The Perfect Listing Agent
The real estate agent you hire to sell your house, known as the listing agent, must be able to accurately answer your most important question: "What's it worth?" Houses sell for fair market value, which is whatever buyers are willing to offer and sellers are willing to accept.
A good agent can be the foundation of your real estate team. An agent helps you price your property, orchestrates the marketing and showing activities, negotiates with buyers on your behalf, supervises property inspections, and coordinates the closing. A good agent's negotiating skills and knowledge of property values can add 5 to 10 percent to your house's sale price.
Recognizing the attributes of the best listing agents
All the best listing agents have certain important qualities in common.
- They educate you: Your agent knows the selling process and carefully explains each step so that you understand exactly what's happening at all times. Agents should be patient, not pushy. A good agent never uses your inexperience to manipulate you.
- They enable you to make good decisions: Your agent always explains what your options are so that you can make wise decisions regarding your best course of action. They advise you if they think that you should add other experts (property inspectors, lawyers, and so on) to your team -- experts don't threaten a good agent.
- They voluntarily limit themselves geographically and by property type: Good agents know that trying to be all things to all people invariably results in mediocre service. Even though real estate laws are the same throughout your state, different areas within the state generally have radically different market conditions, local zoning ordinances, and building code restrictions.
- They have contacts: Folks prefer doing business with people they know, respect, and trust. You can make use of your agent's working relationships with local lenders, property inspectors, lawyers, title officers, insurance agents, government officials, and other real estate agents.
- They have time for you: Success is a two-edged sword. An agent who is already working with several other sellers and buyers probably doesn't have enough surplus time to serve you properly. Occasional scheduling conflicts are unavoidable. If, however, you often find your needs being neglected because your agent's time is over committed, get a new agent.