Hiring the right real estate agent to sell your home is crucial. The decision could be worth thousands of dollars. A good agent will know how to price your home correctly, find potential buyers, negotiate the deal, and work within your timetable and goals.
Types of Real Estate Professionals
Real estate professionals are licensed at the state level and each state has similar but slight variations on the requirements. The licensing ranges, based on least amount of training to highest, from a real estate salesperson to a real estate broker. You will want to find a seasoned broker to sell your home.
- Real Estate Salesperson: Requires classroom instruction, typically around 60 hours, without any prior experience. This type of license is not offered in North Carolina.
- Provisional Real Estate Broker: Requires classroom instruction, typically 90 or more hours, without any prior experience. All full brokers start out as a provisional before completing additional coursework.
- Real Estate Broker: Requires initial classroom training for licensing plus ongoing continuing education courses. Brokers can perform full real estate duties.
- Broker-in-charge (BIC): Every real estate firm must have a designated BIC who oversees all brokers within their firm. BICs require additional educational and licensing requirements beyond brokers.
- Other designations and certifications: Most real estate professionals will also be members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and be able to use the Realtor® designation in their marketing. You may also see abbreviated credentials after some brokers name indicating they have received additional training and certification in a specific area, such as CRS for certified residential specialist.
10 Tips for Hiring a Great Seller’s Agent
- Find candidates through:
Recommendations of people you know, open houses, yard signs in seller’s yards, online real estate and recommendation sites.
- Find the right fit.
The best agent is the one you are most comfortable with and anticipate will get you the best results. While experience can be helpful, the real estate business has changed rapidly in the last decade which may favor newer, more technology savvy agents. You can use Realtor.com “find Realtors®” feature to see those in your area with the ability to sort by different criteria.
- Ask for references.
Good agents keep a list of satisfied customers. Other ratings sites like RateMyAgent.com and Angie’s List can sometimes provide insight.
- Works well with other agents.
The odds are high that your future buyer will be brought by another agent, so your agents ability to work with others is crucial – starting with a listing preview just for other brokers.
- Knows how to create and execute a marketing plan.
Seller agents should take the time to sell their strengths and ideas/plans to get your house sold for top dollar. This is usually accomplished as part of a “pre-listing presentation” and will let you know how they intend to attract potential buyers. Being able to reach and market through online channels is a must these days.
- Test their negotiation skills.
Gauge their response by asking if they will lower their commission. Any agent worth having will quickly let you know why that is not in your best interest either. Top agents will also ask you to sign an exclusive buyer agreement after your initial meeting to ensure you are a serious buyer. The ability to negotiate is crucial on the selling side where buyers routinely ask for closing costs and discounts based on their home inspection report.
- Constantly monitors your competition and knows when to adjust.
Your agent should know and continuously monitor active and just sold listings that are direct comparables for your home. This is crucial before and after listing to position and market the best features of your house. A good agent is also not afraid to have an frank conversation when the market and buyers dictate a price adjustment!
- Get them to explain the selling process.
Use scenarios to understand what adjustments the agent will use if there are multiple offers, there is little or no activity, your house sits for weeks without an offer. This will separate the average from the pros.
- Understand their methods and frequency of communications.
You want an agent who is accessible but not overbearing that will communicate based on your preferred method from texting to phone calls. Good agents will initially check-in frequently and as prompted by changes in listings and your concerns.
- After the initial meeting, trust your gut.
If the fit between you and the agent is not right, don’t hesitate to move on. Your gut feeling and ability to walk away is the best path.