How to find a real estate agent to sell my home? It’s a common question asked and many home owners turn to the internet to seek answers. So we’ve put together this article to help you, it’s more about you tuning into the things that matter to you most. There is no one size fits all answer. My goal is to give you plenty of ideas and thought’s so you can go and find the best real estate agent for you.
You may be connected to the Realtor that sold you the house many moons ago, friends or relatives may recommend a real estate agent they know or have recently used. You may have been exposed to some print ads or postcards, even faces as you push your cart around the grocery store. But if you have asked the question. “How to find a real estate agent to sell my home” perhaps you are not convinced any of these ways to choose are the best, and you might well be right.
Real Estate Agent Specialists
No matter which field of work a Realtor chooses to work, if he or she works in a niche or two, they likely have more knowledge of the niche and some personal connection.
1. The Geographic Specialist. If there’s one thing real estate here, there and everywhere has in common, it is the Geo location. No matter where your home is, it is geographically located next to a whole bunch of other properties. It may be in a tiny village, mid sized town or massive metro area like Chicago. Your property will be similar to your neighbors not in style but simply by location. You likely know your neighborhood and community well. Perhaps you even have a passion for being there. It stands to reason therefore that picking a Realtor that serves your area is the absolutely best starting point of your search.
2. The Property Type Specialist. Look at your property and ask yourself, is it anything special or do I see it as just a house (town house or condo). You may not think it is different but they all are, some to a greater degree than others. Here are some examples of strong property types in which an agent specialist may be the best choice.
- Horse property specialist.
- Vacant land specialist.
- New construction specialist.
- Condo specialist – especially high-rises.
- Luxury homes.
- Active adult homes.
3. The Situation Specialist. In recent years the pre-foreclosure and short sale specialist were in great demand. Now in 2014 we are moving away from these as property values rise and the unemployment levels drop. There are still plenty of situation specialists to seek out. How about:
- First time home seller specialists.
- Downsizing seller specialists.
- Relocating home sellers.
4. The Non Specialist – The Generalist. So now you’ve got an idea of specialists let’s look at the generalist. They’ll go anywhere, sell any type of home and work for any type of client. Ask your self how a real estate agent that lives in the city 30 miles away, whose never seen a horse, and wants to know where the stairs are would be the right choice to sell your horse ranch on 20 acres.
More Ideas on Who to Consider To Be Your Real Estate Agent
5. The Rookie Realtor. Hey everyone was at that point once in a while, they may not be the best choice for you but consider this. The rookie agent may be under the watchful eye of an experienced broker or he may be in a mentoring program during their first months to a year. She likely won’t have any bad traits or poor reviews following her around that you don’t know about. It’s also likely the enthusiasm level will be really high to help you get your home sold.
6. The Experienced Realtor. With years of transactions under a real estate agents belt, they’ve got a lot of exposure and have experienced many things that can go wrong. This gives them the tools to know how to keep your transaction going and guide it to a successful sale. Everyone passed a test to get a license whatever the level of license, but real estate experience comes only from transactions. Conversely they may have some naughty habits.
7. The High Producer. Oh you’ve seen the ads! The full page magazine ads, the billboards, the postcards. Whether they scream at you about how often they sell a home, or that they are number one**, or have been top producers in their office, the advertising is image based and image based only. The reality is you have no way of establishing if any of the claims are true. And so what? You’ll need to ask a few questions that matter to you and you property because that’s what counts. Question for you to consider. If your agent works all alone and has 50 listings and a similar amount of active buyers, how much contact are you going to get?
8. The Medium Producer. Less likely to be as visible but most likely working at real estate as their main job. Has loads of experience and perhaps a better balanced life to go along with the job. Likely is carrying less listings, 10 to 20 maybe and will have more time for each client.
9. The Low Producer. Should certainly have the time to service you well but find out why they don’t have many listings? Perhaps they are switching over from mostly buyers and eager to get going with listings. Maybe they work a tight area and really specializing. Don’t dismiss this agent out of hand, we all have ups and downs in this business and you don’t want to measure ability in numbers.
10. **The Number One in Your Market. What does that mean? The number one what? We’re all number one at something, get this agent to elaborate and show the proof for the statement. Then decide if that’s right for you.
11. The Licensee, The Sales Agent, The Broker or The Chief Honcho? Each of the United States has it’s own law for real estate and the names can be different.
- The licensee is licensed but not a member of the Realtor Organization. Most of you think we are all Realtors but that’s not so. Many choose not to join any Realtor Organization.
- The sales agent may or may not be a Realtor but is licensed to sell. They are not licensed to run an office.
- The Broker is a different level of license, higher than sales. Depending on each state depends on what they may be able to do. For example in Illinois we no longer have sales agents, everyone had to go higher and get a brokers license. But they are still not able to run an brokerage. In other states they may be able to.
- Managing Broker. Here in Illinois to run a brokerage or office, you must have a Managing Brokers license. You may be running your own or someone else’s but the function is the same.
- The Chief Honcho? That’s like me, a Managing Broker of my own company and I run the office too. I am also an active Realtor selling homes.
12. Single Agent or Team. Simply some of us choose to work on our own and some create and build teams and work together. I believe there are advantages and disadvantages to both. If you want a single point of contact or want to talk only with your agent, a single Real estate agent is likely the best choice. If you feel having a team of people that take charge of parts of your home sale is important to you, maybe the team approach is better. Some say that teams are great because they have proved success. Maybe so but that does NOT mean a single agent is not successful, far from it.
13. Franchise, Big or Little, Independent or Who the Heck Are You? If you are looking for a Brand Name I wonder why you are even reading this. Many sellers think it is the brand name that breeds the success of a home sale. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s the real estate agent that does all the work. The Franchise route means nothing more than lots of offices under one hat. You can choose Gold Agents, Balloon Agents or Dog Agents LOL. I am sure you know what I mean. Consider this though. Most real estate agents at one time or another have worked under the big hats and will tell you it made no difference to them. In fact many successful independent real estate agents have worked for big brand names. We do so well at our own real estate business we fly solo.
Before starting my own company I worked for a local independent company, that lasted about 5 months, then a big name franchise, that lasted about 2 and a half years. I realized I derived zero benefit and went solo in 2008 starting my own company. It’s now perfect for me, all the decisions are mine. I also have far more flexibility.
14. Full Time Agent or Part Time Agent. In the ranks of Realtors this particular subject causes some pretty strong opinions. Full time Realtor’s typically do so as their main income generating job. Part time agents may do so for side money, as a transition between an existing job, or maybe they are a Mom with young kids. It really makes a difference to only one person and that’s you. What do you want from your chosen Realtor? Can the Realtor provide this for you or will other things get in the way. For example do you want to be able to call anytime or be restricted to getting answers after 6pm. You make the choice, not us.
15. Low Commission Model. This is not really a type of real estate agent but you may be looking for a lower level of service or a low rate of commission. There’s nothing wrong with this, just be sure to understand what you’ll be getting but maybe more importantly what you’ll not be getting. I would recommend interviewing both types of model, let’s refer to them as full service and discount service, so you can compare and decide. There are all business types in most market places.
16. Choose a real estate agent by personality type. What do you prefer? Aggressive, passive, humble, a caregiver, a nurturer. There are so many to choose from and it may be difficult to assess a personality type. This is where the interviews come in and we’ll be talking more about that in the next segment.
Let’s Get To The “How To Find a Real Estate Agent”
While this varies a lot from location to location the National Association of Realtors recently issued the number of sellers that choose the agent that they come across first. Amazing to me it’s as high as 66% of you in 2014. I am not sure where that goes on but it certainly isn’t in my neck of the woods. Here in Barrington Illinois, the place I practice real estate, I go for a lot of listing appointments and I know I am competing with others. Perhaps that number is because many sellers do not need to go looking for a real estate agent, they use a previous on or one referred to them. The thing with numbers is we can analyse them to death and in the end it’s just a number.
Given that the title of this post is how to find a real estate agent it’s fair to assume you are all reading this because you don’t have one in your pocket, want to do some research of your own, or need to compare to find the right fit for you. Realtors are not one size fits all. Before we talk about the choosing part, let’s look at the identifying part.
How can you find a real estate agent?
17. Real estate for sale signs. Still used today it’s an easy and quick way to find a Realtor if there are signs in your neighborhood. If you see several signs with the same name it stands to reason they likely work close-by.
18. Local real estate publications. In most states a property being advertised must at least have the name and contact details for the brokerage. Usually a page of homes will be advertised by one brokerage or one agent. Most publications are thinner than they used to be but you’ll be able to find a few companies or agent names to contact.
19. Did you get a postcard. Although not as regularly used, Realtors that want listings in your neighborhood or have sold nearby may have sent you a postcard or a series. If you kept them, you’ve got a name and number.
20. Holiday time magnets. You may be the proud beneficiary of one of these holiday magnets, or a football schedule magnet. If you kept it you only have to walk to your fridge and there it will be. (Unless like me you hate magnets cluttering your fridge!)
21. Open Houses. Again not as common now but in some markets still wildly popular. Visit many and have a quick chat with the Realtor at each open house.
22. The Internet. The What? the Internet! Such a vast amount of information is available on this never ending and ever increasing highway of data; real estate agents are there in abundance. The internet has changed the way real estate business starts. Our advertising in most cases is geared to the WWW. You can use your preferred search engine and start typing for what you want. I cannot guarantee it’ll be easy but the best in marketing are going to be where ever you go. Go back to the start of this article and think about who you want to look for. What niche do you or your property fall into?
23. Large real estate websites. I’ll refer to Realtor.com because it is the most widely known and has been around now for quite some time. It’s a massive site and you can search for a real estate agent by geographic location. Read the resumes to see what clicks with you. There are several others you might choose to use. One thing to consider though is this. Much of the results are being served to you on a platter not because the agents are the best but because they have paid for advertising. They may not be the expert at all.
23. Ask another Realtor! No I don’t mean someone local but if you have moved and used a real estate agent in the new locale to help you buy a new home, they may have some suggestions. They may offer to help you find one. Usually this involves a referral fee being paid to the Realtor, kind of for the work they are doing in vetting someone for you. Still do your own due diligence and never feel pressured to go with their recommendation/s.
24. Resident neighbor Realtor. If you know your neighbors well you may know one of them is a Realtor.
25. Active Rain. There’s a huge volume of talent in this very large real estate network. The best of the best spend time here helping and learning from each other. Look for Realtors with both completed profiles and also that have a blog with content.
26. Social Media. Most of you use at least one online social media platform, many of us use multiple platforms. Each operates in a different way, some are searchable, others are not. Examples are Facebook, Facebook business pages, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and so on. Who knows you may have connections you never realized.
Choose Your Realtor
And there you have it. My first 26 ideas to help you locate a Realtor to sell your home in your location, no matter where you are. ( I may come up with a few more in time or write another article! ) Each of you will have a different agenda and there’s nothing wrong with that. The Realtor pool in your area is likely deep, so you should be able to find the match that’s right for you. Just take the time to get it right first time.
I re-iterate there is no right or wrong about choosing your Realtor, you need to match yourself with what is important to you.