Choosing a Real Estate Agent
Choosing the right real estate agent is an important decision which can dramatically impact your selling or purchasing experience. The following is a partial list of factors you should consider in selecting the right real estate broker.
Commission - in general, a broker should not charge more than 5% of the sales price.
Comparable Sales - ask the agent to provide you with a list of other properties with similar characteristics which recently sold in your area.
Familiarity with your Neighborhood - make sure you choose an agent who is very knowledgeable about your specific neighborhood. Ask the real estate agent if they've sold any properties on or near your street or if they've shown properties in your neighborhood that have recently sold. Providing you with a computer printout of comparable sales is helpful, but the more experienced and knowledgeable agents will tell you about properties they've recently viewed or sold in your area and how those properties compare to your property.
Multiple Listing Service - Although most of Fairfield County is covered by one consolidated multiple listing service, some towns such as Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan have their own multiple listing services. Make sure the real estate agent is a member of the multiple listing service(s) necessary to properly list your property.
Depending on the location of your property, you may want to choose a realtor who is a member of more than one multiple listing service. For example, if your property is in Rowayton, you may want to choose a realtor who can list the property in both the Darien and the consolidated multiple listings, which includes Norwalk.
Advertising - Find out where and how often the property will be advertised. Will the property be listed in the newspaper, other publications and the real estate agent's website. If the property is near the metro-north railroad, find out if the broker advertises in the New York Times, as well as the local newspaper.
Open Houses - Find out if the real estate agent will be scheduling open houses. Some brokers will schedule an open house for other real estate agents within a week of accepting your listing. If your property does not sell right away, additional open houses for real estate agents should be scheduled. In addition, ask about sponsoring an open house for the public on a Sunday afternoon. Although these open houses are usually not the most effective marketing tool, they can help sell your home.
Preparing Your Property for Sale - Does the realtor have good suggestions about how to make your property more appealing to potential purchasers?
Find a real estate agent who listens to you and understands your priorities.
Find an agent who is free when you need them. If the only time you can view properties is Sunday morning, make sure you find an agent who does not mind meeting you regularly on Sunday mornings until you find a property.
Choose an agent who points out the negatives, as well as the positives, of each property. There are many possible problems with a house, the property or location which may not be obvious to a potential buyer. Make sure your agent informs you of these negatives.
If you are looking in different towns, consider using more than one agent. The agent you are thrilled with in one town may not be as knowledgeable about properties in other towns.
Find an agent who keeps you informed of new listings. Once your agent understands what you are looking for in a home, he/she should contact you as soon as new listings come on the market. In this market, sellers who properly price their homes receive offers during the first week the home is listed. Make sure your real estate agent has you in mind when new listings hit the market so that you do not miss these opportunities.
Click here, for a list of real estate agents who I have worked with in the past and who possess the qualities outlined above.
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