Your relationship with your REALTOR becomes quite intense & intimate during the listing and selling process.
Ever wish you could see through the hype to know who the best fit in a real estate agent will be for selling your home? There are things you can do to pull back the curtain and accurately assess an agent and their potential for success with your home.
1. Look at the Agent's Performance - Ask agents to provide a list of what they've listed and sold in the last year (or further back). They should also be able to provide testimonials from past clients talking about their performance. You should be able to easily view these testimonials either on their website or in the preliminary marketing material. For instance, I provide my potential sellers with a comprehensive listing history. This history encompasses all the listings I've had during my career (currently 7 pages). This is helpful in giving an idea of my pricing philosophy, my list to sale price ratio-currently 98.6%, and my days on market --- all important information to consider.
2. Look up Licensing - Every state will have boards that license and discipline real estate agents. I always provide a copy of my license in my marketing materials.
3. The Right Credentials - Just as doctors specialize, so do real estate agents. Some agents will get additional training in specific areas, so that alphabet soup after their name can be an indication that the person has kept up and expanded their education. Here are my designations and what they mean:
- REALTOR: If the agent calls himself a REALTOR with a capital "R," that means she's a member of the National Association of REALTORS. By hiring a REALTOR, the most important thing you get is an agent who formally pledges to support the code of ethics, meaning they will be fair & conscientious in all their dealings.
- SRS (Seller Representative Specialist): The SRS Designation is the premier credential in seller representation. It is designed to elevate professional standards and enhance personal performance.
GRI (Graduate of the REALTORS Institute): REALTORSÂ® with the GRI designation have in-depth training in legal and regulatory issues, technology, professional standards, and the sales process.
- SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist): Complete training aimed at helping buyers and sellers in the 50-plus age range (yes, 50 is the beginning of "senior"-how depressing).
4. How Long has the Agent Been in Business and is this their full-time career? - You can often find out how long the agent has been selling real estate from the state licensing authority, or you can just ask the agent. If they haven't been in business five years (I've been licensed since 1986), they're learning on you and that's not particularly good. Ultimately, what you're looking for is someone who is actively engaged in the business, what kind of market presence they have and that they are keeping up with the market trends on a full-time basis.
5. Look at an Agent's Current Listings - Check out an agent's listings online. Two places to look are the agent & agency's websites, and REALTOR.com, a website that compiles properties in the Multiple Listing Service into a searchable online database. Most buyers start their search on the internet, and you want an agent who uses that tool effectively. A key component is an attractive presentation on the web. Although the internet is the most important advertising vehicle, you should look for an agent who uses other avenues to promote your home including direct mail, agent networking and YES, print advertising as well.
Ultimately, you want someone who's on top of the market and has your best interests at heart with the skill set to make things happen. It's like dating...trust is key and you "know" when it's the right fit.