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Choosing an Agent to List (and Sell) Your Home

If you're interviewing a listing agent at your home, pay attention to how he or she reacts as you talk about your home. Choose someone you feel comfortable with. Someone who genuinely believes in your home as much (or more) than you do. Someone who sees its potential and will work hard to represent it.

And, someone who has an innovative marketing plan that will make sure that all potential buyers are exposed to your home.

Real Living Sales Professionals have the skills and resources to sell your home. So, when you're choosing one of our Sales Professionals, all you need to do is find the one that fits your personality and preferences.

Here are a few questions to get you started:

If I list my house with a Real Living Sales Professional, can the same person represent me in the purchase of my next home?
Most likely, the answer will be “yes.” Ask the agent to explain the agency concept and how it works in your state. The agent who lists your home can usually become your buying agent, too. Just be sure to ask what limitations, if any, your agent's representation will have.

If you're my agent, what happens when you're not available?
Find out how each agent handles the time they are not available. Do they use an assistant? Do they have a partner? Whom should you call and when? Can you reach the agent by cell, text, or e-mail? Find out what the contingencies are for all what-if scenarios. Make sure to partner with an agent who will ensure that your needs can be met – all of the time.

When did you last sell your own residence?
What did you like and dislike about that experience?
Experience is a great teacher. Selling a home is an emotional experience, and empathy is one of the most powerful emotions. Does your agent understand firsthand what it's like to sell a home? Can he or she provide some lessons learned to help in your experience?

What advice would you give me to prepare my home for sale?
Some agents will suggest that you neutralize your décor, while others may feel they know just the right buyer for your intense (or subdued, as the case may be) color scheme. Should you tear out old carpeting? What about major repairs? Be sure to choose an agent who can analyze your home's strengths and weaknesses – and who can help you know how to accentuate its best features when preparing to sell.

What would you tell a buyer who's considering my home?
Real estate agents should be skilled in discerning the positive features and benefits of any home. Is your home especially appealing because of its floor plan? Because of its location in a great neighborhood? Or because of a unique kitchen or master suite? Be sure you're comfortable with how your Sales Professional plans to represent your home – and that he or she can accurately describe and promote your home's best attributes.

What's your personal philosophy of what really sells a home?
Is it direct mail marketing, Internet exposure, promotion to other real estate agents or something else?
Your Real Living Sales Professional will build a marketing plan based on the answers to this question, and your specific property. Make sure you understand and agree with his or her perspective.

How will you or your company protect me from the general public in the areas of safety, convenience and eliminating unnecessary showings?
Your Real Living Sales Professional will work with you to make you feel comfortable and safe – and in a way that makes the selling process as convenient as possible. Discuss whether you would like potential buyers to be screened prior to scheduling showings, and whether you'd like your address to be kept private in marketing efforts. Have this discussion in advance to make sure your agent's philosophies are in line with your preferences.

What sold the last three properties you listed?
Because the answer to this question can differ by market and by home, what's more important than the actual answer is that your Sales Professional is able to explain in simple, direct terms which factors contributed to his or her recent sales. If he or she hasn't already addressed it, ask what strengths they see in your home that will help it sell.

What advice would you give to a buyer who's considering my home?
You won't likely be present when your Sales Professional talks to potential buyers, so make sure you feel comfortable with how he or she talks about your home – whether the emphasis is on getting the best offer or selling the house quickly.