Choosing a listing agent is one of the most significant decisions you’ll make when selling your property. When looking for one, the first instinct that comes to your mind is to get an estate agent who offers the highest price and a low commission. However, basing your decision on these two factors alone may cost you dearly since you may overlook other essential factors leading to a competent agent.
Once you’ve resolved to sell your home, you deserve a reliable agent by your side. Only hire an agent if your neighbour used them or because they offer the highest listing price and lowest commission. Get to know what your estate agent will do to market your home. Remember to confirm their certification and experience, check reviews, or visit their website to find out more about them.
In this article, you’ll learn how to identify qualified professionals to guide you through your venture.
Choosing The Best Agent
The listing agent you choose will be with you for several months (as long as your house remains unsold). So, select the one you can freely talk to and relate to at any time you have concerns. The following are some of the characteristics that most home sellers prefer in an estate agent:
- Negotiation Skills: It’s easy to sell your home if you get an aggressive negotiator, not one whose only motive is to make quick sales at your expense.
- Networking: A skilled listing agent has a good relationship with other agents. This network enables them to make quick sales without compromising on price.
- Honesty: Always trust your instincts. A good estate agent should seem honest.
- Education: Confirm whether your agent is regulated and has the necessary documentation.
- Experience: Experience is the best teacher. An agent who’s sold several homes has a grasp on what the market demands.
Remember to request a personal guarantee of performance from your agent. It allows you to terminate their services if they don’t deliver according to their promise. Only hire them if they can provide you with one. And since not all estate agents offer the same services, here are four other ways to identify a listing agent to sell your home:
Ask For Referrals
The presence of several real estate agents on the market can make you wonder which one is the best. You can only choose some, and blindly choosing any from the pool is a prerequisite for trouble. Ask your friends, family, or neighbours for referrals, and don’t be a victim of choosing an agent based on online reviews. Please get to know your estate agent’s physical location and plan to visit them.
It would help if you found an agent acquainted with your home’s location. They’ll know how to market your house if they’re familiar with the area. Therefore, it would help if you asked your friends if they knew of any real estate agent who has sold houses in the area within the past few years.
Host The Agent At Your House
Hosting prospecting agents at your house can help determine who’s best suited to help you sell your home. It will provide a chance to vet their real estate knowledge, skills, and experience to determine if they match your expectations.
Upon the visit, expect the following:
- A visit to check your home’s condition and establish its key features
- They’ll suggest the improvements and repairs needed before selling the house
- Give you a comprehensive property evaluation report
- Provide an elaborate marketing plan
- Answer all your questions and address your concerns and needs
A proficient agent should come to your home prepared with significant property sale information and give you a detailed evaluation report and the prospective listing price. You can also request them to show you videos or photos of their current listings.
Test Your estate agent’s Communication Skills
Once you’ve identified potential listing agents, the first step is to call or email their offices and wait for their response. An experienced agent with good communication skills should respond to your inquiries within the same day or within 24 hours. If they take longer, they must offer a reasonable explanation. Be cautious if they fail to get back to you or provide a decent answer, they may not address your needs accordingly. For example, you stand to lose if an issue related to your home inspection arises or if you’ve got competitive offers that need your agent’s input and can’t be reached. Therefore, selecting an agent that’s available when needed is necessary.
Ask About Their Marketing Strategies
Different agents have different marketing strategies. Therefore, you’ll want to know how your agent will market your home to prospective buyers. And proper publicity will make your home sell—request an exact copy of your agent’s marketing plan.
Here are some of the things your agent must indicate in the marketing plan:
- Describe who they think your buyer will be
- Provide updates on neighborhood trends, facts, and recent sales
- Provide flyers, burners, brochures, videos, and photos to attract buyers
- Show their follow-up procedure in case of an inquiry
- Explain the possible home improvements they’ll make to attract buyers
- Show their digital marketing plan
- Offer physical and virtual tour options
Remember, there’s no single marketing strategy that sells homes. It’s always a collection of several tactics that can enable your agent to sell your home. Therefore, you’ll want an agent who has several marketing strategies.
Ask Your Agent The Necessary Questions
Your first discussion with your potential listing agent should seem like an interview. Don’t hesitate to ask complicated questions right from the start. A proficient agent must understand the intricacy of his work, and if he’s dancing around with numbers, it’s an indication of foul play, and you should avoid them at all costs.
Most sellers ask questions before selecting an agent, but most questions are usually the wrong type. Remember, you’re interrogating the person who will sell your most valuable asset. As a result, it’s critical to take the interview seriously.
Here are some of the crucial questions to ask your agent before hiring them:
- Do You Have References?
A good estate agent must always have previous customers ready to vouch for them. Get two or three contacts of clients who’ve benefited from your potential agent’s services. However, some agents may hand-pick their favourite seller’s contacts. The trick is to request the addresses of the last two or three properties they’ve sold before meeting the agent. Then, when you meet them, ask for the contacts and see if there are any among the addresses provided. If so, then that’s the agent you’ve been searching for.
- Can You Reduce Your Commission?
You may not want your agent to reduce the commission charged. But asking this question is a clever way to gauge their negotiation skills. Remember, they’ll negotiate thousands of dollars on your behalf, and how they negotiate their cut should determine whether you’ll hire them. Observe their immediate reaction and judge their response accordingly.
Note that each agent has individual budgets according to their marketing skills. Agents with a big advertising budget are likely to attract more buyers and may charge higher commissions. Ask yourself why your potential agent is willing to offer a considerable commission discount. Could it be a tactic to beat the competition or a desperate move to make quick money? It will help if you avoid the latter since they may not meet your demands.
- How Many Properties Have You Sold In This Area?
To gauge the experience of a potential listing agent, request an estimate of the sales they’ve made in your area for the past two or three years. It can be about the price range, proximity, and property type. Get to know which of the homes sold were townhouses or single-family homes.
Aim for agents who’ve been in business for at least two years with double-digit sales. Such agents have had adequate time to understand the market and polish their sales and marketing strategies. Ideally, an agent who’s sold an average of 60—75 per cent of their listings is favourable.
- What Criteria Did You Use To Determine The Listing Price?
Pricing is an art; if your property is priced right, you’ll quickly get a buyer. Ask your agent the recommended price for your home and how they arrived at it. If they can explain, they may only justify the cost when negotiating with a buyer or the buyer’s agent.
An experienced agent may need help to state an exact listing price. They’re likely to give a price range. The price range should be determined by the home improvements, the market dynamics, and the location of your home. Beware of agents that give you a price range for home sales in a different neighbourhood.
Getting a listing agent to sell your home is more than simply choosing one with the highest listing price and lowest commission. It involves getting a list of potential agents, checking their marketing strategies, communication skills, average sales, and previous customer reviews. A good agent should be regulated, honest, networked, and understand market dynamics. Selling your home is a significant financial endeavour, so be careful not to fall into the wrong hands.
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