Tips for Selecting a Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

Written by: John Landers

Selling your home represents a major financial undertaking. Therefore, selecting a real estate agent to sell your home is a personal finance matter that deserves serious consideration.

If you make the right choice of real estate agent, you can save time, effort and anxiety. A real estate professional can help you sell your home quickly and for the best value possible.

Donald R Brenner, professor emeritus at American University gives the following advice for potential sellers:  ”Owning property is very important, and when you deal with someone who is going to help you buy or sell a piece of property, you’d better find someone that knows what they’re doing.”

Find the Right Agent to Sell Your Home

Typically, sellers begin their search for a real estate agent with family or friends. Yards signs and newspaper ads also provide good sources for finding real estate agents. You can also search for a real estate agent on the Internet. The real estate agent you choose will need to perform a myriad of tasks to help get you to the closing table.

Responsibilities performed by agents include:

  • Determine the  right listing price
  • Assist sellers with documents and disclosures
  • Market your home
  • Screen qualify buyers
  • Negotiate on your behalf

In 2011, real estate commissions averaged 5.3 percent, according to real estate consulting company Real Trends. On a $200,000 sale price, the seller pays a fee of $10,600.

Even if your home sells for 50% less – $5,300, you still pay good money for a real estate professional. Therefore, you should take the time to interview multiple candidates for the task of selling your home before you make a selection.

Identifying Agents

Obtain the names of seller agents from family and friends. The National Association of Realtors and Council of Residential Specialists  websites have search tools to help you find agents in your area. The tools allow you to set parameters to identify real estate agents by specialties, such as single-family homes, condominiums or luxury homes specialists. The prevalence of distressed sales— foreclosures and short sales, which make up a large part of the current market has also created a designation for short sale specialists.

Most states have laws that require agents to disclose their dual agency relationship. Some agents may have “dual agency,” which means the agent can work both the buy and sell sides of the transaction. Find a real estate agent who works for your interest only.

Interviewing Candidates

Each agent should prepare a comparative market analysis for your property and discuss it with you. You want an experience real estate agent who has intimate knowledge of the area   and information on recent sales and trends in the neighborhood.

Eliminate any candidate who wants you to list for less or more than your competition. Often, this person promises you a quick sell and the highest sale price without supporting the claim.

You have a significant amount of money riding on this transaction- the buyer is looking to strike the best deal and you want the highest sale price. An agent who also represents the buyer’s interest cannot give you unquestionable loyalty.

Make sure the agent has the necessary time to service you adequately. A part-time agent holding a 9 to 5 job will be hard-press to deliver the level of service and availability of a full-time agent. A good agent should also have an assistant or team of specialist to help them service their clients. Discuss how the agent plans to market your home and keep you updated.

Length of Listing Contract

Find out the length of time each agent wants for the listing agreement. The average length of a listing contract varies from three to six months. In vibrant markets, you should make the contract as short as possible. Expect agents to ask for longer contracts during a slow market. For listings in the high-end real estate market, agents want a longer agreement to justify the time and expense involved in marketing these homes.


Tips for Selecting a Real Estate Agent to Sell...

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