on finding the right real estate agent to sell your home.
the big decision to sell your home. Now, you have to find a real
Or do you?
In the back of
your mind, is there a little thought
that maybe you can do it yourself and save paying that commission?
Think again. There are many
good reasons why this is not a time to go it alone. For one thing,
we're talking big bucks here! For most of us, buying or selling a home
is one of the biggest single transactions we will be involved in as well
one of the
most complex with stringent legal requirements. A mistake could spell financial
What can an agent do for
Time is money! Selling your
home yourself will involve long hours of time and considerable expense
It's also likely to take much longer to find a buyer and you
will waste time because you can't distinguish
the serious prospects from the 'looky-loos'. Specialized experience
and knowledge. Real estate agents have the skills to answer your
and guide you
through the process. They know market conditions and can evaluate
how your home fits
in the current market. Agents have valuable contacts in areas
such as financing and should have a list of potential buyers
on hand. As well, they are not
emotionally involved with your home and so can more objective
about its value.
A real estate agent will be
able to help you set a realistic price that will appeal to buyers.
As well, the
agent will go over your
home with you
and advise you on how to whip it into shape so you can get
Marketing is the key!
It's important to get the word out ' Your
Home Is On The Market! A 'Deal estate agent is an expert at knowing
how to market your home to other agents as well as prospective
buyers. (There is a saying
that to be successful
in real estate you have to sell a home twice, once to other agents
and then to a buyer.) The costs involved in marketing your home
are part of
you. The agent will hold open houses and should have access to
the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), web sites and other means
of letting buyers
know your home
will screen offers and counter-offers and negotiate an agreement
according to your instructions.
When you've made
the sale, what next?
When you accept an offer,
the agent will help draw up a legally binding
contract that protects your interests
sure that conditions are fulfilled. The agent
will also help you with the details of closing day, so there are no
How do you
find the agent
that is right for you?
Once you are convinced
you need a real estate agent to help you sell your home, how do
you go about finding the person who's right for you?
You need someone
you trust, that you feel comfortable with
and who understands your needs and
As important is that you find someone with
the skills and expertise to sell your home quickly
for the best price and the least hassle.
Ask around: Ask friends, relatives or neighbors for recommendations.
Check the newspaper
ads to see who has
in your area Look for real estate signs
in your area. Agents often are experts in certain neighborhoods or
in certain clientele,
such as seniors
Look for web sites ' a 'good' agent should have an Internet presence
of their own or through their agency. Decide if you want to go
with a local
may have great local contacts but limited national resources),
or a large franchise firm with a national network behind them.
some agents ' Be prepared for the interview by deciding what
your objectives are ahead of time, so you can let the prospective
agents know what you
expect from them. Interview a number of agents from different
companies and find
out what they have to offer, you will find differences in services
During the interview make sure the agent is listening to you,
asking intelligent questions and showing a genuine interest in
you. Ask for references, and
Here are some questions you
might ask a prospective real estate agent.
NOTE - Some agents may not
be prepared to answer such straightforward inquiries but you shouldn't be uncomfortable asking. As a seller
you have every right to know these things and any professional
agent should be happy to provide
It's like fishing; just because they 'squirm' it doesn't get
them off the hook!
- How many years have they
been in business? Experience certainly
a lot but on the other hand someone
who is just starting out might be keener and will devote more time
to selling your home.
- What professional training
do they have? (What do those
letters behind their name mean?)
- Are they a full-time agent?
- How many listings do they
currently have? More is
better, but an agent
themselves 'too thin and
as a result may not be
able to give you the attention
- How many listings did they
have in the last 30 /
60 90 days, or in the last year? (Lots of listings means lots of calls
- How many sales did
- How many contracts have
they completed over
their career? What
kind of properties were these? If the agent normally deals with mansions,
your little rancher may not receive
they work alone
they part of a team? You will want to meet the other team members
and/or the assistant
to make sure you would be comfortable working with them, too.
- How many potential buyers
do they talk to in a day or a week?
Do they market
their properties aggressively to other top agents?
- Will they
stay in touch
with information, updates and suggestions?
- How can you (and
prospective buyers) reach
them? Do they have
a car phone,
machine, voice mail?
- Do they require that
you sign a contract with them for a specified length of time? If so,
they offer a guarantee?
- If you are moving out
of town, can they refer you to a top buyers agent in your new location?
Will they assist
your relocation plans?
If you are staying in the area and wish to purchase a new home,
act as your buyer's agent? What marketing tools do they have available?
Will they commit, in writing, to a marketing plan? -Do they offer
a free 24-hour real estate information hot line? -Do they have an
800 number to encourage
inquiries from all over the country?
-Do they have flyer boxes on their 'For Sale' signs, so information
about your home is available 'to prospective buyers 24 hours a day?
-Do they have a referral network that makes your listing available
to buyers from around the 'country
and the world? -Do they advertise regularly in local newspapers
and magazines and on local cable TV? Is
there 'any limit on how often your home will appear in their
ads? Conclude by asking an open-ended question like 'What else
would you like to tell me about yourself and your career?'
gives a smart agent the chance to 'bond' with
you by sharing some warm & fuzzy personal information or
philosophies. It will give you a chance to make a final assessment
of the agent's personality
and attitude. Remember that you will be working closely with
them. If your 'this
person really bugs me' bells go off, choose someone else.
down the field
Some experts advise that
after an initial interview
you should narrow
your choice down to two or three people then ask for a formal presentation
that includes a market
analysis with selling prices of homes similar to yours. Don't
forget to ask them for an overview of the marketing plan they would
use to sell your
home. By the
end of this process, you should be able to choose an agent that
are comfortable working with. Then you can get on with the
process of selling your home.
Dual agency ' A twist to the situation!
We have been talking about seller's agents, someone who will work
for you and with you to sell your home.
i.e.: The seller's agent is responsible for getting the highest
purchase price and best terms possible for the seller. These
there is another
kind of real estate agent, the buyer's agent who works for
the person wanting to buy a home. i.e.: The buyer's agent
is employed by, and exclusively represents, the buyer.
the two agents
are separate, for
good reason. They are both working to
get the best deal for their clients and what is good for
seller is not necessarily good for the buyer and vice versa.
However, in some cases, especially
in a small town with a limited number of agents and real
same agent or company may represent both buyer and seller ' this
is referred to as dual agency.
In this situation the agent
must represent both sides equally with the objective
of reaching a mutually satisfactory
agreement. In most jurisdictions, the buyer and seller
to sign a form indicating that they understand the agent
acting for both
sides and that
they have agreed to that situation. It is understood that
agent who is acting in a dual capacity may do nothing
detriment of either the buyer
or seller. Confidentiality is owed to all parties. All
may be present
at a contract presentation to negotiate on their own behalf
and before making
any decisions all parties have the right to seek family,
and/ or legal counsel.
In Conclusion: Selling your
home is a
crucial event in the financial
life of you and your family. You need to make sure that
realize the best price possible for your home. Depending
on current market
conditions a good
real estate agent should be able to work with you to make
happen. Do your homework before choosing the right agent
and you'll reap the financial rewards when you sell your