Selling Real Estate

Selecting a Real Estate Agent

The real estate agent has an obligation to represent your interests—and get you the best possible price for your property.

You should make sure you find someone you feel comfortable with. Perhaps friends or co-workers have a positive personal experience they can share with you. Get recommendations—try not to settle for anything less than the perfect chemistry. Try interviewing agents using the questions listed below.

Interviewing Real Estate Agents

Plan to interview more than one agent before making your final decision. During the interview process, consider asking the following questions:

  • Are you a full-time broker? Stick with full-time experience.
  • For how long? Look for two years or more.
  • What will your commission be? Get a feel for how negotiable they are.
  • Are you a licensed realtor? Members adhere to a Code of Ethics.
  • Do you subscribe to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)? If not, go elsewhere.
  • Do you list with an out-of-town referral service? Helps you with people relocating to your area.
  • How will you advertise my home? Don't rely only on the MLS.
  • Will you give me references? If they're reluctant, go elsewhere.
  • How many homes have you sold this year?
  • What steps do you take if a home remains unsold for several months? Look for innovative thinking.
  • Do you do open houses? This may be helpful in a sluggish market.
  • What services will you provide for me?
  • Will you give me weekly progress reports? You should insist on this.

SUGGESTION: Consider listing with a larger real estate office that employs several agents and does a minimum of 50% of their business in your immediate area. This increases the likelihood that your home will be shown more often. The more people that tour your home, the better.

Deciphering Titles

When you venture into the world of real estate sales, you'll hear a number of different titles. Let's take a look at what they mean:

Realtor: A member of the National Association of Realtors, a trade and lobby organization. They are bound by a Code of Ethics. Not all salespeople are realtors.

Broker: An individual licensed to operate a real estate office. Most states require several years of experience to acquire this designation.

Agent: Also sometimes called a sales associate. The common name for any real estate professional. All agents must either be brokers or work under a broker.

Listing Agent: The agent responsible for signing up the seller of a home with a particular broker. The home is usually listed with the Multiple Listing Service.

Selling Agent: The agent responsible for the sale of a particular property. The property may be listed with their own agency or via the Multiple Listing Service.

Buyer's Agent: The agent hired by the buyer as opposed to the seller of the property. A buyer's agent will help find the home, negotiate the terms and overall conditions most favorable to the buyer in a given transaction.
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