More on Choosing a Real Estate Agent
(A continuation of How
to Sell a House)
By Steve Gillman - 2006
In addition to the questions for agents we went through, here
are some additional tips for choosing a real estate agent that
is best for selling your home. Following that, there are some
warnings about agents in general, and the things that they aren't
likely to tell you about their business.
If you call the real estate office and it takes twelve rings
for someone to answer, be suspicious. In fact, you may want to
hang up and try again later, to see if this is normal. If you
have a hard time getting through, buyers will too. Also pay attention
to whether your calls are returned promptly when you leave a
Be careful with agents who hesitate to give an opinion on
pricing or other important issues. Some just want to agree with
whatever you say to get the listing. You want an expert who will
tell you what you need to hear.
When you are ready to list, be sure that the agent goes over
every detail of the listing agreement with you. Ask as many questions
as you need to. This is a legal contract. If, for example, an
agent brought you a full-priced offer on your home, and you had
meanwhile changed your mind about the price or about selling,
you will have to pay the commission regardless - it's in the
Ask about any disclosures you will have to make. Look at any
papers you'll have to sign when you sell the home. Will you have
to pay for any inspections, or have a survey done? A good agent
should give you fair warning of any issues that may come up.
Things Real Estate Agents Won't Tell You
Most real estate agents will feel a little uncomfortable if
you run through all the questions covered on our previous pages.
Many would probably argue some of the points above as well. That's
okay. They see things from their own perspective, but be aware
that there are also things they won't tell you.
Open Houses Are For The Agent
An open house is a prospecting tool for the agent, not a way
to sell your home. In fact, many experienced agents won't even
host their own open houses. They get a newer agent to host it.
I did this many times as a new agent. The listing agent gives
up half of his commission if the hosting agent sells the home.
Would they risk that if homes were commonly sold from open houses?
Why let dozens of people who aren't qualified to buy your
home track their muddy feet through it then? The listing agent
does it so they look like they're doing everything they can to
sell your home, and the hosting agent uses it as a prospecting
tool. Two dozen couples that want a new home coming right to
them - now that's an opportunity (just not for you).
The whole point is to collect a list of buyers to work with.
Most of these buyers are looking for homes that are nothing like
yours. It isn't really expected that the agent will sell your
house in the process. Of the many open houses I hosted when I
started selling real estate, I didn't sell one of them that way.
Not that it can't happen. Any additional exposure of your
home can increase the odds of it selling. Just consider that
this is a more effective prospecting tool for the agent than
it is a tool for selling your home. It may or may not be worth
the trouble for you. If you do have a open house, hide the valuables
- no matter what they say, an agent can't watch the visitors
all the time.
There is more to know about choosing a real estate agent,
so don't miss the final page on this subject...
The book continues here: Hiring
a Real Estate Agent - More things to watch out for.