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Thursday, September 13, 2012

How The Right Real Estate Agent Can Get You Top Dollar For Your Home

Here are five steps you need to take to find the right real estate agent to sell your home at top dollar:

1. Ask for the "relocation coordinator" when you first contact real estate agencies Sellers who call agencies typically are routed to which ever agent happens to be on phone rotation that day.  In contrast, relocation coordinators can be objective because they don't sell homes themselves. Their job is to help executives who are moving in the area. The "relo guy or gal" often is willing to provide an insiders opinion about which agent is most appropriate for a particular listing given the home's location and approximate value.

If you're not certain which agencies to call, lean towards those that seem to have lots of homes for sale in your neighborhood based on yard signs or listings on www.Zillow.Com  or www.Trulia.com. These agencies are likely to be active and respected since they have a strong knowledge of your area. That's because real estate is extremely local, and an agency that sells lots of homes in your neck of the woods most likely understands the nuances of home values in your area.

2. Research agents before you meet with them  Experienced agents should have web pages detailing their background and recent sales usually on their agencies' website. Be wary of those who don't. Also, use the website to confirm the agent has extensive experience selling homes in your price range and area. Also confirm that the agent is full time.  You should not trust your home to a part-timer. Also, do a Google search on the agent's name and agency. Choose a different agent if numerous complaints from prior clients show up.

3. Interview at least 3 to 5  agents from different agencies Interviewing three or more agents will weed out those whose opinion and the listing price diverge significantly from the consensus. Weed out these agents since your home is likely to appear mispriced or  flawed to these agents if they represent buyers too.Here's a prime example: If two out of 3 agents you talk to say your house should be listed at $475,000  and that the hardwood floors should be cleaned and polished. Another agent says that it should be listed at $550,000 as is. There's a good chance that this agent is misreading the market or is telling you what he or she thinks you want to hear.

4. During interviews, ask agents about their marketing strategies and pricing recommendations Agents should be able to layout fairly detailed marketing plans that may include open houses, brochures, online marketing and other strategies. The agent should be able to explain their reasoning for the plan. The explanation as to why the strategy was selected is most telling. For instance, perhaps the agent has learned from earlier sales that placing an ad in a publication that caters to seniors is a great way to find potential buyers for your home.

Stay away from agents who recommend a listing price immediately upon viewing your home.  A responsible agent will take time back at the office to review recent comparable sales before citing a specific listing price.
Also, avoid an agent who solicits a price based on your desires rather then on reality.

5. Ask your agent for references And finally, ask the agent for his or hers five most recent sales. Then call at least 3 sellers to confirm that they had a positive experience with the agent.  

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