The 2015 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers revealed that 89 percent of sellers sold their home with an agent last year. It also notes that only 8 percent were FSBO sales, which is down from 9 percent the last three years, and the lowest share ever recorded since the survey’s 1981 inception.
Obviously, having an agent is key to selling your home. Homes represented by an agent sell faster, transact for more money and are less stressful than if you were going at it alone. But where do you find the best one for you?
According to NAR’s survey, a combined 66 percent of responding sellers found their real estate agent through a referral by a friend, neighbor or relative, or used their agent from a previous transaction. Furthermore, the responses reveal client referrals and repeat business remain the predominant source of business for real estate agents, with most sellers (84 percent) indicating they would definitely (67 percent) or probably (17 percent) recommend their agent for future services.
But choosing an agent to represent you throughout the process is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Here are five questions you should ask before choosing an agent.
1. What sort of marketing plan will you use?
Today, more than ever, the success of a home sale relies on a great marketing campaign, which includes a solid social media strategy. You want to be sure your agent is getting your home seen by as many prospective buyers as possible. What is their online presence? Will they be creating videos? Is there anything unique they’ll be doing to get the word out about your property? By asking these questions ahead of time, you’ll know exactly what the agent is going to do to get your home sold.
2. How are you compensated?
Don’t be afraid to talk about money from the get-go. Before signing anything with an agent, you should understand the percentage he or she will command once the home is sold. The percentage will vary depending on location and market trends, and there may even be some room for negotiation. In a hot market, commissions might dip lower because homes are easier to sell. Conversely, in a weak market, an agent might be less likely to budge on their fee. Along with commission, it’s also important to discuss an agent’s cancellation policy.
3. Do you work alone or with a team
? Nowadays, many agents work as part of a team, so you’ll want to know going into the process whether the person you hire will be the one doing the work, or if the support team will be showing the house and handling the marketing of your home. You may like a particular agent because they posses a level of trust that you think will help, but if they farm the work off to people you haven’t met—and may not have a similar feeling about—the process may not meet your expectations. On the other hand, having more people working for you is never a bad thing, as long as everyone sticks to the game plan.
4. How often will we communicate
? Do you want your agent to call you every day with updates, or only check in when they have something to report? Some sellers like hearing from their agent on the phone on a consistent basis, while others would prefer a quick text to update them on the progress. Let your agent know what you want and see how well they communicate along your terms. Real estate professionals should have the tools to stay in touch according to your wants and needs. Just be sure to express them clearly in the beginning.
5. How many listings do you currently have?
You may find an agent who has everything you’re looking for, but learn that they have a dozen other properties in your neighborhood that they represent. If this is the case, how certain are you that they’ll be putting your home above the others? It’s not to say that a good agent can’t handle multiple listings, but take the time to decide if this is something that’s important to you. In the end, you need to feel comfortable knowing that your house is at the top of their list.
For more tips on choosing an agent, contact our office today.
Published with permission from RISMedia.