Selling your home? You'll need a REALTOR you trust. For that to happen, he/she can’t be a stranger… to you, or your neighborhood.
Don’t know a good REALTOR? With the Internet streaming into every home, it’s easy to do armchair research. So, go ahead.
- Find a licensed agent from your own town. You might get a great commission rate from that Internet based company, but chances are the assigned agent won’t have a clue about your town, never mind your neighborhood. You may find their signs in your neighborhood. You will rarely see a “Sold” sticker on them.
- Interview several REALTORS, informing them up front you are shopping around for an agent. Ask them to value your home and provide you with a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) to support it. A good CMA should contain several similar properties to yours that have sold in the last 3 – 6 months (depending on the season). It will also show how far this REALTOR is willing to go in service. A CMA should explain the features of the homes sold, how it compares to your own, and how this supports the recommended asking price.
- Let your REALTOR help you establish a price. He or she is the expert, that’s why you’ve contracted with them – let them do their job. They really, really want to sell your home and they really want to get the absolute most for it – that’s why they work on a percentage of the selling price!
- A higher asking price isn’t necessarily going to result in the highest selling price. Be cautious of insisting on a higher price than your REALTOR recommends. There are agents who will promise they can sell the home for more - that will get them the listing. Later, when no one is looking at your home... or they are looking and then disappearing, and you’re beginning to despair… that agent will come back to you and argue for a price reduction. Every year we lose listings to unscrupulous agents who agreed to ask far more than we do, and then sell for far less than we said the owner could reasonably expect.
- Negotiating the commission. It’s never, ever a good idea to try to talk your agent into a lower commission – you will get what you paid for - simple street economics and human nature.
- Ask for a marketing plan, and expect regular updates – it’s your right. If things are going well, you’ll probably know about it, but if things are going awry, you deserve to know so you can make educated decisions.
Picking your agent is one of the most important decisions you will make. It is also one packed with emotions. Working with a professional will always make it easier to choose wisely.