In a tough housing market, you need all the help you can get. This is especially true lately, as the recession drags on and the housing market looks grim. There are plenty of foreclosures and short sales ripe for the taking right now, but you might need to sell your current home before you dive into the purchase. The best way to do that is with a good real estate agent who understands the market.
How can you spot the good agents? These five tips will help ensure that you are getting your money’s worth.
- They market your house everywhere. A good real estate agent will take your listing and run with it. You will soon be able to find it on all the real estate search listings, see it on local flyers and spot in any local newspaper. You might even see it on places like Craigslist. This makes it clear that your agent is walking the talk when it comes to getting your house noticed.
- They keep you in the loop. Whether you have potential buyers showing up every day or no word from anyone for a few weeks, your real estate agent will keep you in the loop. Good news or bad news, or no news at all and just touching base, you should expect to see your real estate agent’s name on your caller ID with regularity.
- They stand their ground. An agent who agrees with everything you say is someone who might not have the backbone it takes to stand up for you in tough negotiations. Expect your agent to be completely up-front and honest with you about pricing, things that might need to be repaired, home inspections and the like. You want an agent who is not a pushover.
- They let you lead the way. But while your agent might have a strong personality, they also know who’s boss – that’s you! A good agent recognizes that your needs in selling a home are the utmost priority, and they will work to find a happy medium that gives you what you want. Keep in mind that prices might go down, buyers might walk away and you might wind up seeing your house on the market longer than you had hoped; but in the end, a good real estate agent is one that makes sure that you are happy with the final outcome once the house is sold.
- They follow up to make sure you’re happy. The closing date is not the end of your relationship with a good real estate agent. Though they are no longer representing you, they are still in a professional relationship with you, and they should follow up accordingly. Expect to hear from them within a few weeks to ask how things are. Expect to see a card in the mail from them, thanking you for your business. These little gestures keep your professional relationship in good standing and serve as a reminder that when you need to do buy or sell again, you know where to turn.
Keep in mind that in a rough housing market, even the best of agents might not be able to sell your home as quickly as you hope. However, a good agent will advise you on when is the best time to put on the market, what might need to be done to bring the house up to good selling quality, and how to handle the situation if you wind up sitting on the market for a long time. Remember, a good agent wants your home to sell just as much as you want to move!