You’ve decided to sell your home.
That’s the first big decision in the process. The next is to choose a real estate agent you can trust. If you used an agent when buying your home (assuming it was a wonderful experience), check to see if they also work with sellers.
If not, you’ll want to make sure you find an agent who has your best interest in mind. The agent you choose will influence how quickly your home sells and the closing price. So follow the guidelines below when you’re ready to find a Realtor.
Go with a Realtor
Aren’t real estate agents and Realtors the same thing?
No. It can be confusing, which is why so many assume these titles are just two ways of describing the same person. All Realtors are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are Realtors. The capital ‘R’ folks are members of this National Association of Realtors, which is “America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members.”
By narrowing your search to Realtors, you are choosing to work with agents who abide by the association’s strict code of ethics. You don’t have to worry if your Realtor is doing what is best for you. They have a fiduciary responsibility to do what is right.
They will also have more resources available for selling your home. With access to recent sales and completed transactions, a Realtor can provide you with the best information on pricing your home.
And unlike many real estate agents who work only with other agents within their brokerage, a Realtor can ensure that your listing receives the broadest exposure.
Start with your friends and family. Ask if they can recommend a real estate agent. If they had an exceptional experience in the past, they will be happy to pass along their agent’s information.
This is one of the largest financial transactions you’ll ever undertake, so you want someone with a great recommendation. So if your friend had a mediocre experience, keep looking. A valuable agent should make a lasting impression (a good one).
Check their website for testimonials. Obviously, the agent will only share clients who will provide positive information, but this shows exactly what their clients like about them.
Once you have narrowed it down to a few possibilities, be sure to ask for references. This gives you the opportunity to speak directly with previous clients.
Ask about their overall experience. What did the agent do that set them apart from everyone else? Was the seller happy with the closing price? The process in general?
You can also take a look at online reviews for an agent. Just know that reviews can be misleading, so it’s best to talk to clients for yourself.
Find a specialist
If you own a Porsche 911, you probably don’t take it to the “Tune-ups, Oil Changes, Transmissions, and Brakes: We Do Everything” shop. When you need work done, you go to the dealer or to a Porsche specialist.
Because the specialist works only on Porches, they know exactly what to expect. They also own all the specific tools and diagnostic equipment for your vehicle.
The same goes for selling your home. You want an agent who knows your area and your home.
If you are selling a condo, for example, your Realtor should be familiar with COAs and know of any potential pitfalls. They should know how to market versus a house.
Your agent should understand your neighborhood and the buyers who want to live in your area. What features should you emphasize and which should you understate? A specialist will know the right questions to ask and the answers.
Don’t use your brother-in-law
Unless he doesn’t mind hurting your feelings.
Often, a family member can do a fine job helping you sell your home. But they might have trouble telling you the truth.
You want your agent to be direct and honest about your home and its prospects. It doesn’t do you any good to have false expectations. An honest agent will tell you what needs improvement and how to get the best price for your home, even if it means losing some of the “character” of your home that you love so much.
Learn how the agent communicates
Over the course of your home’s listing period (which will hopefully be brief) you will need to communicate often with your agent. You’ll need to know when a buyer is coming to see your property, how your agent sends information about offers, etc.
Think about what types of communication work best for you. Then be sure that your agent is willing to feed you information how you want.
For example, if you prefer to receive updates via text message but your agent calls every time there is an update, it will become annoying quickly.
Or maybe you like to meet face-to-face. If your agent’s schedule is so booked that they only do phone calls, that will be an issue for you too.
So discuss communication with your potential Realtor. Find out how often they will provide you information and whether they are flexible about how they communicate.
You don’t want to miss some important update because you never check your email and that’s the only way your agent sends information.
Make no mistake, this is a relationship you’re beginning. Even if the listing period is short, the end result has a major impact on your life.
Rather than calling the first number you see on a bus bench, take some time to research your agent to ensure that the process goes smoothly.
If you’re looking to sell your home in the near future, we would like to help. Check out our testimonials to see what recent clients have to say about working with the Jablon Team.
Marc Jablon, the Jablon Team