By John E. Baer, SRES, SRS
How do you choose from the myriad of real estate agents out there, all telling you that they’re the biggest, the best? Choosing the right agent can mean tens of thousands of dollars difference to your final sale price. According to the numbers, around 70% of home sellers choose the first real estate agent they find. You’re selling what may be your biggest asset and you only interviewed one person for the job?
OK, so rule number one – how to avoid one of the biggest mistakes home sellers make. Interview at least three agents for the job. You’ll get a far better feel for what type of agent suits you, you’ll educate yourself through the process and you’ll know that you’ve given yourself the very best chance at choosing the right agent for you.
So what makes a good real estate agent?
When choosing a real estate agent to sell your home, remember that you are entering into a business relationship with someone that may last several months. So when speaking with prospective agents, consider whether you are going to be able to have multiple conversations with this person – is he or she the sort of person you would feel comfortable with bringing strangers through your home?
2. Honesty and Integrity
You need someone that is going to tell you the truth whether you want to hear it or not. You need an agent who will tell you that the ugly brown carpet in your den has to go or you need to do something about that doggy smell.
And if an agent’s valuation of your home is significantly higher than the others, ask him or her to show you how he or she came up with that figure – or is the agent just over valuing your home with the sole intention of securing your listing – and yes, that does happen, more than it should.
3. Communication Skills
In an industry that demands good communication, it seems strange that the number one complaint from consumers about agents is their lack of communication. Sellers complain that agents don’t return calls, emails, texts or they are simply not kept up to date with inquiries on their property.
4. Marketing Expertise
The quality of the marketing for your property is crucial if you are to achieve the best price possible. Photos have a huge influence on whether your home makes potential buyers’ ‘must see’ lists or they just move onto the next property.
A great agent doesn’t have to have years and years of experience. Some agents who have wonderful experience and wisdom are simply too busy to do the time-intensive guidance your situation may require. And some agents who are new to real estate bring highly relevant expertise and skills they’ve developed in other careers, have ample time to devote to your transaction and can enlist the real estate specific insights of an experienced team leader, manager or broker.
6. Real Estate Knowledge
Your agent doesn’t need to know everything, but he or she does need to know how and where to get accurate answers to complex questions.
The Take Away
Selling your home is a transaction valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and often more, so take the time to choose your agent wisely.
John E. Baer, SRES, SRS is a NYS licensed real estate salesperson associated with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Westchester Properties of Scarsdale and Larchmont. He can be reached for questions at 914/600-6086 or at 914/844-2059. His website is www.WestchesterHomes.info.