How to Pick a Realtor for Selling: A Step-By-Step Guide

Photo of sold sign in front of a house with a realtor and a home buyer exchanging keys

On the verge of selling your house? You don’t want to tackle the entire process alone, as you can’t take any risks while selling probably the biggest asset you own! For this matter, you can always make use of a professional opinion and have a real estate agent stir you in the right direction.

Picking the right realtor for your home selling process can be a bit tricky. You might be easily swayed by empty advertising pitches if you don’t know exactly what qualities to look for. 

Luckily, we’re here to ensure you’re getting the top real estate agents who can do your property justice using top-notch tools like a detailed home valuation report.

Get ready to learn all the real estate knowledge you need to call an experienced agent when you see one. With real estate professionals on your side, you can understand the local housing market trends and set the perfect listing price that gives you the most value for your property!

A Step-By-Step Guide for Picking the Right Real Estate Agent to Sell Your House

For a successful home sale, you need to plan ahead and do your homework! Operating based on a reliable mind map is always a winning strategy, and that’s why we’re breaking down the entire process in a step-by-step manner, starting from choosing your agent, initial phone call, and all the way to closing the deal with your potential buyer.

Step One: Find the Best Real Estate Agent

To get started, you need reliable sources with top local agents to choose from. If you follow efficient sourcing techniques, you’ll quickly build up a list of experienced agents to filter your way through. Realtor matching agencies, referrals by family and friends, in addition to online research are all feasible ways to land the best realtor to take over your home sale.

Let’s walk you through each sourcing strategy and explore its advantages and drawbacks!

Realtor matching Agencies

Some people still prefer visiting their local real estate agency office and sitting down with a representative to channel their needs and find the right agent for the job. Such an old-school approach still works fairly well, but we can’t deny how online agent-matching services are changing the game.

With the power of AI, such platforms give you insight into your agent’s transaction history, past client reviews, and realtor commissions. With such metrics at your disposal, you can be more confident in your agent’s experience before even the initial meeting.

It’s also worth noting that some of those services get you a discount on your agent’s commission rate without you having to helm the contract negotiations. You can get a commission rate as low as 1% for your certified residential specialist, which is a steal!

The icing on top is that many of the agent matching services offer some sort of a free model. So, it won’t hurt to give them a try and see which agents the platform ends up recommending. 

This way, you’ll have a solid starting point, and you can then research each of the real estate attorney results you get to ensure you’re contacting an agent who can attract the right prospective buyers.

Referral By Family and Friends

Word of mouth remains a trusted source for finding the right real estate agent for your property. You’d be surprised by how many people prefer reaching out to friends and family members for recommendations.

The National Association of Realtors survey shows that referrals take the biggest piece of the cake for how home sellers prefer to be connected to their potential realtors of choice. Nothing matches the power of a trustworthy opinion, even in the age of the internet!

So, it’s always wise to reach out to people in your social circle and see if someone has sold their house recently. 

It’s worth noting that the seller’s agent might still not be the best match for your property. Don’t overlook doing your own vetting before the recommended agent takes responsibility for your listing presentation. 

Online Research

If agent matching platforms aren’t your cup of tea, you can take matters into your own hands and be at the helm of the online research process from A to Z. You can visit websites like to find a local real estate agent who has years of experience in the neighborhood.

Reviewing your agent’s online presence can give you many clues about their personality based on how they choose to present themselves. Past clients’ reviews can also help you form a solid idea about your agent’s personality and marketing strategy. 

Unlike agent matching services, you don’t have a single platform to navigate for data like your agent’s past three listings or home sales prices. Finding one agent’s profile can be time-consuming and require you to jump between different websites. 

The randomness aspect makes such a method less reliable and can be frustrating to people bound by a timeframe to get their listing into the market and close the deal as soon as possible.

Step Two: Screen Potential Realtors

Now that you narrowed down your picks and have a list of strong candidates, you need to filter them out and settle on three to four realtors to interview. Screening for red flags can help you check out real estate agents who aren’t a good fit from the get-go and save you a lot of time down the line.

It’s always a good idea to check the realtor’s own website, Yelp, and social media platforms for the most recent updates on their performance. Such channels will help you be more efficient in your screening process and find agents with outstanding track records.

Step Three: Set Your Priorities Before Contacting Your Realtor of Choice

The main deal breaker for most client-realtor relationships is that one or both parties have different priorities. To avoid such an issue and work with a realtor who understands your mindset, you need to voice your needs loud and clear on day one.

For instance, home sellers whose top priority is to sell their house as soon as possible usually prefer realtors with fewer active listings to give their property some extra care. 

That’s not all; for the home sale process to be as smooth as possible, you need to decide which kind of home seller you are. Some prefer to take a passive approach and let their realtor do all the talk. Others prefer to be more involved and work hand in hand with their agents.

Also, preferred means of communication are another crucial aspect to pay attention to. For instance, some realtors are okay with phone calls, while other agents only allow you to reach out by text or email.

You get the point! So, grab your notebook and write down what matters the most to you. This should give you some extra merits to filter your candidates and find agents who meet and exceed your expectations.

Step Four (A): Set Up the Initial Meeting With Your Real Estate Agent

Once you have three to four names on your list, you’ll need to set up meetings to sit down with your potential real estate agents in person. Such a meeting is key to picking on your realtor’s communication skills, friendly personality, and honesty.

All you need to do now is follow the steps below to schedule a successful meeting with your real estate agent.

Make a Phone Call

Before getting on your first phone call to set up a meeting, be prepared to respond to some basic questions about your property. Your agent needs to know about the specific location of your house, the number of rooms, and the square foot area. 

If you’ve made any recent renovations or repairs, you should mention them as well because your house’s condition is a key determinant of the list price. 

You also don’t want to overlook any unique features like a backyard pool or a separate guest house that can get more potential buyers invested in your property.

Tour Your House

Once your real estate agent arrives, take them on a tour of the interior and exterior of the property. At this point, your realtor can start taking professional photos that put your listing in the best light! Also, taking notes on different renovations and house features should tell you how invested your agent is from the get-go.

On the other end of the spectrum, your agent might be preoccupied with other work-related phone calls or seem disinterested in the concerns you bring up. Such an attitude is an instant deal breaker and should send you back to the drawing board to pick a whole different realtor.

By the end of the tour, you should have presented all your home’s current issues and asked your realtor whether they require repairs before the house can be listed. Not all repairs translate into adding extra value to your property, so you should always take a professional opinion to make the most of your renovation budget.

Understand Local Market Trends

Upon completing the house tour, you need to know how your property stands out in the seller’s market. Take your time to discuss real estate trends in your neighborhood and ask your realtor to show you the statistics.

Data like days on market for real estate listings, recent sales in the area, and current open houses in the neighborhood should all give you a solid idea about the chances your property has when it competes in the local market.

If your real estate agent keeps referencing reliable sources like the multiple listing service (MLS), you should pick upon their experience, professionalism, and analytical skills.

So, from the moment your real estate agent sets foot in your house to when you sit down for a formal interview, every subtle interaction can help you get a glimpse of their negotiation skills and whether they’re a good fit for your house.

Explore the Selling Strategy

Top agents always come prepared with their sales strategy that covers pre-listing requirements, marketing plans, and listing presentations.

Before your property is ready to be agent represented, you need to take some steps on your part. For instance, you might need to remove some of the clutter, move your pets to a different house, and empty your storage areas like the attic and the basement. Your agent should decide on the moving course to make your property ready for interested buyers.

A real estate agent is inherently a marketeer, and this should come in handy to ensure as many eyes as possible see your house. Listing your property online on websites like MLS, putting on sales signs, and allocating ads in local newspapers for the old-school buyer clients are all feasible marketing moves that ensure your property gets as much recognition.

Also, if your agent plans to host an open house, they should present you with their strategies to attract a crowd to your place within the proposed timeframe. 

Not all home sellers are fond of the idea of an open house as this will usually require them to move out. However, if the real estate market in your area favors such a strategy, you should cooperate with your realtor to make it happen.

Discuss the Listing Price

Finally, it’s time to discuss your property’s market price. It’s always helpful to ask your real estate agent to provide examples of listings sold within the same price range so you get a sense of how fair your house is being evaluated.

Before any real estate transaction takes place, your realtor should provide you with a home valuation report. Such a document shows you the impact of listing your property at different price ranges on the actual home sales in the area.

If you don’t agree with your realtor’s estimation, don’t shy away from getting the opinion of multiple agents to be 100% sure that you agree on a fair price for your property.

Also, it’s always wise to get a solid estimate of the closing costs before listing your property. This accounts for your realtor’s commission, repair costs, marketing budget, and more. You need to have a detailed report of the net price you receive after all the sales cost is deducted.

Once you reach common ground with your real estate agent, you can sign a listing agreement with the contract length and terms. Before putting in your signature, you should review the average real estate agent commission in your state to ensure you’re getting a good deal. 

Step Four (B): Interview Your Potential Real Estate Agent

The conversation with your real estate agent shouldn’t be one-sided. You need to set up your own questions, each designed to give you better insight into your agent’s readiness for the job.

This should also be a great chance to ensure your agent holds an active real estate license and ask about any other certificates they might have. Before reaching a listing agreement, here are some of the questions you need to ask your real estate agent:

What Makes You Stand Out as a Real Estate Agent?

We’ve already touched on how your real estate agent should be an excellent salesperson, and what better way to test their sales prowess than setting them up for an elevator pitch? 

Asking your agent why they should gain your favor over other realtors on the market should give you a glimpse of how convincing your future representative is. 

If your potential real estate agent manages to win you over, they should be qualified to attract buyers to your house and convince them that your property is the perfect fit for their lifestyle and family needs.

How Many Current Listings Do You Have?

That’s another classic question that reflects the performance of your real estate agent. If your agent juggles too many listings at the same time, they might not give your house the attention it deserves.

However, if they work with a few clients, this should raise concerns over your agent’s experience, ability to close deals, and marketing strategy. You’d be better off with another real estate agent with a solid portfolio of home sales to ensure your house doesn’t spend too many days on the market before it finds its suiter.

How Well Are You Familiar With The Neighborhood?

Such a question is designed to show how confident your real estate agent is. If you’re sitting down with the right real estate agent for the job, they should reference their previous successful sales in the area and how they’re familiar with the buyer trends in the neighborhood.

Real estate agents specializing in micro-markets are always a better fit, as they know all the attractions in the area and can tailor their marketing pitch based on the priorities of the buyer’s agent. 

What Challenges Might Present During The Selling process?

This should be an excellent closing question, as it speaks to your agent’s honesty and transparency. Your real estate agent should bring up potential pitfalls and paint a realistic picture of how your house competes with other listings in the area.

You’ll know who’s to sweet talk their way to land the job and who’s willing to pinpoint issues to help you address them beforehand.

Step Five: Take Your Time

It’s always important to know that you’re not obliged to make a decision right away. You can always take your time and interview more real estate agents until one stands out. 

Also, if you’re on the fence about signing a particular agent, you can ask them for references to reach out to. This way, you can directly speak to past clients and see how satisfied they are with their home sales.

Call a home seller and ask them how they rate your agent’s performance, if there’s anything the real estate agent should have done differently, and whether they’ll sign the agent again for a future real estate transaction.

Step Six: Sign the Contract

Once you’re comfortable with your decision and you’re confident that you’ve found the right real estate agent, it’s time to sign a contract.

In the real estate space, such a binding contract is called a listing agreement and it’s signed by both the home seller and the real estate agent. The contract gives your real estate agent exclusive rights to sell your house, so you can’t put multiple agents on the job at the same time.

Also, you can set the length of the contract, the selling price, and your agent’s commission. This way, you have a written agreement that preserves each party’s rights and ensures you’re having a smooth relationship moving forward.

A Final Checklist for Real Estate Agents Selection

By now, you should have a solid idea about how to choose the right real estate agent for your property. Nevertheless, we’ve decided to give you some extra bullet points to aid you in the selection process.

Working Hours

You want to hire a full-time agent with at least 10 to 20 deals closed per year. This should make communication with your agent much easier, as their schedule isn’t crammed with other side gigs.

Years of Experience

You should be looking at two to four years of experience for an agent to make it on your radar. Local sales need to take the upper hand to make such an experience relevant to your home sale.

Solo or Team Players

Some realtors operate as brokers and have a team of agents working under their names. You should decide whether you’re okay with such a model or want a more focused relationship with a single agent. 

Bottom Line

Finding the right real estate agent to sell your house can be a daunting task. However, with all that knowledge at your disposal, you should be more confident when making a decision. We can’t wait to hear about your home selling experience and how our guide has set you up to match with the right real estate agent for the job!

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