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Choose the right real estate agent!

Key Points:

  • Choosing the right real estate broker or agent involves asking questions about their experience with the local market and your kind of property.
  • You should hire a professional who’s full-time, full of suggestions, and has a personality you can relate to.

Things you need from a Real Estate Agent

Selling your home is likely the largest financial transaction of your life, so choosing the right real estate broker is important, though difficult, therefore below are some questions to keep in mind to help in selecting the right real estate agent:

Ask about the agent’s experience

This does not necessarily mean how long a broker has been in the business; rather, such a question will help you understand how well they know the local market and your kind of property. Ask them what has sold in the area intended in the last three months, the last six months, for how much, and after how long. Ask about the prices of similar properties in the same area?

Since correct pricing is key, ask if the agent had to reduce the price of a property to complete a sale. A good broker will not agree to market a property they consider overpriced. Brokers should have all this information at their fingertips and be able to back it all up with data. They should understand the psychology of the local market. Also, don’t be fooled by a sales pitch that includes famous celebrities the agent may have previously helped. That is not relevant to your sale. You need to ensure they can do a sale for you.

Look for a solid marketing plan

You want a detailed description of everything the broker is going to do to put your property "out there." Does the broker have creative ideas proven to work, such as blogs or special events, such as an invitation-only events for select brokers and prospective buyers? How will they make your property stand out from the field of other properties a buyer will encounter? Digital marketing is an important channel that assits brokers, knowing that more than 90% of buyers search online before making a sale, therfore, have them show you sample of web listings, and be sure that a professional photographer is considered in your marketing budget. And avoid inexperienced photographers who will end up providing you with low quality photos, and take your time to pick a professional who can capture the detail and the important and interesting aspects of your property.

Make sure to communicate frequently and get informed of the progress

Tell the broker how you like to communicate: text, phone, or email. (Note: texting is not appropriate for any important, legal-related communication.) Ask them to commit to a regular schedule of detailed written marketing and activity reports and make sure that they can be easily reached when you have questions or required an update. Also, find out whether they have a skilled colleague to cover for them when they are unavailable, and make certain that they will never let anyone view the property unless they or their representative is present.

Discuss the agreed commission?

The standard commission rate for real estate brokers is around 5-6%, usually split between the sales agent (aka the listing agent) and the buyer's agent. A portion of it first goes to the listing brokerage, so the agent personally receives a cut of between 60% and 90% of that commission. However, the amount of the commission is never set in stone and that there may be room for negotiation. Ask to see the budget, and be clear about which sales-related expenses will come out of the broker’s commission, and what you may have to pay for yourself (stagers, etc).

Look for a well-connected real estate agent  

This doesn’t mean that you want to know how many friends or followers the broker has on social media platforms, while it could be of much help in increasing the chances for faster unloading. Rather, it means that you care how well connected they are within their own firms and in the real estate field. A seasoned broker will have solid connections to other real estate-related professionals: stagers (a broker can help you decide whether hiring one will enhance or speed up your sale), real estate lawyers, photographers, and even moving companies that you can trust.

Search for Someone who's Full-Time

While there are competent part-time agents who sell properties, it is crucial that you hire someone who can show your home at varying hours or—if you are a buyer—can take you out to see properties at a time that is convenient for you. Ask your real estate agent whether they work full-time. Those who do tend to take their jobs more seriously and are generally more flexible when it comes to showing your home.

Search for Someone who offers suggestions

Savvy real estate agents know which characteristics sell homes in the area—whether it's a pool, screened-in porch, or some other desirable feature. To that end, they will be in a position to make suggestions on the rooms or features to emphasize or de-emphasize. During the initial interview, ask the agent if there are any changes you could make to the house that would improve its desirability. More often than not, the best agents will make these suggestions without you needing to ask for it.

Search for an Area Expert

Look for an individual who knows a great deal about the area. These agents will also be more aware of the typical offering and selling prices than those agents who do not typically work in that neighborhood. One way to find a local expert is to ask a local brokerage or your friends or relatives if they know anyone who has sold a large number of homes and/or businesses there. Another suggestion is to look through the local real estate publications and see which agents have the most listings in certain areas.

Search for Someone You Click With

Sellers, in particular, should seek out agents whose personalities goes with theirs. For a quick sale at a favorable price, the seller and the agent must be on the same page in terms of how they are going to market the property, the price target, how and when the home will be shown. Agreeing on these matters prior to the deal will make it a lot easier for both parties as the get along and understand each other.

Signing the deal with the agent

Even if you've retained someone you believe is an ideal agent, think twice before signing an exclusivity agreement. While your agent might be competent, if you are a seller, the more agents you have that can potentially show and sell your home, the better the odds of the sale.

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