Many homeowners are inundated by solicitations from real estate agents asking if they are interested in selling or suggesting that they have a buyer interested in their home.
My first general piece of advice is this: Don't feel pressured into using a family member or a friend who has just got their licence. If your friend or family member has what it takes, great! Otherwise, you are doing yourself a big disservice by not hiring the most qualified person for the job.
Some specific strategies
A prudent seller will always interview at least three agents. Talk to people who have experience in your neighbourhood and understand the nuances of that specific market. When interviewing, go beyond statistics and track record; rapport and comfort level are key.
Ask specific questions about their way of working and strategies to market your home: A competent agent should be able to confidently speak about the way they work, with specific reference to how they will market your home.
People are often surprised when they hire an agent but end up working with a member of their team. You may be fine with that, or you may have hired the agent for their specific expertise and want their personal involvement. Make sure you know what you're getting and are comfortable with that.
Finally, cheap doesn't equal good: Many sellers today are concerned only with the fees they are paying to agent. In my opinion, "You get what you pay for" extends to real estate services.
If someone is offering a discounted rate, ask what they will be offering co-operating brokers (i.e. buyer's agent). They should be offering 2.5 per cent; if they try to offset their discount to you by offering less to the co-operating broker you may not get motivated agents wanting to show and sell your property, But do you think this happens in reality?
Find out what other service are offered in discounted services. Here are a just a few things to consider:
· What kind of marketing materials and tools will be used? (Brochures, postcard delivery, website, etc).
· Will they be hiring a professional photographer or taking photos themselves using a smartphone or personal Camera?
· Will they be providing staging services and/or consultation?
· What are the office hours to handle inquiries and appointments?
Whichever real estate agent you choose in end, make sure you do your homework and figure out what services and what qualities are important to you.