Updated November 15, 2019
When it comes to selling a house, choosing the right realtor can have a huge impact not only in terms of having a successful outcome, but also on your experience along the way.
Real estate transactions are incredibly complex, high-stakes affairs. In addition to the financial and legal risks involved, they can be incredibly stressful. As such, you need to find an agent that A) has the requisite chops to help you reach your goals and B) has the personality and bedside manner to ensure your head stays on your shoulders.
Of course, finding that perfect agent is easier said than done. With an estimated 2 million+ active, licensed real estate agents in the United States, how do you even get started?
If you're interested in connecting with top-rated realtors in your area, Clever can help!
We connect you with the best agents in your area from all the biggest brands (Keller Williams, Century 21, RE/MAX, and more) - and negotiate big discounts on your behalf!
Interview multiple agents, get free advice, choose if you want to proceed or not - our referral service is 100% free and there's no obligation.
Now that you know how to find agents in your area, read on for a comprehensive overview of the qualities and skills that separate the good from the best.
What does a realtor do for a seller?
At the risk of stating the obvious, selling a home isn't easy.
Between pricing strategy, timing the market, marketing, showings, fielding offers, negotiating, the maze of legal documents and contracts, the closing process - the list goes on and on - most people simply don't have the requisite expertise or free time to handle the process on their own.
There's a reason approximately 91% of home sellers choose to work with a realtor. They have necessary experience, skills, and resources to get you the best possible outcome within your desired timeframe.
A great seller's agent wears many hats. They're skilled researchers, marketers, home stagers, negotiators, advisers, and confidants. They'll help prepare your home for market, set a competitive list price, develop an effective advertising strategy, negotiate with buyers on your behalf, and more.
In addition to expediting your sale and ensuring you get top dollar for your home, they'll also help save you a great deal of energy and stress along the way.
5 Interview Questions You Should Always Ask Before Signing with a Listing Agent
When choosing the right Realtor to sell your home it's important to work with someone who has experience selling homes similar to yours. You also want someone who understands your financial situation and can help you navigate current market trends to your advantage.
Here are a few good questions that you should always ask a realtor before you commit to working with them:
How long have you been in business?
It's nice to give new agents a chance. Keep in mind, though, it's always best to work with someone who has had at least two years of on the job experience navigating the market and selling homes. The more your agent knows about the industry, the smoother the entire property transfer process will be.
How many houses did you sell last year?
A good agent should always have sales in the double digits, especially if this is their full-time job. If the number is lower than 20 or so houses, it's a good idea to ask a few follow up questions about any extenuating circumstances that caused the number to be so low.
What percentage of your listings do you sell?
The kind of agent that you want to help you sell your home will sell at least 60% of their listings. Look for a number more in the ballpark of 80%, just to be on the safe side.
Do your listings typical sell at the asking price?
This is an important question that should receive a large percentage as the answer, regardless of market conditions. This is because a good agent will know how to set the listing price at a number that is appropriate for the current market – the first time.
If the homes are not selling at asking price, how far below do they drop?
Do you have any references?
You are essentially hiring a real estate agent, so it's okay to treat you initial meeting a little bit like a job interview. It's totally okay to ask if for them to connect you with previous satisfied customers, so you can confirm that everything is actually as it seems.
It's also a good idea to look into the background and history of the agency that the Realtor works for. Is it a nationally known firm with brand recognition? Or maybe it's a locally owned firm with great reviews? Either way, be sure to investigate.
Additional Tips for Choosing the Right Listing Agent
Assess Their Marketing Skills
The kind of agent that you should be interested in working with will know how to price your house to attract buyers. They will also understand what KIND of buyers would be interested in purchasing your home and where to find those people.
We live in a digital age, so agents (even older and more experienced ones!) should have a strong online presence. Take a look at any potential Realtor's social media channels, website, and online listings. Make sure they look professional and are receiving appropriate amounts of traffic.
Test Drive Their Communication Style
Personality is one of the biggest parts of how to choose the right Realtor to sell your home. If you are a first time home seller, you might prefer someone a little bit friendlier, relaxed, and open to communication.
If you have sold a home before, or prefer to be as removed from the process as possible, then perhaps an agent with a more hands-off approach would be a better fit for you.
What is important, however, is to make sure that your agent makes you feel heard and supported throughout the entire process.
Ask Your Friends for Realtor Referrals
If any of your close friends and family have recently sold a home, it might be in your best interest to ask them about their experience. Did they like their agent? Did everything run smoothly? Would they change anything about the experience?
Our friends and family will typically be honest with us about any shortcomings in an agent. However, you should always keep any extenuating circumstances in mind when picking a Realtor based on a loved one's recommendation.
For example: do they live in an entirely different suburb than you? Did they have more equity in their home and/or were willing to pay a higher commission to their agent? Just because an agent was a good fit for someone you care about, doesn't mean that they will be a great fit for you.
This is simply because they might not have expertise in your immediate geographical area or they may come with too high of a price tag.
Ready to find the agent of your dreams? List with Clever! We have thousands of professional, dynamic agents who can't wait to work with you!