Unless you relish the challenges of selling a home on your own, you’ll want a professional real estate agent to represent and protect your interests, and to help you complete the sale.
- Ask friends and neighbors about agents they know or who have sold homes to them. Search the classifieds and check real estate sites online.
- Invite two or three agents who specialize in your area of town (their ‘farm area’) to come to your home and give a listing presentation.
- Prepare specific questions for the agents in advance, such as whether your home will be listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), whether the agents are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and whether their commission is negotiable.
- Discuss the marketing programs each agent offers. Find out whether the agents do open houses, buy newspaper ads or send out mailings.
- Ask each agent to estimate the value of your home.
- Make a decision and select an agent to market your home. Make certain your agent and you understand each other’s expectations.
- Tell the agent how often you expect to be given updates.
- Get everything in writing.
- When interviewing prospective agents, look for title designations such as CRS (certified residential specialist), GRI (graduate, Realtor Institute), CRP (certified relocation professional), CRB (certified real estate broker) and CRE (counselor of real estate).
- Consider a real estate firm that charges a flat rate to sell your home, instead of a percentage of the selling price.
Beware of agents who suggest they can get an unreasonably high sales price. An agent might use a high listing price to get your business, and then seek a lower price later.