Personal Finance

How to find a good realtor

Real estate is a huge market with many agents signing up regularly. Picking the right agent or deciding if you should use a realtor at all are decisions that can affect your bottom line.

Things to consider before signing up with a realtor?

Time frame for selling your home can be a determining factor in deciding if you need a realtor or not. If you are in a hurry to sell because of a change of job, etc., you may want to list with a good agent, after doing your homework. If you have time to sell your home, you may consider selling it yourself if you need the equity money for a down payment. If you do decide to sell it yourself, you will want to put even the smallest details into the contract. This will help avoid problems later.

Doing a little homework to find the right agent can help you sell more quickly and help you have a positive experience. Always interview several agents before deciding on one. Here is a list of potential questions to ask:

  • Where do they do their marketing? How will they get your home the exposure you need to sell? Do they advertise in the real estate magazines, TV, radio, newspaper or other publications? Ask them to give you specific details and describe successes they have had with their advertising.
  • What is their background? How long have they been an agent? How many houses have they sold?
  • How long does it typically take them to sell a home? What price range of homes do they list? Are they generally within the same price range or do they go after the really high-priced homes in order to make a higher commission? How many homes do they represent at one time?
  • Have they sold homes similar to yours before and what success have they had? Get names and address of satisfied customers from the agent.
  • Is the prospective agent with a reputable agency and a member of the state and national Realtor Associations?
  • What is the commission percentage they are willing to accept? See if they will list your home at a lower percentage. (A word of caution to the seller. Don’t list with an agent who has really low commission percentages. They will not focus or give your property the necessary attention to sell it.) Most realtors want six or seven percent commission. If you can get them to work for a percentage point or two lower commissions, that is money in your pocket.
  • Will they refund part of their commission if you also purchase a home with them? Some realtors will give you up to one percent of their commission back if you use them for both selling and buying.

The key is to find the agent that will work with you, give you good service and has a good track record. Again beware that some agents list lots of properties but have a very low success rate.

Tell the prospective agent that you will only sign a contract that gives you the ability to cancel the contract if you are not satisfied with their progress after a predetermined amount of time. If the agent tells you that that’s not possible, ask whether you can list the property for three or four months instead of a year. Listing the property for an entire year with one agent is not recommended. If you list for a year with an agent that does not work your property or get you results, you are locked in for a long period of time. Avoid agents that require you to lock in for a year. Remember you, the seller, are in control because you are hiring them. There are lots of real estate agents and you can find one that has good credentials and will be flexible on the length of time required to list with them. Also be sure that when you finish listing with an agent that they will release your property so that you can pursue other options if your property has not sold.

These tips should help you if and when you need a real estate agent. Remember you as a seller call the shots. If you find the right agent, you will increase your chances of selling your home and should have a good experience.

About the author
© Simple Joe, Inc.
Lyle Evans is a quality control specialist for Simple Joe, Inc., makers of the popular Simple Joe’s Expense Tracker PC software. Expense Tracker is a quick and simple way to keep track of your expenses and stay within your budget. Expense Tracker is ideal for tracking personal, business, home and club expenses. This article may be freely distributed as long as the copyright, author’s information and an active link (where possible) are included.