Hiring a Real Estate Professional
Hiring a real estate professional is a critical element in selling your home. Before you turn over what may be the largest financial asset in your portfolio to a stranger, you will want to do a little research. It has taken a lifetime to create the equity you have in your home, so why not take a few minutes and educate yourself about hiring a real estate professional who will have the authority to market and sell your home?
Questions to ask a real estate agent
- How many years have you been a licensed sales agent?
- How many years have you been licensed in Atlanta, Georgia?
- Are you a member of the Board of Realtors?
EDUCATION is a sign of a real estate professional’s commitment to excellence. Ask your candidate what special designations they hold. Two of the most advanced designations are GRI (Graduate Realtors Institute) and CRS (Certified Residential Specialist). Both of these designations require a candidate to complete hours of coursework and have a certain amount of sales and experience under their belt.
TRACK RECORD: Just like handicapping stocks and horses, track records are important in selecting a real estate professional. If you are listing a home for sale, you will want to find out what you can about how well a candidate has been performing on the market:
- How many homes did you sell last year?
- What was the average sales price of the listings you sold last year?
- What was the average number of days on the market for those listings?
- What was the ratio of list price to actual selling price for listings you sold last year? (Converts the “market ” price given to you by a real estate agent to actual net cash from the sale of your home. Helps you to avoid sales persons who inflate the listing price of your home just to get your listing. Disappointed sellers can often find out much too late what their home is really worth)
MARKETING PLAN: Marketing is more than just sticking a sign in the front yard, putting an ad in the paper, and listing the home in the MLS. If these are the only steps your real estate professional takes to market a home, you will also want to add another step – pray that it sells. Today’s complex housing market is best approached with a systematic marketing plan. Ask your real estate professional if they have a written marketing plan for your home; read the plan and make sure it is followed.
ADVERTISING: An ad in the Sunday paper was the very best advertising available when I first started in the real estate business in the early 80’s. Today, an ad in the paper is just a starting point for advertising your home. To get top dollar for your home you should ask your real estate professional how they integrate the advertising of your home across all media types:
- Do you use print media?
- Do you have a network of relationships among real estate professionals?
- Do you list homes for sale in both the First Multiple Listing Service and the Georgia Multiple Listing Service?
ADVERTISING TO OTHER REALTORS: The most effective form of advertising can be to market properties directly to other real estate professionals. Cooperative sales between real estate brokers account for the vast majority of sales, so many savvy real estate professionals direct their advertising and marketing efforts towards their fellow real estate professionals. You will want to make sure your candidate is one of these savvy professionals.
WEBSITES: All websites, and thus all internet advertising options, are not created equal. Because of the arrangement between the National Association of Realtors and the national internet database Realtor.com, most listings that appear in FMLS and GAMLS will appear on Realtor.com. So, most real estate professionals can tell you – and be honest in doing so – that your home will be advertised on the internet. What real estate professionals do not always make clear is that the exposure of your home on the internet varies widely, dependent on the professional’s individual preferences.
While all of these options are useful for getting the word out, my greatest success has come from a stand-alone website that prominently displays my listings as featured homes, englishteam.com. Information about our website is integrated throughout all forms of our advertising and marketing so that potential buyers immediately know how to find homes listed by the English Team.
REFERENCES: As you would with anyone who might be coming to work for you or work on your home, you will want to check your candidate’s references. Simply ask, “Do you have any past clients I can talk to about your performance as a real estate professional?” If you don’t get an answer to this question, get moving to the next real estate professional on your list of folks to interview.
PERSONALITY: Once you have thoroughly checked out a real estate professional’s credentials, track record, and their plan for selling your home, ask yourself a very important question:
- Am I compatible with this real estate professional?
The two of you will be working very closely together as you market and sell your home. Make sure you don’t commit to a sales person before you determine whether or not the two of you have compatible personalities. A face-to-face interview is about the only way to sort out this kind of credential.