How To Choose The Right Real Estate Agent
If you’re selling a piece of property for the first time, deciding how to go about it can be extremely overwhelming; but it doesn’t have to be. When it comes to choosing a real estate agent to help you list your home, typically you can easily decide by word of mouth and reference, however, sometimes you don’t have enough trusted sources telling you where to direct your attention, so you need to take it upon yourself. As long as you know what you’re looking to accomplish and the right questions to ask, finding someone to sell your home can be as easy.
First, start with some research. Drive around your neighborhood and look online for the agencies that seem to be acquiring the most business in your area and read up on some reviews from past clients. While doing your research, if you notice any listings for local open houses definitely consider going and talking with the agent running the operation. Don’t just grab a business card and a free cookie and leave, really try to get a gage on their personality and who they are as an agent.
Don’t just choose the first well-reviewed agent you come upon either, selling your home is a hugely complex transactional process so you want to make sure you can trust the individual that you’re working with to get you the best bang for your buck. This is where getting a referral would be best. According to Zillow, over 20% of sellers find their agent based on referrals from friends, family, or work colleagues.
Zillow also recommends meeting with at least three agents before making your final decision. 61% of sellers chose the first agent they come across, which may work out, but is also a major risk. Think of this process like a job interview and you’re the employer; because you quite literally are looking to employ someone. If this was a company setting and you were the boss, you wouldn’t just hire the first newbie to walk in the door, you’d want to see all of your options to ensure that you make the best choice for your business, in real estate, it’s the same exact thing.
Asking the right questions is of the utmost importance when choosing a real estate agent as well. Again, like in a job interview it’s necessary to know what questions you want to ask, but the answers are what really count. If you have an idea in your head of what answers you’re looking for, then making your choice will be easy. According to Zillow, the following questions are a great standard for what you should be looking for:
“How long have you been working in real estate? Do you primarily work with buyers or sellers? How many active clients do you have at a time? Are you part of a team? What’s your specialty? Are you equipped to handle my unique situation? How will you market my home? Can you put me in contact with some references?”
Once you’ve begun to finalize who you think you’d like to list your property, it’s important to let them know from the beginning what your expectations are as the seller. Clarify with them why you’re selling your property and when you’d ideally like to be done with the entire process. Make your communication preferences clear as well. Many sellers have issues reaching their agents at certain times because they could be with another client or out of the office. Discuss with your potential agent when you have the free time to fully dedicate yourself to all things real estate, this way you both are aware of when one another is most available.
Finally, define all of the important details regarding the property itself. Tell your agent what you’d like to get for your home and what sacrifices you’re willing to make to accomplish it. Discuss the projects within the home that you’d like to leave for the next owner, and how much more or less money you want to put into the property before selling it. As long as you’re keeping all means of communication completely open and are candid with what you’d like to gain out of the process, finding an agent will come easily.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.