You are going to be inundated with Realtors saying, â€œPICK ME!â€ Truliaâ€™s guidelines prevent Realtors from soliciting clients through the Q&A Forum â€“ be cautious of agents who do it anyway.
In my opinion, selling a home quickly is about 3 fundamental things (The 3 â€œPâ€s) â€“ find a Realtor who understands these the key items:
A good agent will work with you to thoroughly maximize your home for the market. Theyâ€™ll help you set goals. Theyâ€™ll show you the other comparable homes in your market. They will walk you through any repairs and/or upgrades they feel you need to make to your home that will get you the maximum bang for your buck. Theyâ€™ll provide resources to help you accomplish everything required to get your property ready for the market. Lastly, they will stage your home (in my opinion, it should be extensive, comprehensive staging and should make your home â€œsizzleâ€ in comparison to the other units.).
Evaluate agents by how many homes theyâ€™ve sold in the past year in your specific market. Marketing homes effectively in this current economy (to ensure that you get maximum exposure and consequently the highest possible price and best terms) is NOT an inexpensive proposition. REALTORSÂ® who sell a limited number of homes simply do not have the resources to provide professional photographers, custom dedicated websites, real panoramic virtual tours (not just moving still galleries), showcase listings on Realtor.com and other such websites â€¦ and on and on. Nor do they have the experience to know how to target your listing in the midst of REOs and short sales. When you meet with prospective REALTORSÂ®, they need to be able to show you an extensive written marketing plan, and take you web links that show how existing and previous listings actually show up online. You need a guarantee that you are getting the absolute best marketing available. An agent who simply parks a sign out front, prints standard cookie cutter brochures and holds open houses every weekend is NOT what you need in the current market.
Here is where the integrity of your agent is going to be critical. Because sellers want to get the highest price possible, some agents will promise you the moon to get your listing â€“ they will allow you to put your property on the market for a few weeks at a ridiculously high price. After a couple of weeks, theyâ€™ll come back and ask for a price change. This does damage to your listing and you will usually end up with LESS in your pocket than if youâ€™d listed at the correct market price right from the beginning. You need an agent who knows the various Castro Valley neighborhoods, the differences between them, current market trends and who has the ability to crunch all of the data for you and produce a realistic and accurate CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). You want an agent who will tell you the truth about listing price even if it means they might not get your business. Ask for their â€œListing Price to Sales Price ratio.â€ And remember, the market sets the price, not the seller. Agents who sell a lot of homes know the market and can help you get the price right the first time.
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In addition to the above 3 â€œPâ€s â€“ there is a fourth â€œPâ€ when choosing an agent:
You want someone that will mesh with you â€“ someone you are comfortable with and can trust. They need to be able to frequently communicate with you in the manner you prefer and must be amicable, genuine and competent. They have to have a track record with written testimonials and references upon request. You want a coach, mentor, guide, facilitator â€“ not a pushy sales person. In reality, you are looking for someone who will help you sell your home now BUT, if you stay in the area, be a continued resource for many years to come. Best of all, you might even end up with â€¦ a friend!
As for how to actually FIND one?
Ask your friends. Ask your accountant and attorney. Drive around and note who has the most listings in the area. Look online with companies such as HomeGain.com and their Agent Evaluator program. Interview REALTORSÂ® who have the savvy to be here on Trulia and who answer your questions.
As to how much should you pay for commission and selling costs? Donâ€™t scrimp on commission â€“ youâ€™ll be sorry you did. And any Realtor you interview will be able to provide you with a comprehensive net sheet explaining all costs.