How do you find the best agent for your needs? Pay attention to the agents who personally continue to farm your neighborhood. These are the agents that you might of seen at some point walking your neighborhood going door to door delivering their materials with their pictures on their handouts. This includes informational reports, post cards, just listed and just sold postcard, etc. Most agents who work that hard to earn your business by spending the time and money to consistently notify you will also work equally as hard to sell your property. They’re motivated and hard working. Most real estate agents will tell you privately that these marketers are usually good real estate agents. When you are ready to sell, whether you have a cousin who is a real estate agent or not, you owe it to yourself, and your family, to pick up one of those pieces and at least call the good real estate agent for an interview. This is a business transaction!

Referrals from friends and family can be another way to find an agent. But be weary! Friends may receive some type of compensation for recommending their favorite agent. Furthermore, just because the agent is a good family member or friend doesn’t mean she or he is a good real estate agent. Your friend or family member may be recommending this agent out of a sense of obligation. Regardless of how you get an agent’s name, it might be worth interviewing at least a couple before you make a final decision, or at least arming yourself with some criteria to go over with any agent who has been recommended to you.

Small companies – Bigger companies

It doesn’t matter if the agent represents a large well know company or a small company. Some times, bigger is not necessarily better, it’s the savings and service that matter. The smaller companies provide a personal touch, they listen and they will work hard to gain your respect and trust. The smaller companies are innovated, creative and make viewing their site enjoyable, informative and rewarding, They employ imagination to help clients solve problems before questions are asked, such as the Test the Market approach. This offers the homeowner vital information that can only come from the visitors comments and it gives the homeowner a feel for the market without entering the market.. The larger company on the other hand, has the advantage of more agents, they cover more territory, get more listings, some offices have over 200 agents, full time, part time, and some time agents. This increases the overhead cost to the broker and it also accounts for the larger commission. By the way, the commission is split four ways 90% of the time, a 50/50 split between the listing broker and buyers broker, and then the brokers split that 50% with the agents.

Phone Introduction

Once you’ve done your research, call each agent. Pay particular attention to how long it takes them to call you back. You want a real estate agent who promptly follows up with homeowners and homebuyers! Also, get a feel for their personalities over the phone. Do you think you can work with each person? A real estate agent must know the local marketplace. This can take years of studying the markets and continually staying apprised of what homes are for sale, what sold sold for and the current market value. Watch out for the agent who states that their are the neighborhood specialist when they don’t know the schools, the shopping centers or any of the local conveniences.

Think your home will sell faster and for money by using a brand named Realtor? Forget it! The market determines the price,
and if the price is right, your home will sell fast. Did you know that 95% of listing agents don’t sell homes, they don’t even interact
with buyers. They hope and cross their fingers that there is a buyer agent somewhere whose has a ready, willing and able buyer.

Or, you can try one of those televised “What’s you home worth?” companies. If you think you got spam mail or cold calls before,
just wait. These companies sell your information to at least six real estate agents, mortgage brokers, moving companies, and
the list goes on. Or, if you prefer, click here on Realtors insight, ask questions and get answers from over 5,000 agents.

Want to use the services of a relative, friend, or neighbor or use their recommendations of some agent you never heard of to
handle probably your largest financial transaction, you should think twice about it? Don’t let feelings get involved, beware:
this could end up costing you thousands. What works for one doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.

After reading this, you should be asking yourself one question “So where’s the savings, where’s the service?”.

The agent should be aware of new ordinances, many passed in the past two years. Homeowners in Californians are expected to have water-saving toilets and shower heads, water heater earthquake straps, impact hazard glazing in sliding glass doors and earthquake gas shutoff valves. If the agent is not aware of these issues, then he’s not the agent you’re looking for.

What To Ask Them

Prepare a list of questions for what you expect from the agents that will help you qualify each agent.

Some standard or general questions to ask;
1. How long have you been in Real Estate full time
2. What do you know about this community
3. How many homes have you listed or sold in this community
4. What do you think the home values in this community are
5. What kind of advertising, where will I find it, how often
6. Do you advertise in newspapers, magazines, neighborhood postcards, direct mailing postcards and flyers, what are they, where will I look for them, how often, photos or a three liner
7. Do you advertise on the Internet, how many websites, where can I find them
8. What is the days on the market average (DOM)
9. Do you have buyers, are they pre-approved, do they have a letter from their lender
10. What is your full service and what can it do for me
11. What does a “AS IS” sale mean, what does it mean to me
12. What do I have to disclose
13. Do you have a seller net sheet, if so, what is the based on
14. How do you determine the price, from the CMA, CSA
15. How often do you communicate, give status reports
16. How often will you have an open house, broker tour

Some unexpected questions to ask;
1. What do you think of discount (Assist2Sell) or flat fee (Help-U-Sell) service companies
2. What do you think of (Fox, RE/Max, Empire, Coldwell Banker, etc..) real estate company
3. What do you think of Dan McGonagle a popular agent in this area
4. What makes your full service better than all the others
If you receive a negative response or badmouthing from any of these questions, move on to the next agent.

When You Finally Meet

Ask your real estate agent to discuss their marketing plan. How do they plan to sell your home? If the agent does not discuss marketing channels like the Multiple Listing Service, sending your home fact sheet out to the agent community, classified or magazine advertising on the Internet, most likely they don’t have much of a strategy. The marketing program is critical to generating demand for your home!

Once you’re confident in the agent’s strong marketing plan, make sure the agent walks you through a seller’s net sheet, clearly explaining the numbers and what you can expect to receive from the sale of your home. Furthermore, a good real estate agent will explain the necessity of not overpricing your home. After investigating your home and researching the competition, the agent will recommend a narrow range of prices. Of course, you ultimately determine the selling price, but your agent’s recommendation indicates at what price your home will actually sell. Be wary of anyone who suggests they can get an unreasonably high sales price. An agent might use a high listing price to secure a contract, only to seek a lower price later, after little traffic is generated at the initial price level. Meanwhile, you’ve lost what can be the most critical time period in selling a home the first weeks immediately after it’s listed.

Does the agent know the market? Is the agent active in soliciting business in your neighborhood? Do you see the agent’s yard signs around the neighborhood? Have you received postcards or flyers? Have you viewed their website? Do you know what they mean by Full Service? Does the agent even live in the same city or community?

Is the agent part of a national network? This can be especially important if you’re selling in one city in preparation of moving to another. Your selling agent can refer you to a professional, compatible agent in your destination city — and keep in close contact with that agent so both your selling and buying efforts are closely coordinated.

And a final point:

Does the agent seem primarily interested in sharing expertise and market knowledge in an honest and straightforward manner? Or does the agent seem more interested in telling you what you want to hear, or spend a lot of effort trying to market additional products and services? The worst time to secure the services of a “yes-man” or an agent who seems to have a bit too many irons in the fire is when you’re entering a transaction involving something as expensive as your home. You need straightforward, reliable information, even if it’s not necessarily flattering regarding the home you’re selling — or very encouraging regarding a home you think you might want to buy.