yours.
Check an agent’s and agency’s current listings to make sure they have experience with inventory similar to yours in price and location. Ask about a home in your area that has recently sold or is on the market; if s/he is in touch with the local market, the rep will know about that home, homes that will compete closely with yours and, if given the chance to walk your home, will have ideas about how to make yours the most competitive and attractive.
Pay attention to how the agents you interview respond to your contacts and questions. Your best partner will be responsive, transparent and happy to answer your questions and put their experience and energy to work for you. If you have concerns about your home’s marketability, now is the time to present them to the agents your interview; the right agent will focus on finding solutions, and will be able to draw on a reserve of experience and resources.
Selling your home is a big move, and the right partner can make the difference between easy breezy and painfully arduous. Take the time, do the research, ask all the questions you have, and choose well.