Buying a San Joaquin Valley home from one of our sales agents is relatively painless. Just specify a few options and sign some papers, and the home is yours, pending suitable financing. But to buy one of our homes, you’ll typically have to sell your older home, which is not so straightforward and requires the services of a real estate agent. The following tips can help you find the right one.
Interview multiple agents.
Don’t just pick the first agent who leaves a flier at your door. Interview several agents. Ask family and friends for recommendations. Do an online search for houses for sale that are similar to yours, and look at the agents attached to those homes.
Beyond the questions about experience and skill detailed below, you want to get a feel for the people. Are they friendly and professional? Do they communicate in a way that provides answers to your questions? Do they ask questions and listen, or do they just talk? The bottom line is do you feel comfortable entrusting your home to them.
Check the background.
Don’t accept the word of agents about their experience and licensing. You want agents who have been working for at least five years. Otherwise, they will be practicing their job on you. Look them up on the California Bureau of Real Estate. In particular, look for any disciplinary actions taken against the agent.
Look for credentials like Certified Residential Specialist, which shows the agent has taken classes to improve his or her skills. Search for mentions of the agent on the Internet. Awards such as “Realtor of the Year” by a national organization, such as the National Association of Realtors, carry weight.
Ask for a list of clients.
Ask for the contact information of clients that the agent has worked with in the past year. Look for those who have properties similar to yours in location, features, and price. Ask which clients were particularly easy to work with and which ones were difficult. Then call those people and ask them what the agent was like to work with, what was the process of selling, and how long their homes were on the market.
Ask how much your house is worth.
Beware of agents who give you a price that seems too high for your neighborhood. They may be exaggerating the bid to earn your business. Look for a common range of values from several agents to find out what your home will sell for. Compare them to the prices of homes like yours that have recently sold or to the Zillow estimate for your home.
Ask how they plan to market your home.
You want answers beyond putting an ad on their website, putting it in the Multiple Listing Service, and holding open houses. Look for agents who offer multiple options for sales, such as by staging the home, creating virtual walk-throughs, issuing tweets, putting out fliers and newspaper ads, or even shooting live video during the open house. More marketing techniques increase the chances of selling your home.
Good agents have expectations of their clients. At the very least, they may ask you to leave the home during open houses, keep pets with friends during the sales period so the houses lose that pet smell, or stage the interiors to look more spacious. These suggestions show that the agents can think like modern buyers and appeal to them.
You want an agent who can sell your home in the shortest period of time and for the highest price. If you want more information on finding good agents for your property or want to tour one of our developments, please contact us.