Selling a home is about 3 fundamental things (The 3 â€œPâ€s):
A good agent will work with you to thoroughly maximize your home for the market. Theyâ€™ll help you set goals. They will walk you through any repairs and/or upgrades they feel will get you the maximum bang for your buck. Theyâ€™ll provide resources to help you accomplish everything required to get your home ready for the market. Lastly, they will stage your home (in my opinion, it should be extensive, comprehensive staging and the cost should be covered by your REALTORÂ®).
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Pacita was right when she stated that you need to find out how many homes each agent has sold in the last year. 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?
Tim is right â€“ ask your friends. Ask your accountant and attorney. Look online with companies such as HomeGain.com and their Agent Evaluator program. And â€¦ look no further than this page â€“ there are some tremendous REALTORSÂ® right here!