Are you getting ready to sell your DeLand home? Take the time to research your options and choose the real estate agent who has the best track record for listing and selling homes that are comparable to your own.
A Professional Guide to Finding the Most Competent Listing Agent
Sellers are served best when they find a truly competent agent who has the experience, connections, and drive to sell their home for the best price and in a timely manner. All too often homeowners get caught up in finding an agent who promises a huge sales price and a low commission – two factors that are more like empty promises and have nothing to do with an agent’s industry competence.
According to the National Associate of Realtors (NAR), 73% of homeowners in the U.S. hire the first real estate agent they interview. However, chances are slim that the first agent you interview is the best candidate for the job 74% of the time. Taking the time to interview at least three agents allows you to make a more informed decision, and that translates to:
- Better sales experience in your niche
- More well-rounded marketing
- A quicker window between listing and COE
- Higher sales prices
Take the time to contact a few listing agents to find one who is the best fit for your home as well as your personality type.
Here are the criteria you should look for and the questions you’ll want to ask when looking for a DeLand real estate to guide you through the home selling journey.
Active licensure and industry associations
As with any professional, you work with, a real estate agent should hold a current real estate license and proof of experience. The best agents in the business value continuing their education as well as industry specialization, networking, and professional collaboration (see below).
Evidence of continuing education and industry memberships are found on websites, posted in online biographies, and should be asked about during your interviews. Examples include:
- Being a Certified Real Estate Agent or Broker
- Membership with the NAR
- Membership/affiliations with local real estate groups or associations (such as the West Volusia Association of Realtors Circle)
- Evidence of continued education or expertise, like being a designated Seller’s Representative Specialist
- Working in a real estate office with other certified real estate agents/brokers
All of these are proof that a prospective agent is a mover and shaker in their field and that the selling agent is motivated to represent you to the absolute best of their ability. Ultimately, you want a real estate agent who is as dedicated to selling your DeLand home as they would be if they were selling their own home.
Recent home sales: How many sold comps in the past three years?
While an experienced listing agent “can sell anything,” most of us have our market niches. You want to find an agent whose niche reflects your home’s sales bracket. The agent should be able to quickly present you with a report of closed home sales that are comparable (comps) to your home and locale.
Currently, the market is holding relatively steady so reviewing relevant comps provides a realistic forecast of what your home is most likely to sell for. The NAR cites that for recently sold homes (2019 and 2020), the final sales price was a median of 99% of the final listing price. You should be able to expect the same from your agent.
A Comparative Market Analysis
Speaking of comps, your prospective agents should also provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis. This report is run for all comparable homes in your area rather than a list of their personal sales history. This is the list the two of you will use to determine your home’s listing price based on what’s happening in the real estate world around you.
A good agent is an honest agent. If your agent gives you the information you don’t want to hear, pay attention. That’s a good sign. For example, the agent may recommend a slightly lower listing price if certain features in your home are outdated or in obvious need of repair or replacement than higher-priced comps.
Honest and transparent information from an agent is essential. Using the information they provide may change your approach, deciding whether or not performing maintenance ahead of time is worth a higher sales price. Either way, you should trust the agent to always tell you the truth.
Read, Preparing to Sell Your Home: Use This 7-Point Checklist, for an idea of what we consider when pricing a home in relationship to local comps.
The Agent is a Professional Marketer
A good agent knows how to leverage every aspect of real estate marketing to get the most qualified buyers into your home. Take a look and ask how your prospective real estate agents optimize the following “real estate marketing menu” of items:
- Professional collaboration. Odds are at least one of the agents you’re interviewing came by word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful selling tools out there. This is why we mentioned “active collaboration” under the subheading Active Licensure and Industry Associations. Networking with other agents may mean getting the right buyer lined up without the need for other marketing tools. And, as Zillow wisely points out, “Great agents are usually ranked in the top 10 percent of their market, which gives them access to specialized networking groups.”
- Marketing visuals. From online listings and well-placed signage to digital marketing, virtual tour options, and optimized listings in newspapers and relevant online sources, your home should be attractively featured absolutely anywhere buyers in your area find information about homes for sale.
- Open houses. Your home should have at least two open houses allowing prospects to walk through at their leisure. Many buyers prefer to initially visit open houses, rather than scheduling an agent-led tour, because it is a lower-pressure way to assess a home before taking the next step and booking a tour.
- Outstanding communication. The selling agent should make you feel directly connected to the process (unless you state otherwise). This means quick call-backs, regular updates on who has looked at the home, and reports of new sales and market trends in your area.
The best agents use an all-of-the-above approach for each of their clients.
Honor Your Instincts
Hiring a real estate agent means embarking on a partnership. After decades of industry experience, our agents know that solid client partnerships last for a lifetime of real estate sales.
If you’ve done your homework and are interviewing three of the top real estate agents in your area, choose the one you like the most and who you relate to the best. Clients should always feel they have an honest and transparent relationship with an agent with experience and integrity.