THE PERFECT LISTING AGENT
The real estate agent you hire to sell your house, known as the listing agent, must be able to accurately answer your most important question: "What's it worth?" Houses sell for fair market value, which is whatever buyers are willing to offer and sellers are willing to accept.
Your agent should be the foundation of your real estate team. An agent helps you price your property, orchestrates the marketing and showing activities, negotiates with buyers on your behalf, supervises property inspections, and coordinates the closing.
All the best listing agents have certain important qualities in common:
- They educate you: Your agent knows the selling process and carefully explains each step so that you understand exactly what's happening at all times.
- They enable you to make good decisions: Your agent always explains what your options are so that you can make wise decisions regarding your best course of action. They advise you if they think that you should add other experts (property inspectors, lawyers, and so on) to your team.
- They have contacts: Folks prefer doing business with people they know, respect and trust. You can make use of your agent's working relationships with local lenders, property inspectors, lawyers, title officers, insurance agents, government officials and other real estate agents.
HOW TO FIND A LISTING AGENT
Let BozemanMontanaRealty.com schedule an appointment with one of our real estate agents for you to learn more about our services. Our agents will give you a free comparative market analysis (CMA), a process that compares your home to similar homes that have sold recently. Agents use this tool to help sellers set listing prices.
According to the National Association of REALTORS, only 4% of newspaper readers read the real estate classified section. Direct mail has a typical response rate of less than 1%. In contrast, about 70% of homebuyers now use the Internet in their search for a home. But most real estate web sites are poorly designed, difficult to find, or are buried in the search engine rankings. A web site has to be visible on the Internet to be effective.
- Which sites are the most appealing and easy to navigate?
- Which sites provide useful home buying and selling information?
- Do house descriptions make you want to schedule an appointment?
- Does the agency provide multiple photos and thorough descriptions of their properties?
- Was the site easy to find when searching for homes for sale in your desired location?
BozemanMontanaRealty.com meets all of these criteria. Let our agents feature your home on the TOP site for finding and selling Bozeman, Montana real estate!
- Ask agents to explain the marketing tactics that will be used to sell your house, including print, Internet and other types of advertising (you'll already know much of this if you've done your research).
- Will the agency place your house in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) immediately? Making your home available to every affiliated agent greatly increases the buyer pool.
- What's their commission rate? How does it compare to that of other agencies that offer the same services?
- Find out how long they want you to list with them, keeping in mind that the time is usually negotiable.
- What's the average length of time it takes to sell a house in your area? What is their company's average?
- How long has the agent been licensed to sell real estate?
- What percentage of the agency's listings sell during the initial listing contract period?
- Buyer feedback is an important tool. If everyone makes the same negative comment about your property, you should consider correcting the problem. How often can you expect to receive buyer feedback? Weekly, twice a month, after every showing? Will the feedback be written?
- Will the agent hold an open house for other real estate agents? For buyers?
- How are showings handled? Will you receive advance notification that someone is coming? How much notice is typical? You can put restrictions on showings—certain days or times are off-limits—but that may cut down on the number of times your home is shown.
- If you have pets, make sure the agent is committed to a plan that ensures their safety. If it's a dog that bites, you will need a plan for buyer safety, too.
- Does the agency use lockboxes? Many agencies place a key inside a box that is secured to your home. Ask the agents to explain how it works.
- If your new home will be in the same area, ask the agent any questions you might have as a buyer. You may choose to use the same agent to buy and sell.
ESTIMATING HOME SELLING COSTS
- Ask agents to give you an estimate of seller closing costs:
- Sellers' taxes.
- Attorney or other professional fees.
- How your share of property taxes for the year is calculated; your share of association dues, etc.
- Real estate commission.
- Any other expenses that sellers are expected to pay for (surveys, inspections, certifications, etc.) because customs differ around the U.S.
Ask any other questions you think are important, but ultimately your decision to hire an agent should be based mostly on your belief that the two of you can work together.
You don't need the busiest agent or the agent with the most experience. You need an agent who will market your home aggressively, to both buyers and other agents.