So, you purchased your Hill home only four short years ago, and out of nowhere, your West Coast dream job becomes a reality. The good news is that even within that short window of home-ownership, particularly in these last four years, your equity has likely increased enough for you to make your move with money to spare. The bad news is that you’ve become such good friends with so many realtors that the choice of a listing agent is an extremely difficult one.
For most people, their home is their most valuable asset. That being the case, you should treat this purely as a business decision. It should go without saying that this is not a contest to be won by who you like the most, but who will produce the best results. There are thousands of real estate agents in the D.C. area. Their level of experience, areas of expertise, organizational skills and ethics vary wildly. Not to mention their marketing, sales and negotiation skills.
I’ll provide some criteria to use in your evaluation, but I’m guessing you intuitively have a hunch about who would be the best choice.
- I am much less interested in how many years someone has been in the business than I am in how many transactions they been involved in like yours. You want someone who can skillfully handle all the situations that may present themselves during the home sale process.
- Make sure they have enough time to make your listing a priority. Ask how many other active listings they have right now. If they are also working with buyers, find out how many buyers they are helping.
- Do they have a niche, or are they a generalist? If they do have a niche, does it fit with the home you are trying to sell? Think of it this way, if you had a serious health concern, wouldn’t you seek out the specialist who is most qualified to help you?
- Ask to see examples of the marketing they do. Ask what things they are doing to market properties that are beyond the norm. This one is huge in my opinion.
- Ask about their strategies for negotiating in the current market. Bonus if they can show you examples of their results.
Team or Individual teams have become very popular in the real estate community, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Understand up front who you are going to be working with and in what capacity. It’s also important to pick someone you feel comfortable with.
Commissions are big, no denying, and should definitely be taken into consideration when choosing a listing agent, since by law they are always negotiable. But in my experience, those for whom commission is the first and last question to a potential listing agent risk being “penny wise, pound foolish.”
The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HillNow.com.