Perhaps you're thinking about selling your home, but you don't want the hassle of doing a "For Sale By Owner" sale, so you begin your search for a good real estate agent. You must consider a few vital factors, whether you've decided to hire a real estate company or an independent real estate agent. Below are a few tips on how to choose the best agent for you and how to negotiate, to get a better fee.
1There Are Only A Few Independent Agents
About three decades ago, a significant percentage of real estate agents worked independently. But today, things are very different since large real estate companies, like RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, and Century 21 now dominate the real estate world; and they continue to absorb agents and make them part of their vast companies. Nowadays, a home seller must first decide if he prefers to use an independent agent or a large real estate company. When mulling over this issue, keep in mind that what's more important is getting the best agent on your side.
It's not a problem if the agent is a member of a franchise or not, as long as he can help you get what you want out of a home sale. Remember that basing your choice on the brand or name alone is poor judgment on your part. Also, franchises do provide excellent service to consumers, and you can even file a complaint to an agent's superior in case you are dissatisfied with his or her services.
2Real Estate Companies Are Quite Similar
The offices of real estate companies generally have a similar look, and they all employ well-trained agents. They possess two factors that are vital in drawing in buyers, and these are name recognition and advertising. If you are moving to another state or any area that's far from where you originated, hiring national real estate chains will be a huge advantage. To illustrate, when you list your home in one city, a representative from the area where you plan to move could already begin looking for a new property for you.
As for an independent agent, there is usually more flexibility when working with one. An independent broker could discuss with you and make decisions about commissions, whereas an agent from a large chain will have to follow protocol and get the approval of his/her superiors before big decisions made. More often than not, independent agents work harder too. Keep in mind that agents whom you can talk to directly tend to attain more success, not only in selling but also in understanding your needs.
3Successful Agents Possess Certain Traits
A good agent is not only someone who can help you sell your home, but he must also work with you through the entire process. He will help you to identify options, listen to your ideas, advertise your home to other brokers, give you current advice on prices, take care of the paperwork, prepare open houses, and also close the sale properly. A reliable agent will exhibit perseverance, honesty, and responsibility, and he won't knowingly take illegal or dishonest shortcuts. You will surely sell your house with an agent who possesses these positive traits. Such agents could be working in respected chain companies.
Remember that you can haggle or openly discuss money-related issues with your agent, such as the commission upon selling the property. Hence, after deciding to sell your house and finding an agent, the next thing for you to do is discuss the commission for the sale and the cost of the listing too. Perhaps you didn't even know that you could negotiate an agent's commission. Many experienced home sellers are not even aware that such issues can be negotiated.
4Agent Fees Are Not Fixed
Most home sellers assume that the fee or commission rate of an agent is already fixed and that they need to pay that specific amount. But that is not exactly true. In real estate, there is no definite "going rate." When you sell your property, you'll discover that every agent you talk to will negotiate the commission, as well as listing terms and conditions. Perhaps the first agent whom you approach may refuse your offer, but he will listen to you first before making that decision.
In case you do meet an agent who is not willing to negotiate, don't disregard him completely; listen to what he has to say because he could be really good at what he does, and the price that he is asking for is commensurate to what he can do. However, before agreeing to list your property with an agent, you must get a feel if he could get you the buyer and the price that you prefer. Today, listing offices charge hefty commissions, from $400 to about 3% of the total value of a single-family house. But the real estate board declares that it's illegal for any agent or company to charge a "flat" high or low rate.
5Buyers Also Pay Agents
Did you know that a listing office typically charges two to three percent from a buyer? As you can see, an agent's commission could be around six percent of a property's total selling price, but it could also be as low as only $400. A large number of sellers assume that all agents get 6%, but the reality is that the national average is around 5%.
Moreover, you can list your property on the MLS (Multiple Listing Services) for a certain flat rate using special discount brokers. The cost will be around $400 or less. If you want an agent to search for buyers actively, you will have to pay an agent around 2% to 3%. Don't expect your agent to work at selling your home if you only paid the MLS fee.
6Hire A Discount Agent
You must understand the amount of work that you need to do if you decide to hire a discount agent. It's similar to selling your home by yourself. In some areas, you may find discount agents who declare that they offer a complete service at a much-reduced cost.
These types of brokers typically charge a set fee, from a few thousand dollars to around 2.5% of the total purchase price. Maybe you think that hiring a discount agent will surely allow you to save a lot. That's okay, but you should know the difference particularly in the services that each offers, between a full and a discount agent.
7Discount Agents Provide Limited Services
You cannot expect a discount agent to offer you the full range of services, much like what a full agent will do for you. It's possible that you won't get any service at all, especially if you opted for the lowest fee which will only pay for the MLS listing and nothing more. The higher the charge, the more services are offered.
Don't automatically assume that an agent will check your property or even show it to a buyer if you only paid the minimum. In general, a commission will depend on the investment which usually pertains to the amount invested by the investors. It also depends on the services provided by a real estate agent.
8Try Working With More Than One Agent
The general rule is this: the higher the investment, the higher the agent's commission; the lower the investment, the lower the agent's commission. Other factors also influence amounts, such as the risk; because, more often than not, the higher the risk, the bigger the return. Perhaps, such is unethical and maybe even illegal. However, theories are different from practice.
Your main goal is to sell, and you could decide to get as many real estate agents as possible. This is where a decent commission comes in because this will encourage any agent, independent or not, to work because he knows that there is an ample reward. On the other hand, no one will prefer a property that is not drawing in buyers.
Because of what you now know, you are more prepared to start your search for a real estate agent who can help you sell your home. Don't forget that discount agents typically offer limited services; so, don't go for one just because it's the cheaper alternative. All in all, if you employ a better agent and sell your property at a higher price, you could make more even if you have to pay a hefty commission.