Hi Candace: The first thing to consider is the company that you will be working with. Certainly, a larger, well known brokerage house will give you much better exposure than a smaller, less known local company. In this slower market, getting as much exposure as possible is key. So you want a company that can give you both local & worldwide/nationwide exposure. South Florida is a very desirable place to live, & people come here from all over the world, so you have to reach those people with a company that has a powerful, international presence.
You should speak with/interview several Realtors. I stress Realtors over agents, as not all agents are Realtors. Realtors have to pay dues to belong to the Realtor Association in the county where they work, & they are held up to a high set or standards & ethics. Also, unless you are a member of a Realtors board, you do not have access to the Multiple Listing System, which is where you want your property to be posted, or no one will ever see it. Go onto the company's website, & look under "Agents". When I refer a client out of state, this is how I find agents to consider sending my clients.
When interviewing your Realtors, you want to notice who you feel really comfortable with. Does this Realtor really listen to & hear you? Do you feel that they are really listening to your needs, fears & concerns versus talking about themselves? Do they ask you a lot of questions, such as what is your timeframe for your move, etc.? Are you relaxed with them? Good communication is probably one of the most (if not the most) important elements in your relationship with this person. Most likely, you will be in a listing contract for a minimum of 6 months with this person, so you will be in communication often: so you want to feel very comfortable speaking with this person.
When you do select your Realtor, you need to communicate to them how often you will be getting updates on the progress on your listing, & how (phone, e-mail, etc.). Some of my clients want a call every Monday morning, some want e-mails every 2 or 3 weeks. It is all up to you. A good Realtor will respect your wishes & will keep you in the loop. They should return your phone calls or e-mails promptly.
Most of us basically do the same thing: we post your listing onto the Multiple Listing System: make sure that your Realtor is going to post the maximim amount of photos on there. It is amazing how many agents do not post any pictures, which is totally ridiculous & a disservice to their sellers. It should also go onto http://www.realtor.com,
as well as the company/brokerage website. http://(www.century21.com,
etc.), again with photos. A professionally done virtual tour is always good. Print advertising is falling by the wayside, as now, 87% of homebuyers start their home searches online. I advertise every other Sunday in the newspaper. Other than that, the rest of my marketing is done online. So it would be very beneficial if you found a Realtor who has a decent website to promote your property on. Not many do, but we are out there. Check out their websites. Also, ask them what websites they will be advertising on, & ask them to send you the link when your listing is posted, so you can check it out.
Ask them if they will be doing any mailings. I do a lot of waterfront condos, so I always mail my seller's building & a few surrounding buildings to let people know that a property in the building is listed for sale.
These are some of the things that you need to ask your Realtor about up front. This is a big financial decision for you, & even if things go smoothly, it will still be stressful: so you should be able to speak to them openly & always honestly about your situation.
More than anything, you should feel that they have your best interest at heart. When we try to help you set a price for your house, we will show you the comparables/similiar properties of what has sold, what is for sale, what has expired, etc. Avoid an agent who wants to list your home higher than what the comparables show. The numbers do not lie. There is so much inventory on the market right now that it is all about listing at the right price. You need to be a realistic seller. I have walked away from so many sellers/listings who refuse to get in touch with what is going on in the market. It is a waste of everyone's time if the house is overpriced, & if you have some good comparables in front of you, it should be fairly obvious where your house should be listed. We know what we are doing, & we want to get your house sold for you as quickly as possible, but if it is overpriced, then you have tied our hands. Remember, we do not get paid unless the house sells: we want you to get as much as possible for your house. We really want you to be happy with us, & with how we are doing our job for you, because we hope that you will use us again, or refer us.
Good luck, & I hope that this has helped you.
Ree Abbott - Century 21 Hansen