How to pick a real estate agent to sell your home

Trust Matters

A professional seller's agent can help make the process smoother

If you're thinking about selling your home, it's a good idea to consider working with a professional real estate agent. You can go the FSBO route (for sale by owner) to avoid paying a listing fee, but you'll miss out on the expertise and advice an agent brings.

A professional seller's agent can help you make more informed decisions and avoid pricey mistakes while helping ensure a smoother, and often faster, selling process. A seller's agent represents the person selling the property and holds allegiance to them, whereas a buyer's agent represents the person who's interested in purchasing a property.

Maybe that's why 83% of sellers choose to list with a real estate agent, according to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report . The report found the top three reasons sellers looked to an agent were: their ability to find interested buyers (85%), their ability to guide sellers through the process of selling (80%), and their handling of contract negotiations (80%).

Tips for choosing an agent

One of the best ways to learn about an agent is to speak with them directly. It's a good idea to interview at least three prospective agents and pick one who'll best represent your interests at every step.

Here are five more suggestions to help you choose the right seller's agent for your needs:

Read client reviews

Search for past client reviews on sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Google. It's not unusual for agents to have a few less-than-stellar reviews. If there's a pattern of negative reviews, that should raise a red flag. You might also approach with caution if an agent has very few or no reviews, which could mean they're brand new or unproven.

Look at geographic coverage

Real estate is local. Higher overall sales volume might mean an agent can help you sell faster, but it's probably best if an agent has closed some sales within your zip code over the past few months. Agents who work a lot in your area know how to value homes. They also likely have a strong network of nearby contractors, inspectors, and appraisers to help you close.

Check past sale prices

Does the agent routinely get the asking price or prices at or above neighborhood averages? Although, it's important to keep in mind that an agent can suggest the list price that'll attract a buyer. Where it goes from there is generally up to the buyer. If the home's priced right, you'll likely get offers.

Consider the agent's marketing efforts

Ask to review a complete copy of the agent's marketing plan for selling your home. When, where, and how will they market your home? At a minimum, their efforts should include multi-list services, common websites, social media, print media (if appropriate), email, and direct mail.

Review terms of listing agreement

The listing agreement can be up to 20 pages long. It outlines your responsibilities, the responsibilities of your agent, your home's initial listing price, and when it'll go live. It'll also include: commission rate, listing length, other costs/fees, cancellation policies, showing policies, and services included.

When you're moving, having the right partners matter. Speak to your CrossCountry Mortgage representative for more information about choosing a real estate agent that's right for you.

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