Congratulations! You're ready to sell your home! All the built-up equity, the current market situation, and the gain in your home's assessed value have finally come together! Now is the time to list. With the inventory of homes for sale at record lows, your listing will fetch you a better price than any other time in recent history. So the decision to sell is easy, but how easy is it to find a capable listing agent? Surely if your brother-in-law/cousin/neighbor is an agent, he/she is good enough for the job... right? Well, considering 10% of the real estate agents out there account for over 90% of residential transactions, here are a few things you should ask about before letting Jim-Bob down the street list your home.
Price a home too high and that can cause buyers to avoid the home, and if it's avoided long enough, it'll develop a stigma on the market which even lowering the price won't help. Price the home too low and you could be missing out on thousands of dollars. If you don't want your property sitting on the market forever, and you don't want to lose out on getting the best price for your home, you need to price it correctly. It takes proper training, experience, and a good understanding of the current market to do so --- all of which a good agent will have. Ask them about their other listings, how they determined the price for them, and what the eventual selling price was. Beware of any agent that suggests a price well above other estimates; they're just telling you what you want to hear.
51% of buyers in 2016 found their home on the Internet. (Hey, aren't you on the Internet right now? Hmm, interesting...) 35% of home buyers found their home based on suggestions from their agent, which they then went online to view. A total of 90% of home buyers used online resources to search for their new home during the process. This huge base of buyers utilizing the Internet means that presenting your listing well online is absolutely paramount as far as marketing goes. This includes more than just MLS listings, but social media presence across multiple platforms as well. Photography is key here. Captivating photos will do wonders for attracting buyers as studies have shown listings with professional photography are viewed up to 118% more than those without. If your realtor tries to tell you their iPhone or point-and-shoot camera is good enough, remind them that you're interested in working with a professional agent, not an amateur photographer.
The number one complaint from clients regarding real estate agents is overwhelmingly the same thing: poor communication. They should update you regularly on feedback from showings, how well the listing is being perceived, and anything else that is of a concern. Calls and emails should be returned promptly, appointments kept, etc. If it's hard to get a hold of a potential agent, or they reschedule repeatedly in the "honeymoon" phase of your relationship, expect nothing better from them once the listing is live. Find an agent who understands that your satisfaction is crucial to their business, and you'll have a much better experience.
4. The Realtor's Buyer Pool
Having a plentiful list of actively looking, pre-approved buyers is important for an agent to sell your property. They should have a healthy number of potential buyers already who are willing to spend what your home is worth. The greatest amount of interest in your property will occur in the first two weeks from actively looking buyers. If your agent has a large pool of buyers in your price range, either personally or through their broker, the likelihood that you'll find a match sooner than later is greatly increased. On average 90% of their pool is made up of buyers who have been searching for their dream home for months and just haven't found it yet; the other 10% are new buyers who have started to look in the last month. If after two weeks you have exhausted that pool of buyers, all you're left with is that small amount of new buyers coming into play every month. Agents and brokers with large buying pools will expedite your sale exponentially.
If your agent is desperate for a sale, then odds are they aren't going to negotiate the best that they can for you in fear of losing the sale. Good agents never think of their commission when negotiating for their clients and know how far to push the terms of the agreement. From adjustments of the sale price, contingency dates, and closing terms, a good agent will be able to tell you when you can push for more or if the terms are already at the limit of being reasonable. After all this is what you're paying them for: good advice and negotiation.
Hopefully, you'll find all of these qualities in your real estate agent. If you're unsure, ask. They'll be more than willing to help you with any of your questions or concerns. If they're not...
Well, there's your answer.