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The All Important Real Estate Agent - Selling Your Home in a Buyer's Market

Jul 21, 2008
You've decided to sell your home. In the current real estate market where there is a veritable glut of listings in many regions of the country, there are some simple things that you, as a seller, can do to enhance the chances your home will sell within a reasonable period of time.

The all important first step is to choose your realtor. The relationship you have with your real estate agent is extremely important since selling a home is often stressful. You need an agent with whom you feel comfortable and able to clearly communicate. You are also wise to select from companies that have experience in your neighborhood. This is easily done by driving around and looking at signs, jotting down agents' names and phone numbers. Someone with a network and an established track record in your neighborhood can offer you insights that a newcomer to the community might not have.

But, a name and face on a sign isn't quite enough. If you can talk with neighbors whose homes are for sale about their experience with their real estate agent, there's nothing better than personal referrals. A good, responsible agent who works hard for his or her clients is appreciated - whether or not a property is selling in a timely manner. Conversely, a difficult, absent or unresponsive agent makes life even more stressful for a seller. Most home sellers are willing to share those bits of information with their neighbors.

Because of the state of the current market and economy, you might also be advised to select an agent and company with lots of experience. Many real estate professionals have experienced conditions similar to today's market - so many foreclosed homes that entry-level properties are selling for more than the asking price. That puts homes that are not in distress conditions at a disadvantage. An agent who has been through a similar market - such as in the early 1990s - may have tactics and innovative suggestions to put your listing at its competitive best.

Finally, you should interview a handful of agents. Invite them to your home; sit down around the table and talk. Ask them about their sales approach, what listings they've sold in your neighborhood, if they have a budget for advertising and how they might market your home. Find out if they use Internet technology to leverage their listings. Engage them in friendly conversation that reveals something about how they might communicate with you and, then, trust your own intuition.

This is a relationship you are building. Between you and your real estate agent there needs to be trust, cooperation, flexibility and very effective communication.

In a seller's market, there is a different dynamic for both the agent and the home owner. This buyer's market that promises to last for months to come is a bit harder on both parties. Consequently, the agent you select to sell your home is probably the most important decision you'll make as you embark on your real estate adventure.
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