Note: This is a chapter in my new ebook called The Ultimate Guide to Buying (and then Selling) Your First Home. I will post a chapter a week. If you like what you read, you can pick up a copy here for the price of a candy bar! Buy a candy bar or be a real estate guru! This chapter examines how you choose an agent to sell your house. The last chapter to be shared on this blog you can find here.
Even though Steve and Sally had me to help them with selling their first home, many people are not so lucky. There are a ton of agents out there so unless you get a great referral from a friend or family, there is a good chance you will need to interview several agents before you find the right one. To help you, fair reader, with this task, let’s take a short break from the Steve and Sally story and look at the seven C’s to use when evaluating a listing agent. According to the National Association of Realtors, around 30% of people thinking of selling their homes use referrals from family, friends or colleagues. Although, there is nothing wrong with taking this approach, you should investigate the agent completely before signing a listing agreement with them. Here are some criteria for you to consider when you meet with the agent.
Competency – How well does the agent know real estate industry and best practices? This one can be difficult to determine outside of meeting the agent and asking them questions, which you can find online by searching Google. A good agent should be able to walk you through the process of selling your home quite easily and be able to answer all your questions comprehensively. You can also use online reviews to gauge competency and be sure to ask for referrals from the agent. With so much of our lives being online right now, do a Google Search on the agent. Do they have a website? If so, look to see how they approach it. Do they brag about themselves? Or, do they share their expertise through their website? Is it sound advice?
Completions – How much experience do they have closing listings? It is common knowledge that only about 20 percent of the agents have 80 percent of the business. These mega-agents compared to the other agents is similar to large corporations compared to small businesses. There are positives and negatives to working with the corporation versus the small business. With the small business agents, they have less volume, which means you most likely get more personal attention from that agent. With mega-agents, you will be with a team with the proven track record of closing listings, but might miss out on the one-on-one interaction of one dedicated agent.
Cognition – How aware is the agent of the market as a whole? Agents bring value to the table by knowing the market’s current status. A good agent will know if it is a buyer’s market or a seller’s market and how long this market will stay in place. They should be aware of changing market trends in things like technology, economy and culture. If an agent is not cognitive of the market, you will be putting yourself in a position to not sell your house.
Communication – How and how often will the agent communicate with you during the selling process? Communication is the key to any endeavor and if you have an agent who only works certain hours and has never seen a text message before, you might want to rethink your choice. The process of selling a house requires an agent to be in daily, or at the minimal weekly contact, with the client. Ask the agent how he or she handles communications and make sure they know how you prefer to be contacted.
Community – How involved is the agent in their community? Agents are busy people, but every agent should be taking time out of their hectic days to give back to the community. Many agents will be active volunteers in a local nonprofit or serve on its board of directors. Other agents like to sponsor events like football and/or baseball games. In real estate, like everything else, at times it is more of who you know versus what you know that will get the job done. An agent well-known in the community will bring more people to the table.
Car Salesman? – Is the agent a real estate salesperson or a real estate consultant? Bottom line is that every agent is a sales person to one degree or another. The job requires it. However, there are different levels of sales showmanship. Many agents will insist on an accelerated pace to close the sale while others will move at the pace you are most comfortable. You have figure out your comfort level in hearing sales pitches all the time or having someone who will serve as a consultant helping you along the path to selling your home.
Compassion – How empathetic is the agent to your needs? Everyone has a certain comfort level when it comes to getting personal attention. Some people want to be treated like kings and queens while others would prefer the agent to get the job done and not worry about their feelings as much. Agents are the same way. You must find one that fits your empathetic comfort level in guiding through this very emotional experience of selling your home.
I hope you enjoyed our break in the Steve and Sally story to discuss criteria for selecting the right listing agent for yourself. Of course, you might not want to use all the criteria, but hopefully the seven C’s will give you enough of a guide to get your home sold fast and above asking. Back to Steve and Sally, I set up a time to sit down with them to sign the required paperwork for us to get
started on getting their house on the market. Our first task out of the gate was the Listing agreement.