How-To-Find-the-Right-Agent-to-Sell-Your-HomeSelling your home can be complicated, that’s why you probably shouldn’t sell it on your own. Instead, you should consider going with a listing agent who has experience in selling homes in your area.

That begs the question: how do I find the right agent to sell my home?

In this post, we’ll discuss exactly what you need to look for in your prospective listing agent. Let’s get started with the question you’re probably asking yourself:

Should I Sell My Home By Myself?

No, and here’s why:

You don’t know what you’re doing (no offense). You may sell one or two homes in your lifetime, whereas an experienced real estate agent may sell ten times that much in one year.

Agents have more than just experience on their side. They also have professional relationships with other agents and potential buyers. They can bring in much more traffic than you can alone armed with a yard sign and a post on Craigslist.

Plus, most buyer’s agents prefer to work with a listing agent instead of directly with the home seller. They’ll likely steer their clients away from your house because of the negative reputation surrounding For Sale By Owner (FSBO) listings. There are dark tales of FSBO’s not paying commission fees, missing appointments, and being unrealistic about pricing. Instead of subjecting yourself to potential snubs from scorned buyer’s agents, consider contracting with a listing agent.

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Why You Need a Listing Agent

For Their Experience

A listing agent brings a wealth of experience to your home selling process. The right agent knows how to sell a home and has done so successfully many times before. The best agents excel at pricing, marketing, and staging. They’ve compared current home prices and crunched the numbers for home sales in your area.

For Marketing

A listing agent does more than simply show your home. Here’s what a great listing agent will do to market your home:

  • Take photos of your home (inside and out)
  • Take a video of your home
  • Stage your home
  • Write advertisements
  • List your home with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and other real estate search sites
  • Host an open house
  • Offer private viewings
  • Reach out to their network of buyers and agents

[Tweet “Your listing agent is your advocate and will work hard to make sure that you get the best results.”]

For Negotiating

The right listing agent knows how to negotiate with prospective buyers and their agents. They know the difference between a good deal and one with way too many contingencies that could potentially sabotage you. Your listing agent is your advocate, in much the same way as a lawyer. He or she will work with you (and everyone else involved in the sell of your home) to make sure that you get the best results.

for-negotiating

Are you convinced yet? Great! Let’s take a look at how to choose the best listing agent to sell your home.

How to Choose the Right Listing Agent

Go for Experience

The right listing agent didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. He or she has sold homes like yours before and knows how to sell quickly and at the price point you’ve agreed to.

Notice how I emphasized like yours?

You don’t want to choose an agent who’s experienced in selling high-rise condos when you’re selling a stand-alone single family house. While they may be experienced, it’s also important that they’re experienced in selling your type of property. Most agents have niches, or special areas of expertise. Be sure you know if they’re experienced and what type of property they’re experienced in.

Consider Recommendations

Do you know someone who sold a home recently? Ask them about their home selling experience. Do they recommend their listing agent? If the answer is no, you’ll know who to avoid.

Perhaps you don’t have any recommendations from the people you know. Turn your sights to online resources. You can search on sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com to find a top rated real estate agent in your area.

Alex-Bracke-Zillow-Profile-201602Image Courtesy of Zillow

Be Cautious with Friends and Family

What if you have a friend or family member who happens to be a real estate agent? Approach it cautiously (or maybe avoid it altogether). Going into business with someone who’s close to you can backfire. You may disagree about listing price and then be unable to separate business from personal.

Also, you shouldn’t just choose someone because they’re related to you. Go with the best person to sell your home, period.

Don’t Go for the One with the Highest Selling Price

There are some agents who will say anything to get their hands on your listing. While it may boost your ego to hear that someone thinks your home is worth $20,000 above what everyone else suggests, don’t get caught up in the hype. The agents who present the highest listing price usually underdeliver.

Here’s how to safeguard against this: compare listing presentations from multiple agents. If the agents are experienced and realistic in their assessments, their suggested listing price should be similar to each other. Avoid those with prices that seem too good to be true—they usually are.

Keep in mind that an agent works on a commission basis. Any agent you choose will want to sell your home and make as much of a commission as possible from the sale. They’re not low-balling your home’s listing price, unless it’s part of a strategy to create a buyers frenzy.

Interview More Than One Agent

As you saw in the section above, it’s a good idea to interview more than one agent. Set up an appointment to meet between three to five listing agents. Make sure you have a list of questions handy to determine which agent is the best fit for selling your home.

Don’t Get Stingy

Ah, commissions. Commissions are generally somewhere between five to seven percent of your home’s selling price. The commission is split between the listing and the buyer’s agent.

You may be tempted to go with the agent who quotes the lowest price, but be careful. An agent who can’t negotiate a good commission for himself probably won’t negotiate a good price for the sell of your home.

Keep in mind that agents have to do quite a lot without getting paid upfront. The things we discussed earlier in the marketing section (such as listing your home and writing ads) are paid for out of the agent’s pocket.

If you’re not paying a decent commission rate, the agent may not be as motivated to sell your home.

Ask for Recommendations and then Follow Up

Last, but not least, ask your agent for a list of recommendations. All experienced agents should have a list of happy clients they’ve worked with before. Then, follow up by actually calling or emailing these clients to ask for their honest feedback about the agent. Learn about their home selling experience to set expectations for working with this agent.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you find an agent that will not only efficiently sell your home at a decent price, but also one that you genuinely enjoy working with. If you’d like an experienced, proven listing agent, I know a guy.

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