Selling a home or condominium is complicated. There is a lot of money involved and potential liability if you are not honest with possible buyers about the condition of your home. That's why it's important that sellers receive the highest quality of representation, to make sure that they obtain top dollar for their property and also avoid the risk of being involved in any kind of legal proceedings.
Here are some steps to make sure that you are hiring the right agent to represent you. Remember, price should not be the most important factor. No matter what you buy, whatever the product or service, you always get what you pay for. When you hire an agent because he or she claims to be the cheapest, you will usually be disappointed in the results.
The first thing to do is ask your friends, relatives and work colleagues for names of agents with whom they have recently worked. There is nothing more powerful than word-of mouth referrals.
Drive around the area you are interested in and make a note of the names of agents on the For Sale signs, especially those signs that say "Sold" on them.
Google the area that you are interested in and see if there is any link to a local agent. This will happen if the agent has written something about the local area, in a blog or on their website. This would indicate that the agent not only has a local knowledge of what is happening in this area, but that he or she also knows how to use the Internet to attract potential buyers for your home.
Research the websites of all agents that you are interested in interviewing. What kind of information is on their websites? The more information on the site that assists you in the home-buying or selling process, the more informed that agent is. Examples for a seller could be information on how to stage or prepare your home for sale, including suggested improvements to both the exterior landscaping as well as the inside of your home.
When you interview agents in person, ask them for testimonials from previous clients. Look for the following words and phrases: "they were careful," "they explained all the documents completely," "they were very responsive and followed up on all my requests." Then ask permission and follow up with these people yourself.
Check out examples of the agent's marketing material, whether they are flyers, cards and newspaper advertisements. The more professional the material, the more it is a reflection of the agent's overall professionalism.
Look at the details of the comparative market analysis that they will prepare for your home. This will be the price that they expect your home to sell for, based on what other comparable homes in your area are being advertised for, or what they have already sold for. They should also be able to give you advice or refer you to experts as to what minor repairs or replacements that you should make to your home before putting it on the market to achieve the maximum sale price.
Do not just ask them how many homes they have sold in the past year, but also how many sales they made as a percentage of their total listings. The higher the percentage, the better the agent is at knowing how to properly price your home to attract the most potential buyers quickly.
To make sure you find the right agent to sell your home, remember to do the following:
Ask your friends, relatives and colleagues for references.
Drive around and look for signs that say "sold" on them.
Check out the information on the agent's website.
Review examples of the agent's marketing materials.
Read the testimonials of the agent and, if possible, call the people quoted yourself.
Carefully review the agent's comparative market analysis report and their own sales history.
By making sure you do your homework in advance in finding the right agent to sell your home, the greater your chances of being satisfied with your overall results.
Next week I will discuss how to find the right agent when you are buying a home.