There are basically 2 schools of thought when it comes to marketing your home for sale – either enlisting the professional services of a licensed real estate salesperson, or opting to “go it alone,” and market the property yourself.

By selecting the right real estate agent, you’ll rid yourself of a lot of worries, stress, paperwork, and legal hassles, and more. Plus, the exposure your home receives in the effort to be seen by more prospective buyers is greatly increased when using a REALTOR®.

This is especially true if you take the time to find the right REALTOR® for you and your sales goals. How quickly you want to be out of your home, what your financial expectations are from the proceeds of the sale after all loans are satisfied, and how long after the closing will you need to vacate the property are all things to consider.

Here are some more suggestions for finding the right sales agent to help you sell your home.

Not All REALTORS® Are the Same – Not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. To attain that title, an agent must undergo a thorough and comprehensive training regimen through the National Association of REALTORS® before they can be called a REALTOR®.

It may seem like a trivial thing, but when you’re selling your home, you want every advantage you can get. The more education, sales and marketing knowledge they have, the better.

There are also differences in a buyer’s agent and seller’s agent. You should ask if the agent you are considering has been involved in more of their transactions as the representative of the seller or the buyer of the property.

In Florida, a single agent can also act as a dual agent, meaning they have listed the home on the market and have also brought the buyer to the table.

Ask Friends and Neighbors for Recommendations – Sounds pretty basic, but if you know someone who has recently used a specific agent for a home sale, ask them if they were satisfied not only with the agent, but also with the outcome of the transaction overall.

Do Your Due Diligence – Be sure to ask your potential real estate sales professional the following questions:

  • Ask about their expected commission rate, which is the amount you’ll pay for them culminating a successful sale, based on all of the terms in your listing contract. You’ll find that trying to negotiate this rate is generally a waste of time, because the rate is a standard in your local community and the Board of REALTORS®.
  • How long have they been licensed?
  • Can they provide contact details of past clients?
  • How long have they sold properties near you or very similar to yours, and how many?
  • Do they hold any specialty real estate designations that are additional to a real estate license?
  • If they work for a brokerage firm, how many agents are there, and does the agent participate in regular office meetings, new listing caravans, broker open houses, etc.?
  • Ask for specifics on how they will market your home. Usually called a Listing Packet, the agent should provide you with a written package of materials, including the exact advertising methods and media they will use to expose your home to the largest potential market.
  • How do they communicate? If an agent prefers email or text as opposed to a phone call, that will tell you the best way to stay in touch with them. (Pro Tip – if your prospective agent says they’re open to any kind of communication, make sure they live up to it.) If an agent promises that they’ll send weekly updates, call you immediately after any showings of your property or any other commitment to communication, be sure to hold them to it. Nothing can ruin a professional relationship like unreturned phone calls.

Just like in any other profession, performance is critical. A business professional needs to live up to their promises and carry through on what they say they will do.

When it comes to the percentage rate of the agent’s commission, there are some brokerages and agents who market themselves as a “discount broker,” meaning while 95% of the agents in your town may be charging a 6% or 7% commission fee, a discount broker – television is full of ads for companies that promise to sell your home for a 3% commission – be careful.

This can be one good instance of getting what you pay for as far as services of the agent are concerned.

Personality Matters – If you hope to work with your real estate agent in the effort to find a buyer for your home, it’s important to make sure you get along with them on a personal basis. People buy from someone they like, so if your agent is abrupt, rude, non-communicative or has an attitude that you find off-putting, that may be a red flag as to how potential buyers will perceive them, too.

Check Them Out with Regulatory Agencies – You may want to ask your local Board of REALTORS® as to the status of a potential agent, along with the Department of Professional Regulation in your state and to look for any past grievances, reports of impropriety, illegal activity and sanctions, or other things that may indicate the person’s past is not all they claim it is.

The bottom line is a skilled agent with a verifiable track record of selling homes like yours can help you get through the maze of legal requirements and paperwork involved in the process, determine if you have a serious buyer prospect or not, and much more. It’s critically important to find a good agent to buy or sell your SW Florida home. 

The money you pay as a commission for your agent taking your property from for sale to sold can be a good investment, provided you make the right choice.