While the market conditions and area you live in help determine your home’s value, getting the best price for your home isn’t entirely out of your control.
The one thing that’s most likely to get you the most money for your house when selling: hiring a real estate agent. The typical home sold with the help of a real estate agent sells for 35 percent more on average than the typical home sold by an owner.
In order to find the best real estate agent for you, ask these questions.
Know how long your agent has been in business, whether this is a full- or part-time job and if this professional specializes in your neighborhood or part of town. Ask the average length of time the agent’s homes sit on the market, how their listing prices compare to selling price, and what types of property they work with.
Understand if your agent will handle your listing solo or with a team. If your agent uses a team, find out what your agent specializes in and who else you may work with.
Gauge how much of your agent’s time you’ll receive. Is the agent spread too thin or will you receive a lot of individualized attention? Whether you prefer time or experience is your personal preference, but preferably, a great agent should blend both.
Any successful relationship depends on communication. Know what kind of updates you’ll receive and the frequency. Tell the agent what you want to know in terms of buyer interest, new property listings, open house feedback, and more.
Your agent needs to provide honest feedback to set reasonable expectations for the home selling process upfront. A good agent will help you identify any issues affecting the value of your home.
Whether your agent uses a sign on your front lawn, a direct mail campaign, open houses, or online marketing, make sure you’re aware of the strategy and, most importantly, how comfortable you are with it.
Typically, you find references on their website but check other sources too. If you can’t find anything online, ask for at least three references from clients. Ask these references about the agent’s accessibility, professionalism, and communication.
Agents typically earn a commission on your home sale. In the United States, real estate agents earn an average of 5.8 percent depending on the agent, your location, and the details of the sale. It’s also important to understand the agent’s cancellation policy and any other fees involved.
Fees may be negotiable, but check the average for your area before going into talks. You can also use online assessment tools on sites like the National Association of Realtors.
Don’t rush to make this decision or enter this relationship before you’re ready. Assess the agent’s genuine interest in helping you reach your goals. Your agent should take the time to educate you and make you feel comfortable. In many ways, the relationship with your real estate agent should be like the relationship with your financial advisor—built on open communication, transparency, and, most importantly, trust.
Sources1. “Quick Real Estate Statistics.” National Association of Realtors, 2021. March 31. https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/quick-real-estate-statistics. 2. Stalcup, Matthew. “Realtors Typically Earn 5.8% Commission — Here’s When That Percentage Varies.” HomeLight, 2021. March 31. https://www.homelight.com/blog/what-percentage-do-realtors-make/.