Thinking of Selling Your San Ramon Home? How Should You Select Your Listing Agent?
Your home is probably your most valuable possession and when you make a decision to sell it, the selection of the right real estate agent can be crucial to the successful outcome of the transaction.
So where do you start? Many people take the approach of noting the agents who have For Sale signs in their neighborhood and interview two or three of these agents. Another approach is to talk to friends and neighbors and get their feedback on their input. Both are valid approaches, but there are other factors that you should consider too. Personally, I would not consider listing a home with an agent who has less than at least 5 years experience in the business. You should make sure that any agent you consider is familiar with your area, and that they are not a “one man band”. Who will look after you if they take a vacation or if they are sick?
But regardless of whether you plan to interview one, two or ten agents, you still have to have a methodology that will help you to decide who is best suited to sell your home.
Position, Preparation and Presentation
These are what any good agent should focus on when selling a home and these are the factors you should focus on when talking to a prospective agent.
Position is the same as Price. Any experienced agent should be able to figure out the likely price that your home will sell for. This is done by comparing your home with homes that are similar and that sold in the recent past. An adjustment for the present market can then be made by considering the current competition. We all have access to the same data so if 3 agents were to carry out this exercise, the result should be similar. Interestingly, this is often not the case. It is not uncommon for one agent to suggest a much higher price for your home than other agents. This is simply because they have found that many home sellers base their selection criteria on hiring the agent who gives the highest valuation.
All these agents want is to “get the listing”. They can adjust the price later. There is often a temptation to just hire the agent with the highest price but this is a bad idea. If you start too high and then come down, you will eventually sell for less than if you priced right from the start.
Preparation Is The Key
If you want to get the best price for your home in a reasonable period of time, you really have to get the home ready for sale. A good agent will make many suggestions on what is need to realize the greatest return. This is often an area where a good, experienced agent will really prove his or her value. A real “full-service” agent will arrange for home and termite inspections plus professional staging of your home at no additional cost to you.
Exactly what will your agent do to get your home sold? What use will they make of technology? Is the Internet at the core of their marketing campaign (assuming they have one) or are they still using old style print ads that do little other than promote the agent? What use will they make of Video to promote your home? How do they differentiate between promoting the home to potential buyers and bringing it to the attention of other agents? All these are valid questions that you should want answered. This is not an easy market to sell homes in and a professional marketing campaign is essential for success.
Managing The Transaction
Once you have a sale agreed, the work does not stop. Your buyer will want to have inspections carries out and a good agent will want to be present so that you can be kept well-informed regarding any findings. And then there are the many Disclosures and associated documents to complete. You should want to be assured that your agent will be available at all stages in the transaction and hopefully even be present at the signing to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
One final thought is to ask any agent you are thinking about hiring, how they will keep you informed both while the home is on the market and when a sale has been agreed. A good agent will provide you with weekly written reports about the local market with details of homes similar to yours that have either come on to the market or had sales agreed. They will also keep you updated regarding opinions of other agents who have shown your home.
If you are thinking about selling and you need advice on any aspect of the process, give me a call and I’ll arrange to meet with you and evaluate your situation. My contact details are on the cover. There is never any obligation and I am always happy to hear from you.