Listing your home for sale can be a lot less stressful and a very positive experience if you use the right listing agent. Your listing agent's first priority should be to get you the highest home value, in the least amount of time and with the least amount of stress.
Where to Look For a Listing Agent
It's extremely important to find a local real estate agent. Often times friends or family members will try to refer you to an agent that is not in your area. While they mean well, and they may have had an amazing experience with this agent, the agent might not know your area enough to provide you with exceptional service. If your friends or family members are in your immediate area, then by all means, contact the listing agent they refer to you.
Another great place to look is literally "right in your own backyard." Drive around your neighborhood and look for real estate signs. Try to remember if you've seen this agent's signs before. Some listing agents really get to know an area or a subdivision well and become experts there. An agent like this will know property values like the back of his/her hand. Then, do a bit of research on the agent such as reviewing their website, asking for references, etc.
What to Ask When Interviewing a Listing Agent
Are you a member of the National Association of Realtors, your state's Association of Realtors and your local Association of Realtors?
It's important to find a listing agent that is a member of these associations. In fact, an agent can only call himself/herself a Realtor if he/she is. These associations have valuable support and training for Realtors. They also have a Code of Ethics as it's important to work with an ethical Realtor.
Are you a member of your local multiple listing service?
The multiple listing service (MLS) is important because your home will be listed there along with all the other homes for sale in the area. Your home will be exposed to all other agents with all companies in the area as well as consumers visitng many real estate websites. It's important to understand that another agent from another company will most likely have the buyer for your home. The MLS is also where your listing agent will search when completing your comparative market analysis to determine your home value.
What kind of technology do you use?
Photos are by far one of the most important part of your home's listing. As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words." No matter how good your listing agent's description is, the photos of your home will help you get the highest property value. An agent who takes drone photos is impressive as well. Be sure your listing and all these photos will go on the top real estate websites. The top websites which get the most traffic are: Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com and Redfin.com.
Do you have a team of industry professionals to recommend?
You may need a home staging company, a handyman, a painter or a cleaning company to get your home ready to list. Your agent should be able to refer you to a few that he and other clients have been happy with in the past. Also, if your state uses real estate attorneys, be sure to ask your agent to refer a few for you to interview who his/her clients have had success with.
Is your commission negotiable?
It's worth noting that "you get what you pay for." However, it doesn't hurt to ask if the agent will negotiate his commission with you. DIscounting commissions is much more commonplace in areas where home values are typically higher.
How many homes has he/she sold in the area?
A local listing agent with experience will get the job done the best.
Do you know the area well?
Your listing agent should know the area very well. He/she should know where the schools are and details about them, where to direct you to shop, what restaurants are highly recommended, where the park district building is, where the library is and so on.
Finding an experienced, local listing agent to list your home for sale is of the utmost importance. Make a list of questions and ask them all while interviewing agents for this important job.