Finding the right listing agent is essential when it is time to sell your home. They already know what the housing market is like in your area. Plus, they are there to answer any and all questions that might arise. Finding the right listing agent takes the burden off your shoulders and the worry from your mind.
Get Referrals for Listing Agents
Using family and friends to refer listing agents they have been pleased with in the past is an ideal place to start. They already know your home, and they very likely have one similar. So, you know the listing agent they recommend has the kind of experience you need.
Make sure to ask your family and friends questions about their experiences. Just saying they were happy with the listing agent isn’t good enough. Ask how long it took to sell their house; how was the price set; did the agent communicate well and answer all their questions; how did the listing agent handle showings? Gather as much information as you can before calling the agent yourself.
Find Listing Agents Online
You don’t have to stick with agents that someone you know has used. Keep those in mind, but cast a wide net. There are many websites to help you discover previously unknown agents in your area. A few of the most popular sites are Google, Zillow, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau.
Scroll through these listings and look for agents that have worked in your area. Make sure they have handled homes in your price range. Check out their websites for more detailed information. Add them to your shortlist if they look like they have what it takes.
Review Listing Agent History and Experience
Every state has a real estate licensing database. Run the names of potential agents through this database to be sure their license is up to date. Also, don’t forget to Google them. Look at the agent’s website and check their past and current listings. Do they have very many in your area?
If you are selling a multi-million dollar home, make sure the homes that a potential agent has listed are comparable. It wastes your time to use a listing agent who doesn’t have the proper experience.
Interview Listing Agents (More Than One)
Once you have a list of at least three potential agents, start calling them. Let them know you have a few questions to ask before committing. Ask each of them:
- How many listings do they carry at a time?
- What are their usual marketing strategies?
- Are they familiar with the market in your area?
- What do they think your home is worth?
- What is their commission rate, and do they split it with the buyer’s agent?
- Can they provide any references from satisfied clients?
Check the References of a Potential Listing Agent
Actually use the list of references that the potential listing agent provided while you were interviewing them. Give those people a call and ask them the same questions you asked your family and friends about their agents.
As you get answers to all your questions, make a pro and con list for each agent. Chances are that one agent on your list will start to stand out from the pack.
Hire a Listing Agent
When you have made your final decision, it is time to make things official with the listing agent. The agent will go over a listing agreement for you to sign with them. This agreement covers things like the commission percentage for the agent, the length of your contract, what the listing agent is allowed to do and not do on your behalf, and it gives the agent exclusive rights to sell your house for as long as the contract lasts.
Listing agreements can be long and complicated, but your agent should be willing to discuss all the details with you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It is important to be completely comfortable with the agreement before signing it.
When you are ready to put your home on the market, use family and friends as well as the internet for referrals. When you have a list of at least three agents, ideally more, ask them questions. Make sure to get references from them, and don’t skip following through with checking them out.
If you don’t get a good feeling from an agent, don’t hire them. Pay attention to any potential red flags. It’s important to find an agent you are completely comfortable with before signing a listing agreement with them.