Selling your home can be an exciting time, a stressful time or both. You may be selling because your family is growing and you need a larger home, because of a job transfer or perhaps you are retiring and it's time to downsize. Regardless of the reason, it's best to put your trust in a local, experienced real estate listing agent. When looking for a listing agent, you should consider 5 key elements in your decision making process.

Your Listing Agent's Commission and Objectives

Most people want to save money. When hiring a listing agent to sell your home, be sure you don't base your decision solely on a low commission rate. "You get what you pay for" is true in real estate as in life. Make sure your listing agent will be working exclusively for you. Be sure his or her objectives are to get you the most for your home value, in the least amount of time and with the least stress possible. Make sure your agent is placing your interests above his or her own. Commission rates vary by area and home price. Ask around, interview a few agents and don't be afraid to negotiate so it's a win-win.

Full Service Company

It's important that you hire a real estate listing agent from a full service company. There are companies and agents who list your home, put a sign in the ground and you never hear back from them until closing day when they want their commission check. Ok, so perhaps a bit of an exageration, however, be sure your listing agent provides you with a detailed comparative market analysis of your home, details on comparable homes so you price it correctly and a comprehensive action plan for getting the job done. Be sure he/she has a plan for showings and providing you with feedback from the agents who show your home. Ask about his/her negotiation training and experience and his average list-to-sales price ratio is. Be sure your agent will be available for questions and advice from the day you sign a contract to closing day.

Multiple Listing Service Member

It is important that your listing agent is a member of your local multiple listing service (MLS.) This is an online service your home will be listed in and it's available for all other local MLS member agents to see. It is most likely another agent from another company will have the buyer for your home. This resource helps those agents identify homes that meet the criteria of the "buyer" clients.

Member of the National Association of Realtors

Ask if your listing agent is a member of the National Association of Realtors. In fact, be sure he/she is also a member of his state's Realtor association and his local Realtor board. Only agents who are members of these associations can call themselves Realtors. Realtors have a code of ethics they must adhere to. They have access to an abundance of online training, classes and marketing materials. If you hire a Realtor, you'll be hiring a true professional who will work hard to get you the highest home value he can.

Comprehensive Marketing Plan

Your listing agent should provide you with a marketing plan in writing. This plan should include a for sale sign, online marketing, print marketing, open house policies and more. The hot trend now is live videos of your home and virtual open houses.

Place the sale of your home into the care of a listing agent you can trust. Follow these five, key aformentioned steps and your odds of having an exciting rather than stressful experience will increase.