Buying or selling a home is one of the most important events in many people’s lives yet, when choosing a real estate agent to represent them in this important process many people choose to go with a friend or relative, and in some cases, that’s not always the smartest move. Hiring an agent with a better knowledge of your area and a solid record of success selling homes similar to yours can save buyers and sellers a lot of headaches, money, and time. Here are a few tips on how to hire the best real agent for your needs:
Do Your Research. Note who has been selling a lot of homes in your neighborhood either via their yard signs, social media pages, or regular mailings to your home. Then find out if they have an open house and drop in and see how they interact with buyers. Are they knowledgeable about the home they are selling? Are they interacting with buyers? Ask them about the neighborhood and home and other recent sales in the area. If you find a name you like, find out if they work on a team or individually and who you would work with throughout the process.
Ask Questions. Both buyers and sellers should ask agents about the homes they’ve sold in the area recently and what they know about recent sales in the neighborhood.
- Ask each agent how many transactions they’ve closed over the past 12 months. Their answer should be about one per month or more. And it’s best if most of those houses were in your price range and a good majority in your area. Sellers should have them compare the asking price and selling price and the time it took to sell the home. How did negotiations go during the inspection period, etc.? Buyers should find out how successful they’ve been helping buyers get their offer accepted in a multiple offer situation.
- How will agents market your home when selling? How do they attract buyers outside of MLS (Multiple Listing Service)? Look at the quality of the photography or virtual tours used to illustrate their listings and how detailed the listing information is. Ask to see examples of photography, ads, virtual tours of homes they sold in your area. Will they do an open house and will they be present for it?
- Will agents help you stage your home before listing it? Good ones will critique your home, pointing out where or what you need to clean, declutter, repair, and update. Then they or someone they hire will “window-dress” your home for maximum appeal to prospective buyers.
Understand the Contract. Buyer and Seller Representation Agreements in Idaho are rather self-explanatory, but make sure your agent explains certain key dates and facts about the agreement before you sign such as:
- Exclusive Right To Sell and Broker Fees. Typically the seller pays the broker fees to both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. The common (and usually the best) listing arrangement is to give the agent “exclusive right to sell” your home. That means if another agent brings in a buyer, your agent will split the commission with the other agent. This arrangement gets your home the most attention from other agents.
- Commit to a reasonable listing period. The date you sign the Agreement to the date your home officially sells and records is considering the listing period. In Idaho, most homes are selling in under 90 days and most agents will ask for no more than a six month listing period. You can always commit to a shorter period and renew your listing with your agent if more time is needed, but have your agent show you what is a realistic time to sell your home in your area.
- Cancellation Policy. If you decide while under the contract that it’s not the right time to buy or sell or maybe your agent is a nightmare to work with, you will want to know how to cancel your agreement before you sign it. Buyer’s Agreements allow for a very simple cancellation as long as some criteria are met, but in a Seller’s Agreement, this would need to be discussed, possibly negotiated, and written into the Agreement before listing your home.
Ask for references. Look to see reviews on Google, Zillow, and other social media platforms to see how past clients enjoyed working with the agent. You can also ask the agent for references of past clients and contact them to learn more about their experience with the agent throughout the process.
If you’d like to learn more about the real estate market in Boise and the surrounding Treasure Valley contact: Jennifer Louis, Boise Real Estate Expert at (208) 509-9122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.