Choosing a fabulous real estate agent is critical if you want to successfully sell your home, especially if you want to do it quickly and get top dollar.
It’s always good to get referrals and to interview more than one agent. Here are seven tips to consider when it comes to selecting a listing agent:
They should specialize in selling homes like yours and be very familiar with your city and neighborhood. You need full-time effort when it comes to selling too. This isn’t the time to choose the neighbor lady who sells 3 houses per year because she is just so nice. Selling your home is a business transaction, a big one. Choose an expert who will give your listing full time effort.
2. Review their other listings on-line.
This will tell you a lot about how they will market your home. Look for agents who have the maximum number of great photos and a complete description of every listing. Avoid agents who have no photos, only a few or terrible photos. Also, not updating photos is a red flag. I have seen cases where a seller pays thousands of dollars for staging after the home has been on the market for a while and the photos are NEVER updated on the MLS. Remember, on-line listings are the new curb appeal. Most buyers review hundreds of homes on the internet yet visit only a dozen before making an offer. Choose an agent who uses the internet to your advantage. Definitely find out if the agent uses a professional photographer and if there will be a video of your home. Unless the agent used to BE a professional photographer (and there are a few in our area) they should not be the one taking the photos.
3. Don’t select the cheapest.
I know we are all price sensitive but you truly get what you pay for. If an agent can’t stick to their price how good do you think they will be at negotiating yours? Besides, the less they earn – the less motivated they are to make your listing a priority. A good agent can be responsible for helping you realized tens of thousands of dollars more than a so-so agent. You get to keep 94% of this – it’s a great deal for you.
4. Review their listing package.
What will they do for you? How does it compare to other agents? Do you understand the process? What do you need to do to prepare? Are they honest with you or are they telling you what you want to hear to get the listing? Will they use a professional photographer? Will you have a virtual tour or video? Will they host a broker open or other event at your home? Will they promote your home with postcards? Social media? In print advertisements? With featured listings on key internet sites? They don’t have to do all of these but make sure you feel comfortable with their approach and plan for marketing your home.
5. Choose someone who will price your home correctly.
A lot of sellers think that picking the agent who tells them the highest list price is the way to go. But if this price is too high, it is a huge and costly mistake. Look for an agent who can back up the price with sold comparables. Remember, it is what similar houses have sold for that counts, not what they are listed for. The first 30 days on the market are the most critical, if you are over priced you lose out on those qualified buyers who are just waiting for a home like yours to come on the market. Unfortunately, what you owe on the home or what it was worth a few years ago has nothing to do with what it is worth today or what price you can get. (I know it can be a bitter pill to swallow sometimes.)
6. Ask about their statistics.
Specifically their average Days to Contract and their Sales Price to List Price Ratio. Ask if the Sales Price to List Price Ratio accounts for price reductions (it should). And ask how their numbers compare with the market. Do be aware that some agents tend to price on the lower side so their Sales Price to List Price ratio may look fabulous but they may not be maximizing all you can get. Compare the recommended listing prices from agents you interview to determine if this might be the case.
7. Interview 3 agents
To compare pricing, marketing strategies and approach. Then sleep on it for a night or two. I have found that there is usually one agent that really feels like the best fit and who you feel most comfortable about handling the sometimes stressful negotiations involved in selling your home.
While these seven tips are important, the most important thing to remember is to choose someone who you trust and feel comfortable working with. Your agent should inspire confidence.
Good luck selling your home!
P.S. We work with a lot of Boulder area realtors and get to see up close and personal how they market your home and how successful their effort are. If you would like a recommendation, please give us a call at 720-295-0720.