Choosing your agent
First we must understand what the agents role is in this transaction. An agent is an educator. As an agent I cannot sell your present home - "the home actually sells itself to the prospective buyer" - and when purchasing your new home that home will sell itself to you. An agent is there to market your home on the sales side and educate and guide you through both sides.. I educate and guide you through the process. So how do you select the person you want to work with, the person that will know more about you before the transaction is over than most of your friends and family, the person that you are going to entrust with helping you through the third most stressful process in life next to death and divorce ?
My advice is let your gut be your guide. First talk to family and friends and ask them for recommendations. Often times you may hear the same name come up from more than one of them. Ask them all if they would use that same agent again. Then call a couple of those agents and talk to them.
Find out what they are going to do to help you through the process.
1) What is your feeling after talking to them ?
2) What do you think of their marketing plan?
3) Do you feel they have the necessary knowledge to help you with all aspects of the transaction?
4) Do you feel they have the necessary skills or support team to get the whole job done?
5) Do they have your best interest in mind or do they just want a listing or sale?
6) Do they have recommendations from past clients?
All of these things start to build a relationship and a feeling of trust. A very important factor to remember is choosing an agent has nothing to do with what that agent says he/she feels your home is worth. That is something that you will come up with together after he/she goes over all the conditions of the market. The agent who suggests the highest listing price may not be able to deliver the best bottom line.
Another important factor is to take statistics as part of the equation of choosing an agent but not the most important part. Statistics can be made to show things in the best light depending on what or how the information is compiled. Such as List Price vs. Sale Price Is that figured on the original list price or the final list price. A very important question to have the answer to! Another one is Our company sells the most listings. That's great but does that have anything to do with who the listing company is?
Maybe some more relevant questions to ask are:
1) Will I be working with you or a member of your team?
2) Do you have letters of recommendation?
3) Where do you plan to market my home?
4) How do you plan on marketing my home?
5) How many years experience do you have?
6) How often can I expect to hear from you with market updates?
7) Do you have handy men, contractors, decorators, lenders, marketing staff, inspectors to help get us through the whole process?
8) Can you handle repairs/inspections once I give the OK?
9) How easy is it to get in touch with you?
10) How often do you check email / voice mail?
11) Do you have a web site? Is it kept updated?
12) Are you going to tell me what I need to hear or what you think I want to hear ?
All of these questions are going to help you get a feel of the person you are thinking about working with. Are they a good fit?