When choosing a listing agent to sell your home, it may seem like there are only two criteria that matter: the highest suggested listing price and the lowest commission. The reality is that there are several things you should look for when choosing a listing agent to sell your home.
What’s in a listing price? There is no way your listing agent can know without a doubt what price your house will sell for. An agent that says they can predict that is probably being untruthful. Keeping this in mind, a good agent will have sales stats of comparable homes in the same neighborhood that can help you decide what the listing price for your home should be. He or she will also give you a price range instead of a set number. Factors like location, the temperature of the market, and improvements in the home affect the price range suggested by the agent.
How is the agent going to market your home? Running a few classified ads in the local paper or listing it online and holding an open house shouldn’t be your potential list agent’s only methods for marketing your home. He or she should be able to talk about what likely prospective buyers are and how to connect with them. Agents shouldn’t be afraid to get creative to attract buyers - make sure the listing agent you choose has a robust marketing plan for your home.
What is the agent’s specialty? Look for an agent who has sold homes within your market that are similar to yours. An agent that specializes in urban multi-unit rental properties may not be the best choice if you’re looking to sell a starter home in a suburban neighborhood. It doesn’t mean that if he only leases apartments that he can’t sell a house, but he may not be set up to do the best, most efficient job.
Get a referral. Word-of-mouth referrals are helpful, but not everyone who sends a listing agent’s name your way has actually used that agent’s services. Make sure any referrals you get are from people who have actually used the agent’s services and are within the last 2-3 years.
Full-time vs side gig? Make sure to ask potential listing agents how long they have been selling real estate and how many houses they’ve sold in the last 2 years. If someone hasn’t closed a deal in several months, that’s a reason for concern - either they may not be a very good agent or they may only be working part-time. Working with a part-time agent may be acceptable, just be sure they are not overwhelmed with clients and can devote enough time to selling your home.
Finally, what’s their commission? The typical real estate commission is about 6%. Oftentimes, the listing agent splits that amount with the buyer’s agent. Some agents might be willing to negotiate their commission, but the seller may have to pay certain marketing/advertising expenses. It is best to have a clear contract upfront so you know exactly what expenses you are responsible for and what the agent’s commission rate is.
At Zammito, we offer a full range of real estate services with listing agents that will get you the best price for your home. Thinking of selling your home? Contact us at (781) 762-6732 to get a free analysis!