If you need to, or want to sell your home in Palo Alto you should hire a Palo Alto Real Estate Agent. Yes, you could probably put a piece of cardboard on your front lawn saying "For Sale" and get 10 offers, but this is a complicated transaction, and finding a buyer is just one part of a very large undertaking.
So I will make the assumption that you have already decided it is in your best financial and peace of mind interest to hire a Palo Alto Real Estate Agent and will give you some ideas on what you should consider.
Palo Alto has no shortage of good Real Estate Agents, so you have plenty from which to choose. I always say that being in a relationship with a Palo Alto Real Estate Agent is like being married, just for a shorter period of time than most marriages. (Brittney Spears' 1st marriage excluded here) You really need to love your Palo Alto Real Estate Agent, and even more important: YOU NEED TO TRUST YOUR REALTOR. Trust is important, because you will be listening to advice that has huge financial and legal implications. Pick someone who you feel can be discrete with your financial information, and who you believe is knowledgeable about your home, the market, local schools and activities, the contract process, the home preparation process, inspections, and any other aspect of Your home that may be unique to Your circumstances.
You also need to like your Palo Alto Real Estate agent because you will be spending a lot of time together. This person should be someone who does not get on your nerves, because little annoyances can seem bigger in stressful situations. If you do not like idle conversation and the Palo Alto Real Estate Agent you are considering is a non stop talker, walk away. This will drive you crazy! If your animals are important to you and the Palo Alto Real Estate Agent you are considering is afraid of dogs, walk away. Selling a home with pets can be tricky and you need someone who understands both sides of the equation and can deal with your animals.
It is very important that you can communicate with the Palo Alto Real Estate Agent you are going to choose. By communicate, I don't mean express your innermost feelings. I mean physically communicate. Do you want personal contact with your Palo Alto Real Estate Agent on all aspects of the sale, or do you prefer a team approach with multiple people participating in the process? If you are completely commuter illiterate make sure your Palo Alto Real Estate Agent is easy to reach by phone and not just by text or e-mail. If you do not like phone communication make sure your agent is available by text or email or Facebook or instant messaging.
Does the Palo Alto Real Estate Agent who you are considering like your home? Can they appreciate the good qualities which can be highlighted to the potential buyer? Do they have suggestions on how to make the negatives of the property less of an issue. If you have an Eichler and the Palo Alto Real Estate Agent does not appreciate the clean lines, indoor outdoor living, and the hipness of mid century architecture right now; but instead emphasizes the lack of insulation he or she is not the right person. If you have a home built in 1908 and the Palo Alto Real Estate Agent you are considering gushes over the glass door knobs, gorgeous built ins, and high ceilings rather than the musty smell or drafty windows; then that person should get bonus points.
Are you a gambler? Different agents have different philosophies about pricing a home. Some want to price a home as low as possible to generate as many offers as possible so you have more choices and could possibly get a higher price than if you list higher. Some like to list high and see if you can achieve that number. Some like to list at what they feel is market price and then let the market decide if it is priced high, low, or just right. Ultimately it is your decision as to what the list price is going to be. Is your potential Palo Alto Real Estate Agent ok with that or do they want to make the decision. Are you ok with leaving that decision up to the agent?
When choosing a Palo Alto Real Estate Agent to sell your home in Palo Alto there are many things to consider. You can get recomendations from friends, check out blogs and reviews on line, or look at ads in local papers; but the intimacy of this relationship calls for more. It is probably better to look deeper, and see if the person you are considering has the qualities most important to you to get your house sold with as little stress as possible as well as for as much money as possible.
If you have any questions about choosing a Palo Alto Real Estate Agent please feel free to contact me (a long time Palo Alto resident and Real Estate Agent)