How to Choose a Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home?

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how to choose a realtor for selling

There are over 3 million active real estate licensees in the United States. That could make the idea of selecting a real estate agent to sell your house feel a little daunting. 

Of course, only some of those agents work in your area. But if you want the best agent for your needs, you need to know how to choose a real estate agent for selling your home.

The right real estate agent can expedite the selling process, ensure a fair selling price, and make the entire experience seamless. The best realtors are experts in your area, are trustworthy, easy to work with, and they’ll provide you with the best experience while helping you sell your property. 

Making the wrong choice could mean a longer time on the market, a selling price below your expectations, or a real estate transaction filled with challenges and frustrations.

With the right know-how, you can uncover the best tactics to find the right agent for your needs. In this guide, we’ll outline the essential factors to consider when selecting a realtor to sell your home.

Let’s get started…

1. Find Real Estate Agents from a Reputable Source Like Fast Expert

The first step is to use a reputable platform like FastExpert to search for an experienced, high-quality real estate agent that aligns with your priorities.

What’s most important to you? Excellent communication and local market expertise? An aggressive negotiator who will work tirelessly to maximize your sale price? Defining your priorities will guide your research.

On FastExpert, you can:

  • Read verified reviews to evaluate agents’ skills in your key priority areas.
  • Filter by specific traits to find an agent that fits your ideal profile.
  • View track records and closings to assess their experience.
  • Check use of professional photography and marketing abilities.
  • See average days on market to gauge effectiveness.
  • Learn specialties to find an agent experienced with your property type.
  • Research availability based on popularity and listings.
  • Check closed deals to avoid inactive agents.

Thoroughly vetting agents on FastExpert allows you to find the one that closest matches your priorities and ideal profile.

Considering speaking with at least three agents. A Zillow study found that 56% of sellers consult only one agent. 

Engaging multiple agents allows for a comparative assessment. Even if an agent comes highly recommended, vetting multiple candidates ensures you make an informed decision based on consistent criteria.

2. Conduct Thorough Due Diligence on Realtors

Before entrusting a realtor with your property, you must be sure of their credentials, experience, and reputation. Take the following approach to make sure that you are making an informed choice:

Evaluation of the Realtor’s Track Record

  • Area of Specialization: Assess whether they predominantly operate within your neighborhood or the broader market. This can provide insights into their depth of knowledge about local property trends and price points.
  • Type of Properties: Examine their past listings to see if they frequently deal with homes similar to yours, be it luxury properties, condos, or fixer-uppers. An agent familiar with your type of property can position it effectively in the market.
  • Average Days on Market: This metric provides a glimpse into how efficiently they handle listings. A lower number typically indicates their ability to sell homes quickly.
  • List-to-Sell Ratio: A pivotal determinant of their negotiation skills. The higher the ratio, the better they are at securing favorable deals for their clients. To derive this, take the sale price of properties they’ve handled and divide it by the original list price.

License & Disciplinary History Check:

  • Licensing: Real estate agents must be licensed as per state regulations. It’s crucial to verify the current status of their license through the respective state’s regulatory board.
  • Disciplinary Actions: Scrutinize for any disciplinary actions or complaints lodged against them. This information can usually be found online and gives a clearer picture of their professional conduct.

Differentiate Among Professional Titles

Real estate professionals can operate under various titles, with each carrying distinct implications. It’s crucial to understand these differences.

If someone claims to be a ‘realtor,’ cross-check their membership with the National Association of Realtors. Members of this association are bound by a stringent code of ethics, ensuring a higher standard of professionalism.

Incorporate this comprehensive due diligence into your selection process to minimize risks and position yourself for a more favorable selling experience.

3. Interviewing Real Estate Agents

You’ve done your homework and selected a few Realtors that really seem to be a great fit. Now comes the most important part: the interview. This is your chance to ask questions, get to know the agent, and ensure they’re the right person for the job.

Some agents will want to meet in person while others may be happy to chat over the phone or through video call. Regardless of how you conduct the interview, there are some key real estate agent interview questions you should ask:

  • Commitment Level:
    • Are you a full-time or part-time agent? This helps ascertain the time they can allocate to your listing.
  • Experience in the Field
    • How long have you been in real estate? Although tenure doesn’t always equate to proficiency, understanding their journey can provide context.
  • Team Dynamics:
    • Do you operate solo or with a team? If they are part of a team, understanding the roles and number of people dedicated to your listing is essential.
  • Marketing Insights:
    • What strategies do you employ to market homes? A proficient agent should have a cohesive plan encompassing both online and offline mediums.
  • Pricing Perspectives:
    • How do you approach pricing, and do you conduct a comparative market analysis (CMA) before advising?
  • Communication Nuances:
    • How often and through which modes do you communicate with clients? Aligning communication styles is essential for a harmonious partnership.
  • Local Success Stories:
    • Could you cite some properties you’ve successfully sold in my vicinity?
  • Current Commitments:
    • Are you representing any buyers currently? This isn’t necessarily a detriment but helps understand potential conflicts of interest.
  • Fee Structure:
    • How is your commission structured? While 5-6% is customary, some variation might exist based on locale or other conditions.

4. Evaluate their professional network

In the competitive realm of real estate, an agent’s network can often make the difference between a swift, lucrative sale and a prolonged, less profitable one. 

The breadth and depth of a listing agent’s professional connections offer a critical advantage:

  • Connections with Fellow Agents: A seasoned estate agent frequently collaborates with other agents, both buyer’s agents and listing agents. These alliances provide insights into prospective buyers, upcoming listings, and shifts in local market trends. Moreover, they can quickly spread the word about your property to potential buyers within their network.
  • Relationships with Service Providers: A well-rounded agent maintains close ties with professionals such as home inspectors, title companies, mortgage brokers, and real estate attorneys. These affiliations can not only streamline the selling process but also offer preferred rates or services. It’s not just about selling; it’s about facilitating a smooth real estate transaction from start to finish.
  • Engagement in Local Community: The most effective agents are deeply embedded within their communities. Their understanding of the local market is unrivaled, offering insights into buyer preferences, neighborhood development, and property values. They can benchmark your property against those recently sold, ensuring your listing price aligns with market expectations.
  • Effective Marketing Tools: Marketing is paramount in real estate. Top agents use professional photography to showcase homes in the best light. They utilize digital platforms, conduct open houses, and tap into local media to ensure a property reaches its target audience. Their marketing plan should be transparent, forward-thinking, and tailored to your property’s unique selling points.

When interviewing prospective agents, don’t just skim the surface. Dig deep into the scope of their professional associations and tools. A well-networked agent can expedite sales, negotiate better deals, and navigate challenges with greater agility.

5. Carefully Review the Listing Agreement

The listing agreement is a legally binding contract between you and the agent, so it’s essential to understand all terms before signing. Here are some tips for reviewing the agreement:

  • Check the length – Listing agreements typically last 6 months but can range from 30 days to a year. Ensure the duration aligns with what you discussed with the agent. A shorter term can motivate quicker sales.
  • Review the commission rate – Standard commissions are 5-6%, but rates are negotiable. Verify the percentage aligns with your prior discussions and local norms.
  • Look for an exit clause – Seek a cancellation policy or exit clause allowing you to terminate the contract if needed. This motivates an agent to prioritize your listing.
  • Confirm listing details – Ensure the listing price, included appliances/fixtures, and other details match your expectations.
  • Ask about unclear terms – Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification on any vague or concerning provisions. A reputable agent will explain.
  • Consider legal review – You may wish to have a real estate lawyer review the agreement to ensure it protects your interests.
  • Take time making a decision – Don’t feel pressured into signing quickly. Review the agreement carefully over several days if needed.
  • Get copies – Obtain copies of the signed agreement for your records before listing the property.

Sign the listing agreement only when all questions are answered satisfactorily and you feel fully confident doing so. If an agent hesitates to clarify or modify reasonable concerns, that’s a red flag.

Do I Need a Realtor to Sell My Home? 

Having a real estate agent help you sell your house is not a requirement. The option to sell a home yourself is always available to you.

Keep in mind, there is a lot that goes into the sale of a home that you might not be experienced in doing. A real estate agent can bring a lot to the table in terms of experience, marketing, and negotiation.

The best real estate agents will make recommendations to help you sell based on what buyers are looking for. They do this before you even put your home on the market. They have connections and information that someone not in the industry usually doesn’t. 

So, while anyone is able to sell their home, choosing to hire a listing agent to help with the heavy lifting usually pays the seller back with the trouble they save and possibly a higher listing price. This is why we recommend finding the best listing agent because it will likely lead to a quicker, more profitable sale.

But it’s important to know how to pick a real estate agent that’s right for you. Otherwise, you might find that your agent isn’t as helpful as you’d hoped.

The Bottom Line

After you’ve interviewed all your favorite real estate agents and brokers, review your options and consider who will be the best fit for you. While you reflect on your interviews with each realtor, ask yourself: 

  • Was this realtor friendly? Approachable? 
  • Did they seem to really listen to my needs? 
  • Are they easy to work with? 
  • Are they creative and effective negotiators?
  • Do I trust this Realtor? 

If a realtor has checked all of your boxes on your background check, they seem easy to work with, and you feel they’ll get you a good deal, then you’ve found a great partner! Let your new agent know you’re ready to commit to partnering with them so they can get your property listed! If you followed this guide, you can go forward knowing your investment is in good hands. 

If you’re ready to start researching and interviewing your next realtor, find everything you need here on FastExpert.

Andrew Te

Andrew has 7+ years of experience in Real Estate and working with Real Estate Agents. He is passionate about the housing market and solving problems.

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