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Pick the Right Agent to Sell Your Home

05/11/2013
If you're selling a home, a good real estate agent is a must. They will help you set the right price, market the home professionally, qualify the buyers, and expertly negotiate and finalize the deal. They are your best resource to get the most return on your investment. Here are some things to look for in an agent.

Good seller's agents have tons of experience with recent sales and have to balance optimism with realism and diplomacy with brutal honesty. You'll pay a substantial sum for an agent's service in commission, so make sure you interview more than one realtor and find someone you are comfortable working with.

Round Up Good Prospects
To identify prospective agents, ask for referrals from family, neighbors or friends or use the search tools on the Web sites of the National Association of Realtors or the Council of Residential Specialists
Try to limit your search to agents with credentials that match your need. For example look for someone who has sold other homes in your neighborhood or specializes in properties similar to your own.
You want someone who will work assertively on your behalf but won't come on too aggressively, like a used-car salesman. That will turn off the buyer's agents, too.

Ask Tough Questions
You want an agent who is intimately familiar with your neighborhood. But the agent with a lot of signs in your neighborhood may not be your best choice, either. IF they have a lot of listings that aren’t selling, you may want to consider someone else. Ask how many homes they have sold in the last few months as well as how many they have listed.

Each agent you interview should offer a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) that shows all recent and pending sales of homes similar to yours. They should also know enough about the neighborhood and recent sales to explain why you should list your home for more or less than the neighbor down the street recently sold their home. Don't fall for the agent who promises the quickest sale for the highest price.

Make Sure Your Agent Has Backup
It is very important for an agent to have at least one assistant and many have a team of specialists to help them. Marketing a home today involves many different avenues that need constant attention and follow up. From online efforts to print advertising to signage, everything needs to be up to date and leads from each need to be followed up quickly and efficiently. Backup is a must.

How Much Time is Needed
When signing a listing agreement with an agent, ask how long they would like the listing contract to last. The slower the market, the longer the contract they're likely to demand. Three to six months is typical. For slower selling high-end and luxury homes agents may want a year. Remember, an agent will invest a lot of time, effort and money into marketing and selling your house to potential buyers. Give them a reasonable amount of time to do so.