Q: I’ve decided to sell; what do I need to do to start the home selling process?
A: This question deserves a two-part answer. This column tackles the first part, which is how to choose the right real estate agent. Check here for part two of the answer, which looks at how to start the process of selling your home.
The selling process starts by getting a good agent
When you decide it’s time to sell, your very first step should be to find an excellent real estate agent.
The sooner you can connect with the right agent, the sooner they can start setting things up properly from the start to make sure the selling process goes smoothly.
How to find the right agent?
Referrals are the single best way to narrow down the search. Nothing beats having someone you know and trust weigh in with a personal experience in dealing with a particular real estate agent.
Big offices, small boutique agents, working alone or with a team, many real estate models can be very effective. The most important attributes in an agent are honesty, market knowledge, strong communication and negotiating skills.
You need to know they have solid, competent representation working on your behalf. And the best way to filter for the right agent is through other people’s experiences.
Check them out
Once you have a good agent in your sights, interview them and ask a series of questions to see how well they know the market, and your particular type of property and neighbourhood.
Ask about their marketing plans and how they handle certain situations like multiple offers, low-ball offers and qualifying buyers.
Listen carefully to how they answer. Also, try Googling the agent’s name to see what kind of online footprint they have. What does their website look like? Do they have a good social media marketing strategy? This will give a sense of how busy they are and how they will be presenting your property to the buying public.
Access to strong copy-writing skills and top-notch photography has also become increasingly important as today’s consumers are very reactive to visual descriptions. This shouldn’t be overlooked.
Agents that haven’t adopted strong online practices may be trailing the crowd and not able to maximize your home’s reach and target demographics.
A good fit?
Next, are you and the agent compatible? They may be a very competent agent, but if your personality styles don’t match it will impede communication between you and can cause more road bumps than are necessary along the way.
You have to feel the agent is very approachable and that you can ask them anything. The agent should exude positive feelings toward you about your goals and the property that is being sold. A good rapport between the two of you is very important.
Selling a home is one of the most stressful situations some people can find themselves in and a good personality fit between the seller and the agent will go a long way toward the best results.
Also, does the agent have a plan for on-going communication throughout the process?
The art of selling a home is never a straight line. There are always bumps, corners and unforeseen challenges that will come up. The agent needs to be flexible, creative, and able to communicate these and possible solutions to you in a concise manner.
Only then will you know how to best reach the finish line with the maximum price you can get for your home.
Originally published Sept. 17, 2017