How to Choose a Real Estate Agent
If you're selling a home, you need a licensed real estate agent. It is feasible to sell your home on your own (i.e. For Sale by Owner), but without the proper knowledge of how to sell real estate and the paperwork and procedures involved, you could end up shooting yourself in the foot. Using a real estate agent to sell your home will cut back on headaches and ensure that all appropriate steps are being followed and documentation being completed.
Step 1 - Ask Around
If you've never dealt with a real estate agent before, ask your friends and family in the area if they recommend an agent. It's better to go with an agent that comes with a personal recommendation than choosing one blindly. You should also ask your neighbor if they know anyone, especially if your neighbors are new to the area. Asking around will key you in to some of the better real estate agents around and which ones to avoid.
Step 2 - Go to Open Houses
This might seem a bit strange, but if you want to find an agent that knows your area, you should go to open houses in your neighborhood. Even if you don't want to stay in that neighborhood, a local real estate agent is the way to go. Local agents know how much you can get for your home based on your neighborhood and the condition of your home, and can provide you with insight an out-of-area agent can't. So, visit a few local open houses and talk to the agents hosting them. If they aren't able to take on any addition sellers at the moment, they might be able to refer you to a fellow agent that knows the area and can help you get the best price for your home.
Step 3 - Choose a Reputable Real Estate Office
Real estate agents work out of real estate offices. They work with the office as independent contractors to help sell homes. When choosing a real estate agent, be sure to stick with the larger offices. A no-name office doesn't have the resources necessary to sell your home fast and for the best price. The bigger, more established real estate offices often have a network of agents and other real estate professionals that can serve you and your specific selling needs.
Step 4 - Take Names and Ask Questions
The bottom line is you're the customer when you're selling your home. You choose the real estate agent, they don't choose you. So, don't go with the first agent you find. Shop around. Ask your neighbors for references, go to open houses, and visit the larger real estate offices in your area. Write down the names and contact information of some of the better agents you meet. Then, sit down and choose 3 or 4 agents you like and start analyzing. Think about which one will get you the best price for your home and, most importantly, work with and help you throughout the entire process. Some agents can get top-dollar for your home but are very difficult to work with on other areas of the deal (i.e. completing paperwork, escrow, etc. ). If you can't decide on an agent, call you top choices and set up an interview. Have them bring their resume and proof that they're a licensed real estate agent. Most agents will be willing to sit down with you and give you their sales pitch. If they aren't, then it's obvious they aren't willing to dedicate themselves to helping you with selling your home.
Selling your home is a big event. The home selling process is a large undertaking that requires the expertise of a real estate agent. So if you're thinking about selling your home, don't go it alone. Use the steps above and find a reputable, reliable, and helpful real estate agent.