If you have decided to sell your home, you can always go the DIY route but the best thing to do is hire a realtor. Good realtors have complete know how of the market and can help you make sound decisions. They can especially help when you are selling a long distance property. Realtors also highlight the unique features of your house so it sells faster for the right amount. So here are some tips for choosing a real estate agent.
1. Check their experience
If ever there was an industry where the performance varied from professional to professional, it is the real estate industry. Not all realtors are created equally. Some work full time, others work part time. Experience does not equal talent and realtors with a few years of experience do not indicate they aren’t talented. The best way to understand whether a realtor is truly experienced is to shortlist several realtors. Ask each one several questions to get an insight about his/her know-how.
2. Do not go by celebrity status alone
Never pick a realtor just because s/he has hot celebrity status. This can actually be the catalyst that will cause you to hate the realtor. A realtor and seller relationship is like a marriage. You need to trust the individual. Note that you will be talking to your realtor several times a day when you want to sell your home. So ensure that s/he knows what they ought to do to sell your house.
3. Check their real estate website rankings
Real estate websites are ranked by the number of hits they get on their sites as well as by the statistics of number of people searching for them by name. If you plan to find realtor through their website, then ask them their web ranking. Many companies may not be ranked at all. Naturally, popular real estate websites like Trulia.com, Zillow.com and Realtor.com usually rank higher than most others. Steer clear of realtors who do not have a website or any social media presence.
The best way to find out great realtors in your area is through word of mouth recommendations. Connect with neighbors who have sold homes recently and also attend real estate events. Sometimes, realtors also go from door to door advertising their services. Some realtors put fancy ads in magazines and town newsletters. Whatever method you decide, make sure the realtor you choose has all the qualities you are looking for.
5. Target at least three different agencies
Contact the agencies you do not know and speak to the broker/manager to recommend you good realtors. Arrange to have face to face with at least three different candidates. Ask all your questions including the questions about their experience etc. Get an insight into their nature and personality. You will be working very closely with the realtors so you need to establish a rapport with them.
6. Is there a realtor in your close circles?
Sometimes you might know someone in your immediate circle who is a realtor. However they may not be the best realtor and this can cause problems. You do not want to choose someone who you aren’t sure can get the job done; at the same time, you wouldn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Think of real estate sale as an open heart surgery. You will have to pay money to the realtor for selling your house so you want to be able to trust them completely. If you decide to go with a friend, make sure they keep friendship out of the equation.
7. Ask the right questions
At some point, you will be unable to decide how to choose between two realtors. If this is the case, ask each one, the following questions:
- Have you sold homes in my neighborhood?
- What is your specialty or USP?
- Do you know the sales trends in the area where my home is located?
- How many homes have you sold in the last year?
- What strategies do you have in order to help me get the best price?
Find out how they will price your home. Home prices depend on many factors like comparable sales data in your area, insider access to information about real estate prices as well as basic instincts. Assess whether the realtor has the life experiences to qualify her/him to understand your particular scenario. Finally, ask them what can be done in the event you are not happy with their services and wish to be released from the leasing agreement?
8. Assess their marketing skills
First time home buyers can get confused as to how to choose a realtor. An important way to get an insight about a realtor’s abilities is to study their marketing dynamics:
- How does the candidate market homes that s/he sells?
- Ask to see feature sheets and photographs. Are these professionally created? If your realtor hesitates to show photographs and feature sheets, then consider it a red flag.
9. Talk to his/her ex-clientele
Testimonials from actual clients are important tools to find a real estate agent buyer. People who are pleased with a realtor will leave great reviews on his/her website as well as on third party review sites. References are great as well but it can be a hassle contacting past clients to get references from them. However, if this option is possible for you, please try it out.
10. Get an insight into his/her communication skills
A good realtor must be able to communicate well. S/he should return your calls immediately. Even if s/he is part of a team, s/he must still be the primary person looking after you sale. Ensure that the realtor you choose is abreast of latest technology and is able to keep up with other realtors. They should follow up with interested buyers and strive to get you the best deal.
Selling a property is a huge process, one that can be greatly eased with the help of a realtor. We hope this brief guide helps you find the best realtor for your needs.