3 steps to choosing the right real estate agent
Selling your home can be a stressful process, and the last thing you need is to hand over your best asset to a dud. It’s important to form a healthy working relationship with a selling agent who has drive, a healthy sales track record and a genuine desire to get you the best possible deal.

Instead of wondering what to look for in a real estate agent, look for recommendations. One of the best ways to track down a selling agent with these qualities is through word of mouth. If someone you know has bought or sold recently, ask about their experience.

It also makes sense to choose an agent with local presence and knowledge. Yes, the internet means agents can list properties far outside their local region, but there’s nothing like boots on the ground to showcase what’s on offer in your area.

Get several appraisals before you choose your real estate agent

The appraisal – how much your house might sell for – is only one factor when deciding which real estate agent to choose, but it’s an important one. Ask several agents to provide estimates and factor them into your choice. Don’t automatically accept the agent who comes in with the highest figure –make sure they’re a good fit in other ways, too.

An agent may provide an inflated appraisal just to win your listing, and if they’re way off your home could languish on the market. Ask instead for a track record. What has the agent sold in your area in the last 6 months? How long have his listings been on the market on average?

Fluctuations in value could mean you lose more than you would have if you’d sold for a lower price sooner. Plus, the longer you’re on the market, the harder it is for you to forge on with finding your next home.

Most importantly, ask each agent for an explanation of why they arrived at their particular price estimate. If they can’t show their working out, move on.

Make sure you understand the costs

Your agent’s selling commission is another factor to weigh up. In some states this is set by law; in other areas commission is open to negotiation. The critical thing is to understand exactly what you are getting for your money. Be sure to include those costs when you’re planning how much you need for your next property .

As well as commission, vendors are increasingly being asked to foot the bill for their home’s marketing campaign – a cost that’s separate from commission. You need to work out which agent will deliver the most bang for your advertising buck with a carefully considered strategy that will help your home achieve the highest possible price.

Listen to your agent’s advice

Part of what makes a good real estate agent is clear lines of communication. You need to trust the person or company you choose. Agree on how often they will report back to you with the results of inspections, the number of contracts issued and any buyer feedback.

It also helps to take on board any of the agent’s suggestions regarding the presentation of your home . You don’t have to follow their advice to the letter but bear in mind you’re chasing the same goal: the best price in the shortest time.

Along with your selling agent, it pays to develop a good working relationship with your lender. We can’t tell you which real estate agent to use but we can make buying your next home a lot easier.

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