How to Choose a Selling Agent (2023)
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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.
With the right know-how, you can uncover the best tactics to find the right agent for your needs. Here we’ll be going over the top things you need to know about how to choose a Realtor when selling your home.
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.
Skilled 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. But one of the biggest arguments for hiring a listing agent has to be the paperwork. Realtors have experience with the full closing process and can guide you through all the ins and outs without headache.
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.
How to Choose a Listing Agent
Buying and selling real estate is about more than just money though. The best realtors are experts, they are trustworthy, easy to work with, and they’ll provide you the best experience while helping you sell your property.
1. Decide What Is Most Important to You
The first step in choosing a real estate agent to sell your home is deciding what matters to you in a real estate partnership.
Do you want someone who has great communication skills to answer your questions and give you sound advice? Maybe you want someone who will work hard to get you the most money for your property. Or you want someone who knows your market inside and out.
Laying this groundwork will help you when you start interviewing agents. Online real estate agent directories like FastExpert, read through reviews and allow you to filter by traits that clients mentioned. This can be incredibly helpful in finding listing agents in your area and help narrow down your choices to what you really want.
2. Scan the Local Real Estate Market
When you’re ready to find a top realtor, getting information about realtors closest to your property can help narrow down your choices.
You can use Google search or tools like FastExpert.com to see which real estate agents have the most sales in your area. When you find a real estate agent’s profile or website, poke around and ask yourself these questions during your search:
How popular is this Realtor compared to others in the area?
While the most popular agents may be the most attractive, it’s important to consider they might have a lot of clients. This means they could either not be able to give you all the attention you need or pass you off to someone else on their team. This leads to the next question.
>> AGENT ANSWERS: Should call the listing agent when I find a home I like?
How many properties do they have listed now?
If an agent has a lot of listings, it might mean they’re good at what they do. But it could also be a sign that they’re too busy to give your listing the attention it deserves. You should also check out the agent’s social media presence and look at their website.
How long have those properties been listed?
If an agent has a lot of listings that have been on the market for a while, it could be a sign they’re not good at selling homes.
Search for the agent on FastExpert and find out more about their experience, recent sales, customer reviews, and more to get a good idea of their reach and ability.
How many properties has this Realtor closed in the past year?
While you don’t want an agent who is too green, you also don’t want someone who hasn’t closed a deal in a while and might be rusty.
Does this realtor use high-quality photos and descriptions in their listings?
If they don’t put time into making their other listings look good, they’re likely not going to do the same for yours.
There are other signals you should look for when researching, but these can give you a good starting point. Once you’ve found a few realtors that stand out, it’s time to dive deeper and see if they will be the best candidate for you.
3. Check the Realtor’s Track Record
To do your due diligence, you should check in on a realtor’s transaction history. This is the best way to see what locations they have the most experience selling homes in. You can also learn about the types of properties they typically sell.
Some things you should look for:
Do they have a lot of experience in your specific market or neighborhood?
You want to make sure they understand your area and what the homes are worth.
Do they have experience selling homes like yours?
If you’re selling a fixer-upper, you want an agent who knows how to market that type of property.
What are their average days on market?
This will give you an idea of how quickly they’re able to sell homes. The shorter the better.
What is their list-to-sell ratio?
This will show you how well they’re able to negotiate on behalf of their clients. A higher ratio means they were able to get their clients a better price. To get a basic understanding of their individual ratio, look at the listing & sales history of properties on sites like Zillow. Take the sale price and divide it by the list price to find the percentage.
Many of the top FastExpert agent profiles include transaction history and their performance in the last 12 months. So you’ll have that important information when making your decision. You can also message an agent and request the contact details of their past clients. This is a great way to see what others thought of the agent and how well they worked together.
4. Check License & Disciplinary History
All real estate professionals are required to be licensed in their state according to their local laws. You can check an agent or broker’s license status on your state’s regulatory board website.
You should also check for any disciplinary action against the agent. Most states will have this information available online as well. Disciplinary actions could be anything from a customer complaint to a more serious offense.
Also, you should understand that there is a difference between a real estate agent, a broker, and a Realtor. If an agent is advertising themselves as a Realtor, you should also confirm their membership status with the National Association of Realtors. All members are required to adhere to a strict code of ethics.
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:
Are you a full-time or part-time agent?
You want to make sure they have the time to dedicate to selling your home.
How long have you been in real estate?
The length of time an agent has been working doesn’t necessarily correlate with success, but it’s still something you may want to know.
Do you work with a team or are you an individual agent?
If they have a team, find out how many people will be working on your listing and what their roles are.
What is your marketing strategy?
You want to see how they plan on getting your home in front of buyers. They should have an extensive online and offline marketing plan.
What are your thoughts on pricing my home?
You want to get a sense of their pricing strategy. Are they aggressive or more conservative? Do they do a comparative market analysis (CMA) before making a recommendation?
How do you communicate with clients?
>> AGENT ANSWERS: How much of the selling price do I get?
Some people prefer frequent updates while others want to hear from their agent less often. Find out what their communication style is like and see if it aligns with your preferences.
What other homes have you sold in the area?
This is a great way to get an idea of their success in selling homes in your neighborhood.
Are you working with any buyers right now?
If they are, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. But you may want to know if they have any conflicts of interest.
What is your commission structure?
Most agents charge a standard commission of 5-6%. But some may charge more or less depending on the area and other factors.
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.