More Helpful Tips
Selecting a realtor
Scroll through the Yellow Pages of any community in the United States, and you'll see the names of dozens - if not hundreds or thousands - of real estate agents available to list your home.
In fact, given the number of choices, you may wonder if you can find someone with the right blend of skills and experience for you.
Selecting a realtor isn't just a matter of blind luck, however. Follow these easy tips to help you narrow your choices:
Find some likely candidates.
- Scan advertisements in the newspaper, cable TV, billboards and the Internet. Look at the messages each agent is sending. Do you like the philosophy she promotes? Does he specialize in selling the type of home you own? Is her sales record impressive?
- Drive around your community and check the names on "for sale" signs. Agents with multiple listings probably have a good sales record. But don't necessarily discount the names that appear less frequently. A new agent, for instance, may possess fewer listings but more time to spend marketing your house.
- Talk to friends or neighbors who've recently sold. Find out how long their house took to sell, what they liked about their agent and why.
Interview your "A" list.
Schedule appointments with the top two or three agents. After you show each one the house, ask him or her:
- How many homes have you sold in the last year?
- How many are you currently listing?
- What experience do you have selling in my community?
- How will you market my home? Typically, agents will use a variety of means, including advertising, the Multiple Listing Service and open houses.
- What type of representation do you provide? Depending on the state you live in, the agent may represent the buyer, the seller, or work as a neutral third party.
- What is your typical fee and what does it include? Most agents will cover any advertising costs, but be sure to ask up front. Most also will not collect any fees unless and until your house is sold.
- What is the minimum length of time you will list my home? Many agents will want at least a six-month contract.
- How much do you want to list my house for? Some agents may not give you an estimate until several days later. Make sure each one has completed a comparative market analysis in your community so that the price reflects prevailing rates.
Make your decision.
Compare your notes on each candidate, looking for someone that you're comfortable with, has the relevant experience and seems confident he or she can sell your home. Invite your top choice back, sign the paperwork and start looking forward to the day you can move.