8 Tips to Hiring a Good Realtor to Sell Your Home

July 9, 2009

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Are you looking for a Realtor to represent you in the sale of your home? Here are 8 tips that will help you make a good decision on choosing a Realtor.

1. Business decision, not a personal one

Selling your home is not an easy task in today’s market. It is challenging and you need someone that is up to the task. Use a full time real estate professional with a proven track record. Think twice before using a family member or friend who has not sold a home since 2005. This may be the largest transaction of your life so make it a business decision. It is best to hire good representation from day one.

2. Ask for a referral

Ask your friends and family members to refer you to a good Realtor. Someone you know has probably used a good real estate agent. Ask around and get a list of good Realtors to interview. They will probably tell you a few not to use.

3. Interview Realtors

Most Realtors hate this tip. Meet with more than one agent and have them do a listing presentation for you. This usually consists of their marketing plan, backgrounds, background on their brokerage and a valuation of your property.

4. Hire the biggest producer?

Don’t assume that the highest producer is the best Realtor or gives the best service. Would you rather work with a good Realtor who has forty listings or a good Realtor that has ten? You probably will end up with better service with the Realtor that spread between only 10 listings. That is not always the case but this is what you can uncover when you interview them. The larger producer may sell ten homes between $2 million and $3 million a year. If your home is worth $300,000 would you rather use that Realtor or one who sells twenty homes a year priced between $300,000 and $400,000?

5. You get what you pay for

I am just as frugal as the next guy. However, often times you get what you pay for. The market dictates what Realtors charge for services. It is a negotiable item and there are discount brokerages out there.

From the outside it appears that Realtor make way too much money. 6% of $400,000 is $24,000. That is a lot of money. However, when you break it down and spread it around it isn’t as much as you think. That commission is usually split between the listing agent and selling agent. The Realtors have to split with their brokers. Brokers have to pay their staff, rent, advertising, light bill, utilities, etc. Promoting your listing to find a buyer costs money so there are expenses like photography, advertising, direct mailers, signs, websites etc. The agents belong to one or several Realtor Associations. We have to pay dues to all of those Associations. To promote the listing on the MLS we have to pay dues to access the MLS. The expenses go on. Realtors probably don’t make as much money as you think.

I have a friend in the business who says, “If you want to pay peanuts you end up working with monkeys.”

6. Don’t let the Realtor buy your listing

This is fairly common occurrence. Realtors are fighting to get listings and they could tell you an unrealistic price for your home just so they list with you. Realtors either know that they are doing this or they are just horrible at pricing property. Make any agent you interview substantiate their valuation with market facts, data and trends. Often times, the Realtor with the lowest valuation is your best choice because they are most honest or most in tune with the market.

7. Interview a Realtor that specializes in your area

Some Realtors only work a small niche. Those agents typically know their niche or market area more than their competitors. They are good to have on your side. However, the process of valuing and selling real estate is essentially the same in all segments of market with slight variations. You don’t have to hire a specialist or niche Realtor.

8. Be Leery

Be cautious of Realtors who tell you everything you want to hear. I would rather be told the truth versus what I wanted to hear only to find out the truth later. Some Realtors are total “yes” people and lead you believe what you want to believe just to get your listing.

Keep these tips in mind and they will help you make a wise choice in hiring a Realtor. Selling a home is not rocket science but you can waste a lot of time hiring the wrong agent. The way home prices have been falling listing with the wrong agent can cost you a large amount of money.

by Art Penz, Realtor on Siesta Key, Florida – Siesta Key Real Estate


Joshua Dorkin @ BiggerPockets.com July 10, 2009 at 11:04 am

I think #6 is one of the points that stands out to me most. Sadly, people want to think that their home is worth more than it actually is. When agents buy a listing by promising higher sales prices, the only real loser is the homeowner, whose property typically sits on the market even longer than it would have had it been priced properly. Great article!

shoe trees July 27, 2009 at 1:34 pm

@ Joshua- My view is bit change than you, Home is a perfect place for a person to live in.So Home should be decorated well & beautifully. The real happiness of a family is beautiful house, so its necessary that home should be perfect. Nice article.

Leucadia real estate January 20, 2010 at 8:22 pm

A wonderful post, these are definitely the best tips I could have hoped for to find a good realtor. It’s really true as it’s not a personal decision and one has to think wisely before picking up a realtor.

Santa Rosa Real Estate Brokers April 14, 2010 at 7:33 am

Great article, may be we use some tips for a page on our website.

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