The Best Real Estate Agent for You
(A continuation of How
to Sell a House)
By Steve Gillman - 2005
The best real estate agent for you might not be the best for
someone else. It's easy to find a real estate agent in some areas.
Just put a "for sale" sign in the yard and wait for
the phone to ring. The question is, how do you find the right
real estate agent for your home? You can start with newspaper.
Pick up the Saturday or Sunday paper - whichever day they
typically advertise all the homes for sale in your area. You
can also collect a few real estate guides to look through. Browse
the listings to find properties similar to yours. If you are
selling a cabin, you want to look for cabins for sale. If you
are selling a lakefront mansion, look for those.
When you find similar properties, note the names and numbers
of the agents that are selling them. The idea here is to find
a real estate agent that has experience with your type of property.
An agent that has all the million dollar homes may not be the
best to sell your mobile home, for example. You want agents that
have sold or are selling several properties like yours.
Also look for agents who are active in your neighborhood,
or your general area. These agents are more likely to know how
to properly price and market your home.
Picking the best real estate agent can mean thousands of dollars
more to you. A bad agent can cost you money. As a new and inexperienced
agent many years ago, I told a couple that their home should
be listed for sale at $59,000. They chose to list it at $65,000,
and we got a full price offer within a few weeks. My advice could
have cost them $6,000 if they had taken it.
To pick the right agent, call at least several. Ask as many
questions as you need to, starting with the ones below. They
may not like some of these questions, but remember that this
really is a job interview, and you are the boss.
How much experience do you have?
My own example above shows you the importance of experience.
Unless the agent has been working in a related field (appraising,
selling mobile homes), I wouldn't use an agent with less than
a year or two of experience.
What kind of experience do you have?
Some agent sell mostly raw land. Some specialize in selling
income properties. You want an agent that has been selling homes
Have you sold many homes like mine?
Hopefully she has sold at least a few like yours. Just "residential"
doesn't mean they were like yours. The agent that sells all the
fixer-uppers may not be the best one to sell your high-end home.
Can you give me a couple examples?
Don't hesitate to ask this question. Get an address or two
even, so you can drive by and see what kind of homes he is really
selling. You may even want to call previous customers to hear
what kind of job the agent did for them.
But we're not done yet if you want the best real estate agent
available. There are sixteen more questions on this list...
The book continues here: Choose
a Real Estate Agent - Sixteen more questions to ask.