Selling a home in today's competitive real estate market requires much more than sticking a "For Sale" sign in the yard and hoping that a qualified buyer will see it and come knocking on the door.
In fact, today's home sellers need to ensure that their homes are not only visible to buyers in their area, but to those around the country and world, as well.
To do this efficiently, wise sellers usually know they need assistance in the form of a real estate professional. But how can you choose one who really can get your home sold for the best possible price in the least amount of time? If you are currently selling your home or planning to do so in the near future, the following ten tips will help you choose the real estate agent who really can - and will - get your home sold.
Be Wary of Acquaintances With Real Estate Licenses
Many people know or are related to a licensed real estate professional, but it is important for home sellers to consider the success level of an agent before even considering hiring them.
Unless they demonstrate a level of success, professionalism and expertise comparable to the other agents you are interviewing, giving a friend or relative the listing for your home is likely to be a costly and messy mistake.
Look for a Proven Track Record of Success
Trusting the sale of your home to a real estate agent is a big decision. To make sure that the agents you are considering are up to the task, ask them for information on past years of sales activity, including the listing and sales price ratios and how long the home was on the market before going under contract. In addition, ask to see the statistics on how many of their listings expired unsold and any listings that were canceled by the seller.
The best real estate agents may stay in touch with some of their past clients and are happy to offer a list of them for you to contact. In addition, check with your own friends and neighbors to see if any have experience with a particular agent and make sure that they had a positive experience with the agent, as well.
While no real estate professional can promise to answer your calls, texts and emails immediately every single time, they should be able to give you a time frame in which you can trust they will be in touch.
In most cases, it is reasonable to expect an agent to respond relatively promptly to correspondence. In addition, ask them how they would handle urgent or time-sensitive calls, such as those concerning problems with a transaction or a buyer agent's offer on your home, and make sure the answer is satisfactory for your situation.
Real estate has become an industry that depends on technology to market homes, find buyers, and communicate with clients. As you interview real estate agents, discuss the types of technology they are comfortable with and how they use it enhance their business, such as a professional website and social media.
Local Expertise Matters
Real estate professionals tend to focus their time and attention on a particular city or area and build a strong practice encompassing that area. This allows them to become a local expert and better represent the sellers and buyers who live or want to live there. Give preference to the agents who are most familiar with the immediate area where your home is located.
Give the Nod to a Strong Networker
The ability to network with other agents, as well as buyer prospects, mortgage lenders, contractors and others, is the hallmark of a well-connected, market-savvy real estate agent. Networking allows an agent to maximize other channels in their efforts to attract buyer interest in the homes they list for sale.
Document the Documentation
When trying to choose the right real estate agent to sell your home, always take time to verify their documentation and background. Licensing information is available in most states through the Secretary of State's website and most states also offer online access to check criminal and civil court history by name.
Make it Comfortable
When you have narrowed the field of contenders, choose the real estate agent who you feel most comfortable with. Hiring a real estate agent to list your home means entrusting them with personal information, and your gut feelings often give clues as to which one you'll find to be most trustworthy.
Selling a home is not an easy endeavor, so having the right person on your side is more important than ever. Your agent will become your advocate as you move forward with this big event of your life, and it is important you know they are the right one for the job before you start.