Hi Maude, One thing you've got right is the importance of getting "it right the first time." THE most important thing to get right is the price - no amount of marketing or effort will sell an overpriced home.
Now on to agent selection and the listing agreement. The agent you choose really does make a difference and so take the time to interview. Even within a company, agents vary greatly. As certain as I am that the systematic approach to selling homes that my company has devised works if it is followed consistently, I am just as certain that it will fail if is not executed well. It comes down to agent effort - it matters a great deal.
Hire a full time agent - you owe it to yourself to have the support of an agent that is fully dedicated to their work.
Insist on a Marketing Plan - have the agent lay out specific activities, frequency and timelines. Ask how often you should expect to hear from the agent with feedback. Talk about pricing and what might trigger a pricing discussion. Exposure is critical - ask the agent how and where he/she will promote your home. Be sure that the internet figures heavily into any plan. Here you are on Trulia Maude - you get it, make sure your agent does as well. Be sure your agent takes lots of photos - good ones - and uses them in the advertising on and off - line.
And also ask, what if you do not deliver on your promises - what recourse do you have.
You are so right that getting it right at the beginning is so important. Although statistically your home may not be expected to sell in 60 days, the fact is that the greatest excitement for any home is during the first 60 days of its listing arrangement - when it is fresh and new. If you blow it during that time, it is a great marketing blunder. Having said that, in spite of our best efforts, sometimes we miss the mark. If you find that this happens, adjust quickly.
Good luck to you Maude - you've asked some great questions!
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