Buyers' Agents vs. Sellers' Agents
There are two types of real estate agents. Some agents work exclusively with buyers and have experience and skills designed to make the buying process easier. Other agents tailor their services to home sellers, helping sell houses quickly and for generous returns. As a home seller, you want to find a sellers’ agent.
What a Sellers' Agent Can Do for You
You need a team player, someone who can get the job done. A sellers’ agent can take care of many details associated with selling your home. He or she will:
- Advise you on how to stage your house
- Assist you in setting a fair price for your home
- Assertively market your listing
- Help you review and negotiate offers
- Guide you through the closing process
- Protect your interests legally by helping you understand the contracts you’ll be signing.
The Qualities to Look for in an Agent
A qualified, experienced agent should possess a certain set of skills and experiences. You want an agent who presents themselves in a professional fashion, conducts themselves accordingly, has extensive knowledge about your community and the type of property you’re selling, such as a single-family home or a condo, is knowledgeable about current real estate trends, and who also makes you feel comfortable.
Where to Look for a Real Estate Agent
Referrals: Ask your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and others if they can recommend a reputable real estate agent. Ask for someone who specializes in the type of property you are selling—for example, if you have a condominium unit, look for an agent experienced in representing sellers of condos.
Online: The Internet is full of information about real estate agents. Look at online reviews written by other people who have worked with that agent. You can also search online listings to see which agencies specialize in the type of home you’re selling.
Your neighborhood: Drive around your neighborhood looking for “for sale” signs. Note the agent whose name is on it. If you see the same agent on more than one sign, it’s a good indicator that the agent is an expert in your area.
Attend open houses: As you drive through your neighborhood, keep an eye out for open houses being held by real estate agents. Visit them to see how the agent works the job. Notice how they greet you, if they hand you any information, how they make you feel on a tour, and how well they communicate. Then, if you like what you’ve experienced, ask for a business card for a potential future interview.
There’s an added bonus to attending open houses in your area. It gives you the opportunity to closely inspect the competition. How does your house stack up against the other properties for sale?
Interview Multiple Agents
Once you’ve identified a few possible agents, set up face-to-face interviews. It’s important to meet with more than one agent to make sure they are the right fit for you and your property. Here is an extensive list of potential questions to ask real estate agents in an interview. Choose the ones that are right for you and write down any additional questions you may have that aren’t on the list below.
- Are you licensed to sell real estate in my area?
- How long have you been a professional in real estate?
- How long have you been working real estate in this area?
- Are you a part of a real estate team or will I work with you exclusively?
- Do you have any certifications, awards, or specializations?
- How many houses have you successfully sold within the past year?
- What was the average asking price of the homes you sold last year?
- How many times, on average, were the prices reduced?
- What’s the average difference between list price and final sales price?
- How long, on average, are your listings on the market before they sell?
- How would you advise staging my house?
- What would you suggest as a price for my home?
- What is the marketing strategy?
- What fees will I be responsible for paying, and when do you collect them?
- Is there a contract period with my home? If so, how long is it and what does it include?
- What happens if I’m dissatisfied or my house doesn’t sell?
- How long will it take to get an offer on my house once we list it?
- What kind of offers should I expect and how many might I expect over what time period?
- Do I need to be there for open houses as well as private showings?
- What is your preferred method of communication?
- How often should I expect to hear from you?
- Will you provide me with feedback from possible buyers after each showing?
- How long do you think it will it take from listing to closing day?
- Do you have any references I can call?
The selling process can be extremely stressful for homeowners, especially if they haven’t sold before. Selling your home without the help of an experienced real estate agent is not recommended.
Choosing the right real estate agent to sell your house does not have to be difficult or time consuming. The key is to find someone who has experience in selling homes like yours and knows your market well.
You should do some research before choosing a real estate agent, but ultimately you need to trust them and feel comfortable with them. Being honest about your concerns and needs will help ensure that both parties stay focused on selling your home, which can lead to a quick sale at a good price for everyone involved.