How to Choose a Listing Agent

There are a lot of decisions to make when selling a house: when, how much, what repairs to name a few. The right listing agent is someone who can answer those questions for you, and who knows what else you should be thinking about when selling your house. But how do you find a good agent? What should you be looking for? Below are some suggestions for how to find a listing agent that’s right for you.

Don’t Go with Highest Listing Price

It’s simple. If you go with the agent who quotes you the highest price, you’ll get the most return on your investment, right? Don’t be fooled by picking an agent based solely on the listing price they give you. Pricing is not exact, nor can any agent promise that your house will sell at any price. The only person with the power to tell you exactly what your house is worth is the buyer. A good agent is aware of market trends and knows what other comparable homes are selling for. They will look at the data and use their experience to give you a selling price. They should also be willing to tell you the truth. If you want to sell your home for more than an agent thinks buyers will pay, they should be direct with you about what might happen if you do. Because in the end, overpricing a house is the best way to keep it from selling.

 
 

Do Ask About Experience & Education

Every agent starts off new, but do you want an agent to learn the ropes at your expense? The best agents are experienced. They work full time as a real estate agent and are available when you need them to be - not just when they get home from their 9-5. Ask agents how long they have been in real estate, whether they’re full or part time, how many sales they do a month. These kinds of questions will help give you an idea of the style of agent they are. In many cases, agents specialize in certain types of properties. If you are selling a condo, you don’t want an agent who has never sold one before. Another aspect to consider, are they a realtor? Many people don’t know that there is a difference between a real estate agent and a realtor. A licensed real estate agent who is also a realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Members of NAR are required to meet higher standards than a regular real estate agent. They have a more stringent code of ethics and have guidelines for continued education and training.

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Don’t Go with Lowest Commission

Similarly to only considering listing price, going with the agent with the lowest commission, the “cheapest” agent, can be just as poor of a strategy as going with the highest price. Like many things in life, with real estate agents often times you get what you pay for. If an agent is willing to offer you a low commission, ask yourself why. Is the agent less experienced? Are they desperate because they haven’t closed a sale in months? The listing agent’s commission goes towards many costs before it goes to the agent themselves. Part of the commission is given to the buyer’s agent, there are marketing costs, brokerage and staff costs. If an agent is offering a discounted commission, it’s possible the costs they have to cut can affect their ability to sell your home.

 
 

Do Ask About Marketing Techniques

As mentioned above, part of a listing agent’s job is marketing your home. The more people who see your house, whether through advertising, open houses or signage, the better your chances of finding a buyer. When considering which agent to work with, ask them about their marketing strategies. Do they know the type of person they’re marketing to? Ask them where they advertise. Hopefully online - because the vast majority of buyers are using the web to shop for homes now. And speaking of online, check to see if they have a website, one that’s modern and updated regularly. Look to see if their social media accounts are active. Do they use professional photos? Great photos are a key component to selling homes. A good real estate agent should have clear plan for marketing your property and getting it the most exposure both on and offline.

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Finding a good listing agent doesn’t have to be complicated. There are enough complications on the journey of selling a house. But it is something that you want to spend some time considering. Many people choose the first agent they come across, hopefully instead you’ll now know how to find the best agent.