It's a much tougher real estate market than it was a decade ago. When choosing a realtor, there are a lot of factors to consider: What unique marketing plans and programs does this agent have in place to make sure that your home stands out favorably versus other competing homes? What things does this agent offer you that others don't to help you sell your home in the least amount of time with the least amount of hassle and for the most amount of money? etc.
It may seem like everywhere you look, real estate agents are boasting about being #1 for this or that, or quoting you the number of homes they've sold. If you're like many homeowners, you've probably become immune to much of this information. After all, you ask, ""Why should I care about how many homes one agent sold over another. The only thing I care about is whether they can sell my home quickly for the most amount of money."" Well, because you want your home sold fast and for top dollar, you should be asking the agents you interview how many homes they have sold. I'm sure you will agree that success in real estate is selling homes. If one realotr is selling a lot of homes where another is selling only a handful, ask yourself why this might be? What things are these two agents doing differently? You may be surprised to know that many agents sell fewer than 10 homes a year. This volume makes it difficult for them to do full impact marketing on your home, because they can't raise the money it takes to afford the advertising and special programs to give your home a high profile. Also, at this low level, they probably can't afford to hire an assistant, which means that they're running around trying to do all the components of the job themselves. Bottom line, their service to you may suffer.
How much money does this agent spend in advertising the homes s/he lists versus the other agents you are interviewing? In what media (newspaper, magazine, TV etc.) does this agent advertise? What does s/he know about the effectiveness of one medium over the other?
Agents should bring you a complete listing of both their own, and other comparable sales in your area.
If your agent is not in control of their own advertising, then your home will be competing for advertising space not only with this agent's other listings, but also with the listings of every other agent in the brokerage.
This information is available from the Real Estate Board. Is this agent's performance higher or lower than the board average? Their performance on this measurement will help you predict how high a price you will get for the sale of your home.
This information is also available from the Real Estate Board. Realtor.com says that the average time to sell your home is 65 days. Does this agent tend to sell faster or slower than the board average? Their performance on this measurement will help you predict how long your home will be on the market before it sells.
Obviously, the more buyers your agent is working with, the better your chances are of selling your home quickly. It will also impact price because an agent with many buyers can set up an auction-like atmosphere where many buyers bid on your home at the same time. Ask them to describe the system they have for attracting buyers.
Ask to see this list, and then proceed to spot check some of the names.
Can I cancel my listing contract? Be wary of agents that lock you into a lengthy listing contract where they can get out of (by ceasing to effectively market your home) but you can't. There are usually penalties and broker protection periods which safeguard the agent's interests, but not yours. How confident is your agent in the service s/he will provide you? Will s/he allow you to cancel your contract without penalty if you're not satisfied with the service provided?
Evaluate each agent's responses to these 10 questions carefully and objectively. Who will do the best job for you? These questions will help you decide.
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