Do’s and don’t’s when picking a listing agent

Unless you have loads of personal experience selling real estate, hiring an agent is a smart decision when selling your home. But there are right and wrong ways to go about it. When you pick up a business card or visit any real estate office, it would seem as if more than a few agents are multimillion-dollar producers.

Even if this were true, a million-dollar property means something different in Tallahassee than it does in, for instance, New York. Self-promotion is expected from an agent who is just trying to do business. But you need to look beyond the noise to find the best listing agent for your property.

Here are the top three do’s and don’t’s of hiring a realtor.

Let’s look at the do’s first:

1. Look for conviction and passion

Of course, consider their professional qualifications, experiences, skills, expertise, reviews, and references. But those criteria aren’t the whole story.

There are things that go beyond statistics. Look for honesty, conviction, and passion in the candidate.

Brian Balduf, a member of Forbes Real Estate Council, emphasizes the importance of an agent’s role. “You want your agent to tell you what it’s going to take to get your home to sell faster and for the best price.” Maybe that’s a quick DIY lawn project, a broader-scale renovation or a few staging tweaks. The point is, it’s their job to be able to assess your place and provide actionable recommendations.

2. Negotiate on Commission Fees

Most realtors charge a 5-6% commission fee for their services. Note that this fee is not set in stone, and therefore you can negotiate it for selling your home.

That said, keep in mind that some of the top real estate agents may not be willing to adjust their fee since they are highly skilled at negotiating the best price for your home and getting it off the market sooner.

3. Hire a Full-Time Real Estate Agent

While it’s true that you may find a listing agent on every block, some of them are more hobbyist than seasoned pro. Go for a round-the-clock agent – someone who has a track record of shorter times to closing, as well as excellent negotiation and pricing skills.

And just to be abundantly (and perhaps amusingly?) clear, here’s what you shouldn’t do while picking a listing agent:

4. Opt for a Long-Term Listing Agreement

By avoiding this mistake, you can save your property from sitting on MLS listings for months!

Signing a long-term agreement (spanning several months) can tie up your property. An agent may make many promises to get you to sign the multi-month listing contract, but you must exercise discretion.

In most real estate markets, it’s best to sign a listing agreement that spans no longer than 60 days or two months. Otherwise, yours will appear as if it’s languishing on the market if you haven’t accepted any offers.

5. Hire Someone Living Down the Street

An ideal listing agent doesn’t have to live in your neighborhood to be able to sell your home. An experienced candidate can easily familiarize themselves with local merchants, school reputations, community events, recent sales, and other factors that govern the market within a short radius of your home.

Googling “listing agent near me” may offer convenience but won’t necessarily bring you a competent real estate agent. Let qualification, zeal, and experience be the motivating factors for choosing the best person for the job.

6. Decide Solely Based on Number of Properties Sold

Isn’t an agent who sold 40 houses in a year better than someone who sold 30?

Here’s the kicker: it depends on the sales-to-listing ratio. While taking the number of properties sold by an agent into account is a good thing, you should also consider the number of properties they had originally listed.

Now, think about this. An agent sold 30 out of 35 listings last year, while another agent sold 40 out of 70 listings that same year. Who would you prefer?

The choice is clear…the first agent!

By following these do’s and don’t’s, you can make the entire recruiting process fun and fulfilling!

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