If you’re planning to sell your home, you might be wondering how to pick the best possible listing agent to help you navigate the process. That’s especially important in a volatile real estate market such as the one San Francisco property owners are experiencing right now.
Choosing the right San Francisco real estate agent to help you sell your Bay Area home doesn’t have to be a hodgepodge of guessing and gut instincts. Try these three strategies to select an experienced realtor to help list, market, and sell your home.
1. Use Reliable Online Tools
Websites, review sites such as Yelp, and online databases can help you focus your agent search on those individuals with great reputations. Look for independent reviews left by actual clients of the realtor and their firm.
Make sure these reviews have the hallmarks of opinions based on actual experience and observations that are as objective as possible, such as full names, photos, dates, and ranked ratings (for instance, one to five stars or a numerical rating from one to ten). Not every review needs all of these to be reliable but look for as many as you can.
Finally, try to collect several reviews so that you’re not just getting a slanted perspective from one or two dissatisfied clients who didn’t get quite as much money as they thought they should have for their property.
2. Use the Personal Touch
Sometimes the most powerful resource a home seller can have in the great listing agent search is the power of a robust personal network. Ask all your colleagues, coworkers, relatives, and friends who have recently sold their homes for referrals.
Try to elicit more than superlatives or generic descriptions. Ask for specific details of the experience:
- How long was their home on the market?
- Were they happy with how the agent marketed their property?
- Did they have to adjust their asking price? How often and by how much?
- Did the agent help them stage and present their home and property?
Try to frame some questions in an open-ended way to elicit a more authentic reaction. For example, ask “What did you like best about working with this agent?” instead of “Did this agent do _____?”
3. Use Some Detective Skills
One last strategy you can employ is to personally assess an agent’s performance. This is a bit trickier than simply asking or looking up reviews online. You’ll have to take a physical stroll or drive through your neighborhood and any other similar areas in your city. Look for “for sale” signs on the lawn and make a note of the address.
You can then monitor these homes on real estate listing websites. Prioritize tracking homes that are similar to yours in size, style, and age. Make a note of the agent’s name, the asking price history, and the quality of the description of the property and accompanying photos. When the property sells, look at the selling price compared to the initial asking price. Also, note how long it took the home to sell.
If you find an agent that performs well, with high final prices and shortlisting times, take it to the next level. Give them a call and set a time you can both chat and get to know each other. If you get a good sense or vibe from them, that’s the agent for you.