12 Questions to Ask when Choosing a Listing Agent to Sell Your Home or Condo



Margaret La Grange and Christine Van Tuyl, an award-winning mother-daughter team in Coronado, CA, have released their latest list-the top 12 questions to ask when choosing a listing agent to sell your home or condo.

"Hiring a professional, well-qualified listing agent is probably the most important thing you can do when selling your property," said Margaret La Grange. "Studies show that selecting the right listing agent-someone with strong negotiating skills and area knowledge of property values-can add 5-10% to your home's sales price."

Here are the top 12 things to consider when hiring a listing agent to sell your home or condo.

How experienced is the agent? Let new agents learn the business on somebody else's dime. Select a Realtor who has experience selling homes or condos in your neighborhood.

What company does the agent work for? Choosing a Realtor who works with a strong, well-known brokerage provides a number of benefits. Good brokerages offer a slew of contacts including escrow and title experts, as well as inspectors, home warranty professionals, legal experts and other useful contacts.

Is the agent an area specialist? Hire a Realtor that knows your area. Good agents voluntarily limit themselves geographically and by property type. They 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.

Does the Realtor have new media intelligence? Although older agents may have more experience, they may not be as well versed in using new media to find buyers. Find a listing agent who combines both experience and technological savvy to move their properties. Keep in mind, in 2009, 80% of buyers started their home search on the Web.

How will the Realtor market your property? Good listing agents know that good marketing will help sell your home or condo faster, and for a better price. Your agent should hire a professional photographer to snap pictures of your home and post 8-12 pictures on the MLS. They will also give your home its own website, provide a virtual tour, send out e-flyers and post home information on property search websites. In addition, agents should provide 4-color flyers, distribute direct mail to surrounding neighbors, out-of-area buyers/brokers and hold open houses.

How will your agent use networking to sell your home? This is a people business. Some homes sell because agents have contacted other agents. Will your agent set up a broker's preview? Some firms even allow listing agents to host an office meeting at your home, introducing it to all area agents at once. At the very least, your agent should offer to pitch the listing at an office meeting.

How well does the agent communicate? Communication is key in sales. Your Realtor should be able to communicate the best features of your home to buyers in a pinch.

How often will the agent update you on your listing? Your Realtor should provide you with reports on showings, buyer feedback and marketing on a regular basis. There's nothing more unsettling then selecting an agent to sell your home or condo, then getting no communication from your agent.

Does the agent have good negotiating skills? You want an aggressive negotiator to sell your house, not somebody out to make a quick sale at your expense.

How will the agent educate you about the market? Your Realtor knows the selling process and should carefully explain each step so that you understand exactly what's happening at all times. A good agent will enable you to make good decisions. They will always explain what your options are so you can make sound choices regarding your best course of action.

Does the agent have good contacts? Good Realtors will advise you if they think you should add other experts (property inspectors, lawyers and so on) to your team-experts don't threaten a good agent.

Does the agent have time for you? Success is a double edged sword. A Realtor who is working with several other sellers and buyers probably doesn't have enough surplus time to serve you properly; occasional scheduling conflicts however, are unavoidable. If you often find your needs being neglected because your agent's time is over committed, get a new agent.

For more information, visit www.CoronadoIslandHomes.com.


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