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Real Estate Insider: Things to consider when hiring an agent

By   /   March 4, 2013  /   Be the first to comment

If you are thinking of selling and wondering where to start, finding the right real estate agent is an important first step. Like everyone, realtors have different styles and personalities, so it’s important to choose the one who is right for the job of selling your property. You are not auditioning for your new best friend. That’s not to say you won’t end up with a life-long friend, but that’s not your goal.

The first thing you want to do is ask people you know if they have had a good experience—recently—with a particular agent. Real estate trends change, often and quickly, and you want someone who is familiar with today’s market, and someone who is involved with real estate on a regular, consistent basis.

Once you have made a short list of two or three candidates, invite them to your house, show them around, and listen to what they have to say. This is your opportunity to interview them, and you should treat it like any interview—you are inviting them to do a job, so that’s exactly what it is. The face-to-face meeting allows you to gauge an agent’s knowledge and experience. It will also net you an honest opinion about the value and condition of your property, which will help you manage your expectations down the road. If you are still undecided, get references of each agent’s past clients, people who are not known to you. Call them. This may be unscientific but it usually works: follow your gut instincts when it comes to the final choice.

You want an agent who is going to be proactive about marketing and selling your house, not one who is just going to do what we call the three Ps: Put on MLS, Put up a sign, Pray it sells. Remember that real estate is, by nature, a local business, so deal with a local firm and a local agent who really knows the community inside and out.

It doesn’t hurt to look at an agent’s record of list prices vs. sale prices, as well as how many days their listings have stayed on the market, though there are two schools of thought about that. Some realtors will take a risk, and try to get a higher price, then let it drop. Others will try to price it to sell right out of the gate. Most agents will do both, depending on the property. You do, however, want someone who knows when to make those price adjustments—most properties will get “stale” after 60 days without one. As a seller, you may not necessarily agree with your agent’s approach. A home is an intensely personal thing and that tends to skew the homeowner’s perception of its worth. But that’s not the way to sell a property. You hire a professional realtor, and you have to let go and trust them.

Ultimately, remember that you are hiring a real estate agent to do one job: get you as much money as possible, in the shortest amount of time. Loving them personally may make it easier to take their calls, but that’s not what gets the job done.

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