Let me preface my remarks by saying that we are a full service firm who charges less than the normal 5-6%. (and we are out of your area so this is not a pitch for your business). That said, I think anyone who selects an agent/broker/firm solely upon their commission rate is making a huge mistake. In this market, you need the best you can get - sometimes that costs more, and sometimes, like in our case, is costs less.
There are "discount" real estate companies - not sure about your area - in our area that offer lower commissions/huge rebates, etc... but they often offer decidedly less in services. What good is a $10K savings in commissions if you end up selling your property for $50K less?
Sellers need to understand that the way buyers look for property has changed, and sellers need to have an agent/broker who prepares the listing cognizant of that reality. Here are some other things you want to consider when hiring someone:
Marketing Remarks: Do they speak to the kind of buyer who might purchase the house? For example, if it's the kind of property that older people will most likely buy they should be tailored to them.
Photos: We see so many listings with no photos or bad photos. Your agent/broker should either have professionals taking the pictures or have the equipment and skills to portray your property in the best light. Additionally, real estate photos require very wide angle lenses so potential buyers can see the entire room. And you can't replace natural sunlight with software. When we have a listing we frequently go back 2 or three times so we can have sunlight streaming in all rooms possible.
Marketing Campaign: Your agent/broker should have a comprehensive marketing campaign that includes a lot more than listing it on the MLS. It should be listed on all appropriate websites, email flyers going out to all agents/brokers in your area, high-quality fliers, and a website for your property with sign riders so people driving by can look it up, etc....
Open Houses/Showings: Is the agent/broker you hired going to show the property/stand the open houses, or will it be some rookie who is looking for buyer clients and doesn't really care if your house sells. Has your agent/broker developed a key selling points list including local attractions, restaurants, venues, etc... to help sell your property.
Skill/Experience: How many houses has your agent/broker sold lately? What kind of negotiation skills do they have?
These are only a few of the things you should be considering. I would interview several brokers and if you don't find the right one, interview more. Pricing the property is also key - make sure their strategy is sound.
Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker