This blog is inspired by a post from a comment on Jeff Belonger's blog Should we hide our past business experiences in posts., based on comments in a post by Patricia Kennedy on When they say mean things about their first agent
In Jeff's comments Bill Gassett mentioned a post How to interview a Realtor he has written. How we all get inspired to write blogs is another good blog title.
Anyway, whilst there have been many blogs on preparing for a listing presentation, what to include and what advice to give, I thought about how the consumer could prepare for the listing presentation as well, so this is really some suggestions on what to do to prepare for your meeting with your prospective Realtors, not just questions to ask.
There are many ways to select agents to interview to sell your home. Referrals from friends and neighbors, searching the Internet for your local area and seeing what agents have a real presence, showing up more than once on search engines. Select three or four to interview. Don't let any one of them rush you through your process.
Make an initial interview on the phone, when you call what sort of questions does the agent ask you? Are you going to be just another number or are they seriously interested in you and your business? Does the agent provide a pre-listing presentation package for you to review? if you have to leave a message how quickly did they get back to you? When you talk to the prospective agents ask how long their presentation is likely to be so you have an idea of how long you need to schedule for each appointment.
Prepare your home. Make sure you clear up toys and papers, whilst you may want some advice on staging, make every effort to do what you can now before those initial interviews. Why? Because it will show your prospective agents that you are serious about selling your home. Whilst you are interviewing them, they are also interviewing you and seeing if they want to represent your home in a market that is swamped with inventory. Be honest about what you are willing to do and not do to prepare the home for sale with yourself and with your prospective agents. Make a list of what you think needs doing to prepare the home for sale that you have been unable to do before the listing presentation.
There are enough websites, Zillow, Trulia etc that will allow you to do some research on prices, make an effort to educate yourself on what your home is worth. You do not want to just choose the agent who offers you the highest price with the lowest commission. You want to select an agent who is honest, who will tell you the truth when you don't want to hear it, and who can handle confrontation skilfully when required.
The Listing Presentation
You have four appointments set up, please hire a sitter for children, or have them in bed before the appointment, but remember the agents may need to look around your home. Make sure all parties required for signing the listing contract and paperwork are present. Please turn off cell phones during the presentation, this is going to be one of the largest transactions you will make, so please treat it as such. Have some questions prepared ahead of time. If you don't understand something ask questions or for clarification. A good agent wants to make sure you understand what they are going to do, when and why.
Consider that you are going to be working closely with this person, do your personalities match each other or are you going to clash? Do they ask questions or is the presentation all about them and their company? Do they listen to you and to your concerns or brush them away? How do the marketing proposals vary from agent to agent? Why do they do what they do? Why do they charge what they do? What makes them different from other agents in the area? Do they address the market and be honest about what it is going to take to sell your home or do they make unrealistic promises? Is the price they suggest for marketing your home in the right ballpark according to your prior research? How did they arrive at this price?
Making a choice
Well you have now interviewed three or four agents and need to make a choice. Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes all four agents would be good. Did they all answer your concerns? Did they make sure you understood the process as they went along? How were their communication skills? How did they handle negotiating their commission? This will be a good indication of their skill handling negotiations on your home. It is your decision, and there are many parts that make up who the best listing agent will be, some of these you can see above from what I have written about and some may be personal choices as to how you "fit" with an agent. Once you decide be polite and let all of them know your decision and why, this way they can either improve their presentation skills or correct whatever it is that caused them to lose your listing.
Hope this helps you prepare for listing your home and interviewing some agents.