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Seller Series: So you think you want to sell…. how do you hire an agent?

Ah, the question that comes to many minds at some point in home ownership: should we sell our house? Let’s unpack this a bit. Looking at reasons to sell, there could be many, such as:

  • The home is too small now. Had a couple babies that are now growing into humans that take up much more space and that 3 bedroom starter home with no extra family room space isn’t cutting it anymore? You wouldn’t be alone. The majority of people selling need a change in their home size.
  • You want something different in a home now. Sometimes sunken living room steps just don’t work for everyone forever. 
  • Neighborhood changes can really impact reasons to sell. Additional residential development in a neighborhood or possibly even new commercial outfits in your area could cause you to think again on your current location.
  • Financial reasons of course are another huge contributing factor to deciding if you want to sell a home. Changing incomes or changing home values can really sway your decision to stay or sell.
  • Necessary maintenance is on the horizon (ie, new roof, new heating system, etc.) and you’d rather not pour your dollars into this structure, but seek another residence that would work for your needs.
  • Cash in your home’s equity makes it financially more appealing to sell and use that money for alternative options or to upgrade your residence.
  • Naturally a huge determining factor would be for family or personal reasons, like job opportunities or career changes. Maybe you need to move to a new area for a job or you want to move closer to family (or sometimes farther away from family too, ha!) 
  • Life cycle reasons to sell your home could include any sort of change in relationship, possibly entering the empty nest stage of life, retirements, or deaths. Whichever one of these impacts your decision to sell, know that it’s all okay, even with the extra emotion.

Okay, now that you have gone through the mental exercise to decide to sell your house, it’s now time to select a real estate agent to work with. We always recommend interviewing a handful of real estate agents. Don’t just hire the first agent that pops up on your internet search. Rather schedule a phone, Facetime, or in-person appointment with several top agents in your area (aka RMG Real Estate agents!) Committing to sell with certain agents can be the difference between a really unfortunately selling experience or a smooth transaction that nets you not only more money but more emotional energy about the entire process. What would be some good questions to ask during your initial meeting with an agent? Let’s go into this in more detail:

1. How long have you been in business? 

Even if the agent has not been in business long, ask about the team and their history that they work with and how that could affect their ability to sell your home. 

2. What’s the agent’s average list price to sales price ratio?

This means that the price that the selling agent markets their listings at are sold at that price or above, ideally.

3. What’s the agent’s marketing plan for selling your home?

This could include what websites your home would be posted on, how does the agent handle multiple offers, what kind of staging or photography fees are a part of the listing process, how will the agent help you prepare your home for sale, etc.

4. Get some references for the agent.

Check online for references and reviews before you meet with each agent you’re interviewing. If you don’t see anything, you can always ask for contact information for a few of their past clients.

5. What are the top things that separate the agent from the competition?

Look for confident answers from the agents that you are interviewing, as they should know their worth. Understand the qualifications that will matter to you and listen for that agent to address those or ask them specifically about them too.

6. Will you be able to review documents ahead of time?

Clear timelines ahead of deadlines really help to alleviate the stress of selling a home. It should be a fun and smooth process, so ask about how documents are processed ahead of time so you’re aware of what’s required.

7. How will that agent help me find other professionals (ie mortgage brokers, home inspectors, title companies)?

Most agents have close vendor relationships, don’t be shy about asking them why they recommend these vendors too!

8. How much does this agent charge?

Definitely an important factor when deciding is cost. However, while we are all looking for a deal, it is true about how “you will get what you pay for.” 

9. What kind of guarantee does this agent offer?

Is there a guarantee? What if the service is unsatisfactory and you want to go with a different agent? Just make sure you ask these tougher questions too.

10. What should you ask the agent that has not been asked already?

This is a great question to present in an interview, since it can open up some other topics that you wouldn’t have thought to ask.

(These 10 interview questions for agents can be accessed at https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-interview-a-real-estate-agent-1798905

Make sure whatever listing agent you choose to go with, you have clear expectations set ahead of time, clear timelines of what needs to be done and when, a contract signed by you and the agent, and that you’re able to trust the agent’s expertise with such a big endeavor as selling your home. Additional seller tips will be coming up in more blogs, so keep an eye out for those!

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