Choosing a Real Estate Agent

There’s a lot more thought and angst today about whether to hire a real estate agent to sell your home. You do have the option of selling your home yourself and the traffic to “for sale by owner” websites is brisk. There are other selling sources such as “no commission” sellers too. It may be tempting to try one of these sources if you’ve got the time. If you’re under pressure to sell your home, FSBO and zero commission avenues are probably not good choices. Since you’re paying them very little money, they have almost no motivation to get your home sold for the highest price. A normal, commissioned realtor on the other hand is motivated to get as many buyers as possible and negotiate effectively to get best results.

What you should know about realtors, is that they are not all the same. Some are successful and offer tremendous marketing support to get your home well exposed. Others have almost no marketing support at all, and rely entirely on the MLS system to acquire buyers. This is obviously very passive and not likely to get the kind of results you need today. Buyers are resourceful now. They can shop on Craigslist, Kijiji, and online via the MLS listings that appear on many sites. They get flyers in their newspapers and junk mail too.

If you’re going to get a good result from your real estate agent, you’ll want one who demonstrates the reach he or she has to homebuyers offline and online. No one avenue does it all, although the MLS system and Google Adwords probably offer the best reach to buyers possible. That entails quite a cost for the agent however, so if an agent is using Google adwords and has a successful website, you know they’re putting a good effort into market for clients.

Take a good look at the harder ways to promote your home and see if they’re doing these. Postcards and flyers are expensive so ask them for receipts for their printing and mailing activities. Look for the real estate agent’s name online. Does his/her name appear a lot and how many websites do they have going? Are they actively involved with their own blog, twitter and facebook pages? This says a lot about the effort they’re putting into gain marketshare.

Agents face competition in a crowded marketplace. There are thousands of agents to compete against. In some offices, there are 600 to 1000 agents, so if they’re relying on walk-ins and handouts from the brokerage, they’re not going to be doing well.

Take a good look at how many of their own listings they have on their website and how many properties they’ve sold. Be careful of hiring an agent who has 3 to 15 people working for him or her. Your home sale will be handed off to an associate or novice and that’s not going to create the results you need. You always want an aggressive and competent, and dedicated agent to sell your home. He or she won’t be able to do it alone, so ensure they’re part of a team of brokers and that your agent gets other brokers to create sales leads. A good real estate agent has a lot of connections and knows how important the Internet is today in real estate sales.


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