Selling your home is a big decision, certainly not one you take lightly. One of the first steps you’ll take in the process is choosing a real estate agent to represent you in selling your home. There are a lot of real estate agents out there vying for your business. Many are able to get your home sold, but only a few can get you the best deal. Even fewer can make the process easy. It’s important to know what to look for when hiring an agent. We thought we’d give you a few tips for what to look for in a listing agent.
Table of Contents – what to look for in a listing agent
- Comparative Market Analysis
- The ability to attract qualified buyers
- Showing facilitation
- The ability to sell in a reasonable time frame
- Competence handling paperwork and negotiating offers
- High quality photography and virtual tours
- Digital and print marketing
- Access to private networks
- Professional Reputation
- Open Communication
- Local market knowledge
- Strong Marketing strategy
What to look for in a listing agent – Services every agent should be offering
There are certain services every real estate agent should offer. When hiring a real estate agent, you should ensure that they can offer all of these services.
A comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
Every real estate agent should offer a comparative market analysis or CMA. A CMA is an evaluation of your property based on the current local market and the price of homes in your area. A CMA identifies similar home recently sold in your area and provides a basis on which to price your home.
An agent will review the CMA with you and explain the market in order to determine the best price for your home.
The ability to attract qualified buyers
Another service every agent should provide is the ability to attract buyers. Usually, this is done by placing your home in the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service) where it will syndicate to sites such as Zillow and Realtor.com. Your agent should include a detailed listing description and professional photos in the MLS listing.
Additionally, your agent should ensure that any potential buyers are qualified to purchase your home. One way agents can ensure this is by requiring buyers to include a pre-approval letter from a lender with their offer.
An agent should also manage showings for your property. They should be the first point of contact when a buyer or agent want to view your property. They will let you know in advance when showings are scheduled. If you live in your home, you can work out an advance notice time frame with the agent. If the home you are selling is vacant, your agent will allow buyer’s agents to show the home to clients using the MLS lockbox.
The ability to sell in a reasonable time frame
The time it takes to sell a home varies by local market. In hot markets, homes can sell in as little as 30 days. In many other markets, though, homes can take longer to sell. Luxury homes and homes in rural areas in particular can take much longer to sell. Your real estate agent should be able to tell you what the average days on market are for similar homes in your area.
In addition, they should be able to get your home sold in a similar time-frame.
Competence handling and negotiating offers and paperwork
Another important service real estate agents should offer is their ability to handle and negotiate offers and paperwork. In order to become licensed, agents must be familiar with the necessary paperwork required by their state.
In addition, agents should have an understanding of the market in relation to the offer. Your agent should advise on whether to accept an offer or counter the offer, or wait for other offers. Once you accept an offer, your agent should be able to help you negotiate any repairs that might come up on an inspection.
What to look for in a listing agent – Services exceptional agents offer
There are other services that exceptional agents offer clients on top of what you should expect. These services are not offered by every agent, but in most markets you should be able to find an agent who can offer these services.
High quality photography and virtual tours
Every real estate agent should offer professional photography. Some, however, offer additional services such as curating a virtual tour of your home or providing aerial photography for a home on land.
Digital and print marketing
Another services agents often offer is print and digital marketing. Your agent should place flyers in the flyer box on a for sale sign at your property. This gives potential buyers in your area access to additional information on your property. Most agents these days, also offer social media marketing on Facebook or Instagram and on their website.
These marketing platforms offer additional visibility for your property and get it in front of numerous additional buyers.
Access to private networks
Top real estate agents also have access to private networks. Your agent might already be aware of buyers that may be interested in a property such as yours. In addition, they can sometimes get insight into interest and pricing for your home before it even goes on the market.
What to look for in a listing agent – Other qualities to look for in a listing agent
Besides services, there are certain skills and character traits you should look for in a realtor. These qualities will make them easy to work with and can make the process of selling your home easier.
It’s important to look for agents with a professional reputation in the community. A realtor should handle business with responsibility and professionalism at all times. Many top agents build their business on repeat business and referrals from satisfied clients. One way you can tell if an agent is professional is by reading reviews left by other clients.
Open communication is another important characteristic of a good listing agent. A great real estate agent sets expectations, always answers your questions, takes your calls, and provides feedback on your home for everything from the list price to suggested repairs to increase the value.
A good agent should also communicate well with other buyers agents. It’s important that they have open communication with other realtors in order to keep the deal running smoothly.
Local Market Knowledge
Local Market knowledge is also important. When selling a home, you want someone who knows the area. They should be familiar with the current real estate market. The agent should know whether the market is hot or a bit cooler. They should be familiar with your particular neighborhood and provide pricing advice based on your neighborhood specifically.
Local knowledge also allows real estate agents to better market your home. When you choose an agent with a good understanding of the local market, they will know what features to highlight. They’ll also have a good understanding of who to target that might be interested in buying your home.
You want someone who is experienced not just in real estate, but in the local market.
Strong Marketing Strategy
One more thing to look for in a real estate agent is a strong marketing strategy. With all of today’s advances in technology, a good real estate agent should have a social media marketing strategy for your home in addition to print marketing, high quality professional photos, and a willingness to hold an open house for your home.