A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about how to determine if you’re ready to sell your house. If, after contemplating all the pros and cons, you decide that you are ready to sell your Dana Point home, then its time to start the adventure! Over the next few weeks I’ll be discussing the major steps in selling your home. If you have questions about any part of the home selling process, feel free to ask in the comments below or call me at 949-690-5159.
The first step in selling your home is finding a real estate agent who specializes in your community. Ask neighbors and friends who live in the area for recommendations. Check your doorstep and mailbox for direct mail pieces. Many agents who specialize in geographical areas, known as farms, will regularly send direct mail to that area. Drive through your neighborhood and make note of what real estate agents are holding open houses. And of course, you can always search online. Realtor.com allows you to search for agents by name or by area serve. You can also connect to Facebook, through Realtor.com, and see which real estate agents your Facebook friends know and recommend.
Once you’ve got a list of potential real estate agents, its time to start interviewing. Set up listing appointments with each one and ask the following questions:
- Are you full time? Full time agents are able to dedicated the necessary time and resources to effectively market and sell your house. Most part time agents can’t. As a full time agent myself, I know first hand that exceeding expectations takes time!
- Can you explain your marketing strategies? The answer to this will vary between agents and you may have preferences for one strategy over the other. But make sure their strategies include online marketing and make sure they are able to show your house off to a wide audience. Sales Associates with First Team Real Estate have an extensive online network and they are able to post listings not only on their own websites, but also on FirstTeam.com which is the #1 local real estate website in Orange County. First Team Realtors are also able to post to sites like Zillow, Trulia, Facebook, Yahoo Real Estate and YouTube. First Team agents also have extensive offline relationships that allow them to advertise the house to thousands of people. You should also ask if your agent will host open houses, if she will print property flyers and other printed pieces in full color and on quality paper, and if she uses direct mail and social media.
- How many homes have you listed and sold? How many homes have you sold is especially important. If you have two agents, one who has listed 20 homes and sold 10, and one who has listed 10 homes and sold 9, you’re going to want to go with the second one. That agent’s percentage of listed to sold is much higher which means she knows exactly what it takes to sell houses.
- How and what will you communicate with me? Again, this answer will vary and the best one will be a matter of personal preference. Pick an agent who will communicate in a way that you like. For example, if you prefer to talk on the phone, you won’t want to choose an agent who communicates primarily through email. You also want to choose an agent who will communicate frequently and keep you informed during every step of the process, as well as an agent who is readily available to answer your questions. A great agent will actually turn this question around and ask “how do you want to be communicated with?” I’m comfortable communicating in a variety of ways, so I always ask my clients which way they prefer and that’s the way we talk.
- What do you charge for commission? An agent with a low commission probably has a low marketing budget and won’t be able to give your home as much exposure as it needs. Remember the old adage “you get what you pay for.” If you feel the commission matches the work that the real estate agent is willing to put into selling your house, then agree to pay it.
Once you’ve interviewed Orange County real estate agents and chosen the one that is a right fit for you, it’s time to prepare the house and start marketing! We’ll discuss those in the upcoming weeks. If you have any questions about choosing a real estate agent, feel free to leave them in the comments below. If you’d like to discuss the various ways I can market and sell your Dana Point home, call me at 949-690-5159.