If you are considering selling your home, finding the right real estate agent is critical. You want to find the “Get It Done” agent in your area – the type of agent who lives and breathes real estate and has an intimate knowledge not just of your neighborhood but also with the surrounding community. This agent will leverage his or her knowledge and expertise to maximize the sales price and educate prospective buyers on why your home and community is the right place for them. Finding the Get It Done agent takes a little investment on your part but the payoff is huge. You deserve a high level of service, investment and communication from the agent representing your most valuable asset – your home. When you hire an agent they become a unique contractual extension of you so you need to make sure the fit is right.
Before making the decision to list you home with a Realtor, ask your friends, family and neighbors for agent recommendations. This is the best starting point to develop a roster of potential agent candidates. Title companies and lenders are another great source because they work with agents on a daily basis. Once you’ve assembled the list, look them up online and see how strong their presence is. Are they visible and do they appear to be active? Narrow your list to those with a strong online presence and history of working with homeowners in your neighborhood.
Once you’ve created the short list of candidates, interview at least three of them before making your decision. Treat this like an interview and let them know you are interviewing other agents and have them prepared to answer the following five questions:
1. What’s Your Story? Ask the Realtor why they are in the real estate business and what their path was to get there. Some have a passion for property and helping people reach their goals. They are continually improving, evolving and learning the craft. Others are not as engaged and may have found themselves in the industry for other reasons. You want to make sure the agent you hire is passionate and excited about what they do and eager to represent you with the sale of your home.
2. Are You an Expert in My Neighborhood? You want to hire a Realtor that is an expert in your neighborhood and the type of property you have. Ask the agent to give you a list of properties sold within your area over the past 6 months. Also ask him or her about the happenings in the surrounding community to make sure they are in touch with current events. If you have a unique property such as waterfront, high-rise condominium or a large parcel with acreage, you should ask the agent about their expertise in selling properties that share the unique attributes of your property. If it seems like they are playing outside of their area of expertise, move on quickly. You do not want your home to be the first of its type the agent lists.
3. Who Have You Represented Recently? A Get It Done agent should be able to provide you with at least 10 references of homeowners he or she represented in the past 6 months. Have the agent summarize the transaction before you call. What was the listing price? Ultimate selling price? Days on the market? Concessions? Any unique issues that came up during the transaction? This type of transaction summary will allow for a more informed conversation with the reference when you call – and you must call!
4. What is Your Plan? You want to find an agent that will invest time, energy and resources in selling your home. They should be able to quickly explain their marketing and communication plan to you. Ask the agent how much money and time they plan to dedicate to selling your home and how that compares to their other listings. A well rounded marketing plan should include things like a great MLS listing, quality photos and video of the home, information on the surrounding community, open house schedule, syndication of the listing to other digital platforms and websites, social media awareness and traditional “get the word out” marketing such as post cards, flyers and agent-to-agent communications. The agent should also give you regular updates on the progress of the marketing efforts and number of people who have viewed the home’s listing online or inquired directly. This update should take place weekly.
5. What Do You Expect of Me? Selling a home is a collaborative effort. It takes the skills and attention of multiple parties such as the listing agent, buyer’s agent, appraiser, lender, inspector, title company, escrow company and you. Ask the Realtor what is expected of you during the listing and sales process. If the agent says “Nothing, I will handle everything and let you know when we are set to close”, you may want to ask more questions or find another agent. A Get It Done agent should be excited to invite you into this process and inform you of what you will need to do. Keeping the house clean, tidy and presentable; responding quickly to emails and phone calls to schedule showings, answer questions and respond to negotiation items; be prepared to leave the house on a moment’s notice to accommodate a showing; help spread the word that your home is for sale; and make the new buyers and their agent feel welcome when they visit your property are just a few examples. While the Realtor will play the lead role in selling your home, you should be expected to play a very important assist role to make the transaction a smooth one for you and the buyers.
A Get It Done agent should welcome the opportunity to share their story and walk you through their experience, past client list, marketing plan and the role you will play in the process. Taking the time to find this type of agent is well worth the effort.