13 Tips on Finding the Best Listing Agent to Sell Your House

     

    Selling your home can be one of the biggest and most important events in your life. A home is most people’s largest investment, and it can be one of the most emotional attachments.

    There are many things to take into consideration when selling your home. The price point and timing of sale are paramount, as is the condition of your home and making it attractive to potential buyers. Additionally, having your home properly exposed in the marketplace is important as well.

    Another decision that will determine the best return on the sale of your home — from maximizing the profit to negotiating conditions to ensuring the legal complications of the contract are met — is finding the best real estate listing agent.

    Your listing agent is crucial to your entire experience as a home seller. The listing agent will be involved in every step of the process, from preparing your home and determining the optimum asking price to marketing your property and negotiating the transaction. They’ll also ensure the contract is in order and the conveyancing is complete.

    Like in any industry, real estate agents vary in abilities, personalities and motivations. It’s vitally important to find the “right fit” in a real estate agent, and choosing the right agent can be a challenging, stressful task. Finding the right agent to list and sell your home can make the home selling process a pleasant dream rather than a nightmare.

    Here are tips from CENTURY 21 Core Partners in York PA on finding the best listing agent to sell your home.

    1. Get Referrals: Word-of-mouth is one of the most important ingredients in the real estate business, and this applies as strongly to choosing the best listing agent to sell your home as it does in purchasing a property. Real estate sales is a people business more so than a property business, and finding the right fit from a listing agent is likely to come as a result of referrals from other people.

    Get Referrals to find agent

    Often referrals to real estate agents come from family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors or other acquaintances. Excellent referrals can come from professionals like your banker, lawyer, accountant, business associates or people in other parts of the real estate business like developers, builders and contractors.

    Remember that the credibility of the referral to a real estate listing agent is only as good as the credibility of the source. Always keep an open mind and an open ear when assessing referrals.

     

    1. Interview Three Different Agents: Interviewing at least three different real estate agents before deciding on the right fit for you is common advice that you’ll find repeatedly given. As in getting multiple quotes for renovating your kitchen or bathroom, speaking with a number of potential listing agents will give you a feel of who’ll be the right fit and best work with you to list your home at the proper price point to give it the best exposure to buyers.

    Be aware of an agent who is far off the mark in price point. A figure too low or too high may be a warning sign that the realtor is out of touch with your market or has an ulterior motive in representing you. Also, be aware that different REALTORS® have different agendas for taking on a contract for listing your home. Some may be desperate for income and some may be currently overloaded.

    Pick your three candidates carefully before asking them for their time to interview them. High producers are busy people. They’ll be assessing you as a candidate to work with as well. It’s best not to exceed three potential REALTORS®. A professional realtor should be asking you how many other REALTORS® are competing for your listing. By exceeding three candidates, you’re significantly reducing their chances of getting your listing, and they may not want to put in the time and effort of giving you the attention you need to properly assess them.

    Additionally, be careful of interviewing candidates within the same agency. Be fair to the REALTORS® who you’re interviewing and they’ll be fair to you.

     

    1. Examine Productivity: A sign of an effective real estate agent who will professionally list and market your home is the number of sales they’ve recently completed. Ensure you ask a potential agent about their performance record and take the time to look up their recorded sales at your local real estate board’s records of recent sales. They’re publicly available online as well.

    Sell your home

    The best listing agent for you will likely be someone who has moved property in your price range and in your neighborhood within recent months. Those agents will have a pulse on current market conditions and will be in the best position to accurately set the price of your home to get the best return on your sale in terms of maximum profit and minimal length of time on the market.

    An agent who has five recorded sales in your price range and area within the past three months is more likely to give you the best service than someone with one or two sales, especially if the price bracket is much higher or lower than the value your home should be set at.

     

    1. Professional Accreditations and Education: All professional real estate agents must be licensed and in current good standing with their agency and local board. Agents who display a capital “R” in their Realtor designation are certified members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and have pledged to adhere to the NAR code of ethics.

    Professional REALTORS® take ongoing education courses. They’ll be astute to the local real estate market trends and cycles. Take into account what a realtor’s commitment to their professional development is. The best agent to list and sell your home will have a track record of educating themselves on your market and the industry as a whole.

     

    1. Measure Their Experience: There’s a saying in the real estate industry that anyone with under five years of experience is learning off of you. This may or may not be true and it’ll depend on the individual realtor. Some junior REALTORS® may be very astute and eager for success whereas senior REALTORS® might be satisfied with what comes their way and not go the extra mile to serve you.

    As in many other professions, gauge the ability of a realtor on many things, not just the length of time they’ve been working in the real estate industry. Experience is just one factor to consider when finding the best listing agent to sell your home.

     

    1. Ensure They Are Detail Oriented: Real estate contracts can be complicated documents, and the successful sale of your home can depend on whether the documentation is properly completed. Professional real estate agents are trained in the legal requirements necessary to list and close the sale of your home. Details include addendums of disclosures, terms, conditions, subject-to’s, inspection reports, lien clearances, easements and rights of subsurface claims. The right agent to list your home must be analytical and detail orientated. There’s no place for sloppy or casual approaches to the legal requirements of real estate contracts and conveyance.

    Analytic Details

     

    1. Research Their Reputation: A real estate agent’s reputation is the most valuable asset they have. The industry depends on networking. It’s not just the interaction between other real estate agents or agencies — it’s between all the professionals like financial providers and investors, insurance brokers and public officials. It’s also the word-of-mouth passed through satisfied clients and their sphere of influence.

     

    1. Test Their Market Knowledge: Knowing the market in which your home is situated is crucial. Your listing real estate agent must be aware of current conditions, competing listings, pros and cons of locations and above all, the proper listing price.

    The right listing agent will provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) that will show you what properties have recently sold in your area and in your price bracket. A thorough and realistic CMA is necessary to set your price and give you the confidence in competitively placing your home on the market.

    Housing Market

    A fundamental principle in the residential real estate business is that a home is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. A home priced too low may result in a snap sale while one priced above the fair market value may sit stagnant on the listing pages.

    Pay close attention to what a real estate agent advises you when presenting a CMA. The right listing agent will have done their homework and be able to confidently stand behind their recommendations.

     

    1. Ensure They Specialize in Your Market: The right listing agent for you must know and be active in the market your home is set in. You may have a single-family property in a rural location, a townhouse in the suburbs or a condo in a dense urban high rise.

    Many REALTORS® specialize in these types of properties and are competent in knowing how your listing fits into the competition for sale.

    Someone who sells nothing but high-end luxury homes or vacation properties likely won’t serve well to sell your detached bungalow in the suburbs. Conversely, a real estate agent who mainly moves speculation properties for developers likely won’t be the best fit to sell your condominium.

     

    1. Place Value on Honesty: Balancing optimism with realism, diplomacy and brutal honesty is a quality to look for when finding the best listing agent to sell your house. Be aware of the nuances in the real estate business where an agent can experience a conflict of interest between getting you the fairest price while maximizing their commission.

    REALTORS® often experience multiple offers, and an unethical agent may not be open to presenting offers which conflict with the agent’s maximum return on commission. As with reputation, take into account your impression of an agent’s ethical performance.

     

    1. Consider First Impressions: First impressions do matter when it comes to selecting the right listing agent. We all have an inner sense that speaks to us when we first meet someone new, and it’s important to listen to yours.

    The realtor’s dress and deportment, the vehicle they drive, their punctuality, communication skills, handshake, eye contact, preparation for your meeting and especially the agency they represent, are all part of an overall assessment of who will be your best listing agent.

    The realtor’s website is another leading indicator of their ability. Websites must always be current, informative and easily navigated.

     

    1. Determine Their Level of Dedication: Many REALTORS® do not work full time in the industry. Some hold their license as a convenience and pick up listings when they can without putting in the real effort it takes to properly list and sell your home.

    Full-time REALTORS® are professionals and make their entire income from the listing and sales of homes. You should expect nothing less than a full commitment that your listing agent will properly present your home and get you the fairest price in the most reasonable time.

     

    1. Follow the 90 / 10 Rule: It’s a fact in the real estate industry that 90% of the sales are made by 10% of the REALTORS®. When choosing the right listing agent, take into account where they rank in sales productivity.

    90 10 rule

    If the agent you’re assessing has very few sales recorded, especially in your price range, take that as a warning sign that the agent may not be for you. Also, take into account that a highly productive realtor in a heated market may not want or be able to give you the attention your listing deserves.

    Take the 90/ 10 rule as a guideline in selecting a real estate agent. It’s just one of the overall factors to consider.

     

    The Biggest Mistakes to Avoid

    Making the right choice in finding the best listing agent for your home is more than just assessing the right qualities. It also involves knowing the pitfalls that can happen in not finding the right fit:

    • Highest Price: A realtor who suggests an unreasonably high listing price may be ignorant of the market or trying to maximize the return on their commission. Too high of a price will almost always prevent a timely sale and give the property a black eye when forced price reductions take effect.
    • Lowest Commission: You get what you pay for. A realtor who entices you with a commission rate below the industry standard may tarnish the listing and prevent other REALTORS® from showing it.
    • “Mister Lister”: Some REALTORS® focus on getting as many listings as they can and then depend on the buyer’s agents to move the property for them, without putting in the proper time and money investment in promoting the property.

     

    Ask the Right Questions

    Ensure that you ask questions of a real estate agent who you’re considering giving your listing to. Here are some helpful tips and examples.

    • What is your sales commission rate?
    • What and where are your recent sales?
    • What is your list price to sales price ratio? (It should be above 95%)
    • Will you present me with a CMA before I commit to giving you my listing?
    • What is your marketing plan for my property?
    • What is your current listing load?
    • What length of contract do you want?
    • Is yours an exclusive listing or an MLS?
    • Are you co-listing with another realtor?
    • Are you part of a shared real estate team?
    • Do you have an assistant?
    • What differs you from other REALTORS®?
    • How long have you been a realtor?
    • Are you a full-time realtor?
    • Do you have satisfied client testimonials?
    • What communication form do you prefer?
    • Will you have my property professionally photographed?
    • What is my ability to cancel your listing if I’m not satisfied?
    • What other questions should I be asking you?

     

    All CENTURY 21 Core Partners in York, PA are professional, dedicated real estate agents. We know the local market and are the best listing agents in York, PA.

    CENTURY 21 York PA agents represent the CENTURY 21 national real estate brand that exemplifies customer service with:

    • Dedication: CENTURY 21 Core Partners work endlessly to ensure the home selling process is as easy as possible for you.
    • Insider Knowledge: CENTURY 21 Core Partners know the York, PA area and give you insider recommendations.
    • Top Skills: CENTURY 21 Core Partners have excellent negotiation skills. We’re at the forefront of the latest real estate trends and have extensive and regular training sessions.
    • Convenience: CENTURY 21 Core Partners pledge to make your listing and selling process smooth. We schedule meetings and showings within your schedule including evenings, weekends and holidays.

    CENTURY 21 Core Partners of York, PA, is proud to say that for three years in a row the J.D. Powers Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study has ranked us as the highest service provider in the real estate industry.

    These prestigious J.D. Power awards prove that CENTURY 21 Core Partners of York, PA is your preferred real estate partner.

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