Getting your home ready for the market is something you can do well in advance of the sign going up in the yard. Regardless of your time frame for selling, the first and and most important task is to choose the right Realtor®
Remember when you were a kid in school and the teacher wanted the class to play a game and she would ask: "Who wants to be first?". Then hands would fly up all over the classroom with everyone yelling "Pick Me!" The same will happen when you begin your search for a Realtor®. You will be asking: "Who wants to list my house?" and many agents will asking you to "Pick Me!"
Finding the right Realtor® is not the easiest task to do. However, selecting your Realtor® early in the process allows you to develop a relationship with the person and, also, allows the Realtor® to understand your needs. Asking the right questions allows us to make sure we are providing you with the best advice and service to get you on your way.
Below is a list of resources you can use to get the names of qualified Realtors® in your area:
Word of mouth is the old proven way of finding out just about anything. No one is afraid to speak their mind when asked. Speak with your friends in the neighborhood, at work, church, etc. and ask them if they have had an exceptional experience with a Realtor®. Then get the names so you can begin your research.
The Neighborhood Expert:
If you are in a subdivision, there is probably one or two Realtors® that have built up a good business and reputation there. Observing the for sale signs will tell you who these agents are, should you not already know from living there. Doesn't mean they may be the right fit for you, but they need to be on the list of possibles.
In today's market, a very large number of people search for their next home (and Realtor®) online. Hand in hand with this, the internet is a good resource in your search. As a Realtor®, we spend a good amount of our personal marketing dollars making sure our name and expertise is found by Sellers and Buyers when searching online. Websites such as Realtor.com, Zillow, Yahoo, and Google are great resources. Just remember to concentrate your search on agents that have direct experience in your area. An agent working two counties over may not be able to provide you with the best service.
There is one more way to find a Realtor® and that is we will find you. It's a small world and as soon as agents (me included) get wind that you are considering selling your home (and we will), you become fair game. So be prepared.
Now that you have got the names and background info on a few Realtors®, what to you do now? The best way to tackle this is to choose no more that three candidates that you want to interview. Once you have this, contact the finalists and begin the appointment process. You will find that the chosen will want to jockey for position in the pecking order, which is OK. Some want to be first so they can "close" the deal, others want to be last so they can overwhelm the competition, but you make the final decision on order.
So, which Realtor® do you choose? This may sound funny, but you choose the one that you feel will do the best job for you. However, there are ways to get you to a quality decision:
- Did the Realtor® come across as a business professional?
- Was she/he prepared for the appointment?
- Did she/he present a quality and timed marketing plan for your home?
- Did she/he show that your interest was their top priority?
- Was she/he honest and straightforward with you?
There is a caveat that needs to be discussed and that is working with a Realtor® that is also a good friend or family. Remember that the sale of your home is a business proposition. Not something to be taken casually and for granted. If you are going to use a good friend or family Realtor® make sure that all understand that there is a difference between the business and personal relationship. We have seen many friendships and families strained due to the mix of business and personal. Not forbidden, but be aware.
One last important note. In this series, we use the term "Realtor®" vs "Real Estate Agent". The difference being that a Realtor® is a Real Estate Agent that is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and also participates in a local Board of Realtors®. A Realtor® operates under a defined Code of Ethics that is designed to make sure we always protect the best interest of our clients. As a member of NAR, a Realtor® has chosen real estate as a profession and maintains their real estate knowledge and personal integrity at the highest levels. Lawyers, CPA's and Engineers, to name a few, are all part of their respective professional organizations. It only makes sense that you would expect the same from your Real Estate Agent.
So, maybe your first question when choosing a real estate agent would be to ask: Are you a Realtor®? It's a great way to start.