Over the last year, we have watched an incredible seller’s market continue to heat up. A new focus on the importance of the home, low interest rates, and demand that far exceeds supply, has resulted in many of us to at least kick the tires to see how much we could list and sell our homes for.
That said, no matter how much this market favors the seller side, the Real Estate Agent you hire to manage the planning and execution of the transaction is absolutely critical to not only maximize your proceeds at closing, but do so in an efficient, stress-free way.
As a team of successful Realtors and Investors with eclectic skill-sets, we were excited to brainstorm and create this list of considerations when it comes to choosing the best Real Estate Professional to partner with to sell your home.
The Ol’ Adage – Location, Location, Location
There is something about local knowledge when it comes to selling a home. We believe that your listing agent, or their designated team member, should be an expert on your neighborhood and community. From house types, street by street highlights, to comp values, you want your agent to know the details.
When you begin talking to prospective agents, make sure you are inquisitive about a local experience early on in your conversations. If you are talking with someone who is part of a team who isn’t an expert in the area you are selling, ask them if they have support from someone on their team who is.
Trusting the Process
Along with local knowledge, you want a listing agent with a proven process. The best in the business can walk you through the entire process – from initial conversation to post-closing – in a clear, detailed way. Your Realtor is your project manager, and you have the right to expect a clear plan.
Agents who have been in the business for a long time are often advantageous to work with. That said, don’t necessarily make it a requirement. If you know someone who is new to the industry and want to consider them as your list agent, go for it. However, newer agents who are not part of a team or who don’t have a close mentor helping them navigate the waters may be too risky to go with. Remember, this is a business decision.
References & Reviews
Talk to past and current clients. Reputable, producing agents will be happy to send you references to reach out to. The proof is in the pudding! We recommend talking to 2-3 references before scheduling walk-throughs. This is something we should all do when shopping for any service or product! Often, agents will have reviews posted online, but we still recommend reaching out to clients directly.
Look at their Online Presence of Current Listings & Past Sales
Take note of….
Days on market? Quality of property description? Photo quality? Video tours and Matterport? Reviewing and asking about the agent’s online presence is extremely important. In this market, buyers are making strong offers without even seeing a home in person, so make sure your agent is going to make your home shine online. Things to look for and observe when looking at listings online include:
- Photography – High Definition Resolution (HDR), professionally edited images.
- Staging quality, if applicable to your property.
- Video Tours or Matterport Tours – Enable buyers to tour the home from their couch.
- Floorplans – show the buyers the home they are getting – foot by foot information about the property. Key for helping interest buyers quickly calculate post-settlement renovations.
Property walk through with Potential Listing Agents
Rarely is a home “list ready” when the decision to sell is made. When you have narrowed down your list of agents you’d like to meet, it is not only a key opportunity to determine your chemistry with your selections; it is the time when you begin to wrap your arms around the scope of work you will take on to prepare your property for sale.
A few suggestions for maximizing your agent walk-throughs…..
- Before meeting anyone, make a room-by-room list of highlights, and potential drawbacks, of the property. Things to note include roof age, appliance details, leaky bathroom sink, etc. List the good and the bad and be honest with the agents. The pros in the business have seen it all and can help guide you through it.
- Be observant! Did the agent show up to your walkthrough on time? Did they take the time to answer all of your questions? Did they carry themselves professionally? Trust your instincts.
- Refrain from putting agents on the spot for a list price at the walk-through, but ask them when you can expect to hear from them about numbers.
- Know your timeframe. Do you need to list ASAP? In a month? Six months? Talk timing with the agent to make sure you are on the same page. This is particularly important for managing pre-list improvements and preparations.
- Take notes!
Not only are the agents’ opinions and suggestions about pre-list improvements and repairs important, how they will help you get them done is CRITICAL! An agent who has knowledge of the costs for certain repairs, and a rolodex of licensed contractors who can help you execute them, is extremely beneficial. Be leary of agents who give you a list of repairs/improvements and say “call me when you have these done.” You want an agent who can refer painters, plumbers, electricians, etc. who are reliable and reputable. Trust us, the best agents do!
Commission & Fees
Be sure and talk with potential agents about any and all costs you will incur to sell your property. Along with a list price, agents should provide you with a seller net sheet that shows you what amount of money you will walk away from the settlement table with.
List Price and Pricing Strategy
Although we don’t recommend automatically going with the agent who gives you the highest list price, it is an important factor when deciding on an agent. And albeit less common in this seller’s market, you should also discuss the agent’s price adjustment strategy.
The proposed list price should be supported by a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) to justify the price.
Innovation & Use of Technology
Lastly, we urge you to discuss marketing, innovation, and technology with your agent candidates. Like many industries, the internet and technology is changing the way business is done. For example, at REXTAR, they are disrupting the selling process through REXTAR’S® Open Offer™, which is maximizing seller profits while equaling the playing field for interested buyers.
Thanks for reading and as always, feel free to contact us with any questions. We’d love to work with you!