All Real Estate Agents Are Not Created Equal
**Important things to look for in a Real Estate Agent**
When selling your home, one of the most important services your real estate agent can perform is helping you set the listing price. Most people approach a sale thinking they have a pretty good idea of what their home should sell for. But the fact is, until you do some serious calculations based on current market trends, sale prices in your area, and what other similar homes have recently sold for, there is no way you can possibly know what price to set. Your agent will be able to help you with this process.
**Stay away from agents who promise an unrealistically high price**
Good real estate agents know they cannot always get the price you expect to get. They know the market dictates your price. Any experienced real estate professional will tell you that listing your home at an unrealistically high price is the best way NOT to sell it. Find a knowledgeable agent who knows your market and is realistic about setting your price.
Don't list with an agent who promises he or she can get you an unreasonably high price for your home. Some agents use a high listing price as a ploy to get you to list with them. You soon discover that the market dictates the price. After a few weeks of getting very little traffic at the high price this agent will come back to you and suggest you lower the price in order to generate traffic. Unfortunately, you've lost what is usually the most critical time period in selling a home - the first few weeks immediately after it is listed.
**Don't list with a part-time agent**
Agents who are full-time professionals have a better feel for the market, have more connections within the industry, and will generally work harder for you. Why? Because their livelihood depends entirely on their ability to successfully and repeatedly close real estate transactions.
**Look for an agent who is aggressive about getting new business**
Agents who don't advertise or who are not actively looking for business are probably talking to fewer people and doing fewer deals. Agents who are out in the market looking for new business have their fingers on the pulse of the market. They know what buyers are looking for, and how much they are willing to pay. They will also know of people who are actively looking to buy, and are dealing with more agents who have buyers too, so they have a better chance of selling your home quickly.
**Experience and productivity are important**
As with most professions, experience pays in real estate. Experienced agents know the market and the marketing process. They are better at anticipating the kind of traffic you should expect, and will have valuable advice on how to expedite your sale. In other words, an experienced agent who is actively involved in the market has the best chance of quickly and smoothly helping you to buy or sell your home.
**Use an agent who is part of a larger organization**
Agents who are part of an active, aggressive local office will have access to "inside" information that could be helpful in your quest to buy or sell a property. Virtually all agents now have access to MLS listings, but new listings often take a number of days to get on the MLS system. A "connected" agent will know about new listings immediately after they come available.
Be sure your agent is part of a national network? This is less important than it used to be because there are fewer and fewer truly independent agents out there. Most agents in Canada are affiliated with a national chain, and all have access to MLS listings. Being part of a national chain is especially important if you're selling in one city and moving to another. Your selling agent can refer you to a professional, compatible agent in your destination city - and keep in close contact with that agent so both your selling and buying efforts are closely coordinated.
**Use an agent who has your interests at heart**
Find an agent who seems primarily interested in sharing expertise and market knowledge in an honest and straightforward manner. Be suspicious of agents who just tell you what you want to hear. Remember that neither you nor your agent can determine the price of your property. It will be determined by the market. Your agent just has a better chance of anticipating what the market price will be.
Don't deal with and agent who spends a lot of effort trying to market additional high-priced products and services? The primary service your agent can offer you is fairly simple: to set a realistic price, and to represent you in the market place. When it comes to additional services such as special listings, and other expensive add-ons, ask yourself if these will attract prospective buyers and help you sell your property more quickly.
Many of the same questions, hesitations and strategies connected with seeking out professional assistance in any field -- whether you're looking for a doctor, dentist, lawyer or accountant -- come into play when you're selecting a real estate agent.
It doesn't matter whether you are buying or selling. And it doesn't matter whether you respond to a printed advertisement, see an agent's name on a sign, or are referred by a friend or relative, it is important to select the right agent. In fact it might be worth meeting with and discussing your situation with at least two different agents before you make a final decision. At the very least you should arm yourself with some clear requirements like the ones above before making your final decision.
About the Author: Rick Hendershot is a marketing consultant, writer, and internet publisher. For more Real Estate articles see Free Real Estate Articles. Go here to post a Free For Sale By Owner listing.