Vail Daily column: Realtor selection is key in home sale | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Realtor selection is key in home sale

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when setting out to sell their home is making a poor real estate agent selection. Making a wrong choice can be a big problem because you are stuck with an agent for several months.

Unfortunately, the barriers to entry in the real estate industry are very low. Anyone can become a real estate agent fairly quickly. The educational requirements are still minimal and passing the test to get your license can be completed in a couple of months. One of the best ways to compensate for this is by hiring an experienced real estate agent who has shown strong results.

Hire a Professional

Often people choose a real estate agent based on a personal connection to a particular agent or they pick a real estate agent based solely on the fact that the agent has told them what they want to hear. In other words, the real estate agent has misled them about the value of their home. The real estate agent inflates the value of the property and the seller believes it. This is one of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make. In real estate circles this in known as "buying a listing." Everyone wants to believe their home is worth more money due to emotional attachment or seeing only list prices of other homes that have not sold.

The competitive nature of the business makes some agents say and do things they shouldn't. If they can get a seller to believe them, then it's new-found business. In many cases, this produces a drawn-out timeline and ultimately, a lower sales price.

Choosing Based on Commission

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Another factor that guides many sellers thought process is what the real estate agent is charging for a commission. People can get short sighted with this one. Many mistakenly believe that a lower fee charged is money in their pocket. In most cases, that is the wrong thinking. A great agent can easily make up a commission savings charged on paper with their skill level, marketing expertise, strong negotiating skills and overall real estate knowledge.

The old saying, "you get what you pay for" applies here. A top-notch agent charges a higher fee as they spend a lot more on the marketing process to give your home proper exposure, thus gaining higher visibility therefore netting a quicker sale at a higher price. All real estate agents are not created equal. You see, an excellent real estate agent doesn't need to do these things to win business. A true professional goes the extra mile in everything they do. They have a passion for their work and it shows in the results.

When considering a real estate agent, make sure they have extensive experience in the area where your home is located. They will know many of the nuances of the neighborhood and often may have access to a future buyer or at least other real estate agents who might. Ask them to show you real, hard facts about your neighborhood, including specific knowledge of the area but definitely recent sales success in your neighborhood. After all, aren't you looking to sell your home in the least amount of time for the most money?

Having measurable results in your neighborhood should be the single biggest factor in your decision to hire a real estate agent. Choosing your real estate agent based on friendships or likability usually ends in disappointment and a lower sales price, if it sells at all. The best real estate agents can produce a list of recent sales rankings relative to their competitors. They should be able to price your home correctly and sell your home, not simply list it. Days on market can devalue your home in the eyes of buyers, so proper pricing is critical.

Marketing Your Home

Marketing is the public face of your home. Make sure your real estate agent can produce top-notch photography, 3-D property tours and videos to showcase your home in the best light. Some companies and real estate agents are better suited to list properties so be sure to ask. A strong real estate agent should have a balanced ratio of buyer to sellers, so ask. A top buyer's agent may not be a good listing agent.

Poor Real estate agent, poor results

In summary, making a poor decision with one of your most valuable assets can cost you a lot of time and money. Remember, the best real estate agents are the easiest to find with a little bit of research and fact-checking.

Tye Stockton is global real estate advisor for The Stockton Group and LIV Sotheby's International Realty.

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