Find an agent who's more relevant providing what you want. What do you want? Here's the top six services that home sellers want (source: RealTrends and Harris Interactive):
1. You want current sold data presented clearly. Verify information seen online and narrow it down to where it makes precise sense.
2. Pre-Listing packets full of information relative to to the market, the process to sell the house and qualifications of the REALTOR.
3. Results driven pricing and marketing system.
4. Trusty worthiness in the agent who needs to be fully competent and proactive. Someone viewed as helpful in the process.
5. Smooth transactions without surprises / closes on time. Today's market with new lender regulations has caused the average closing time to be longer than it used to be. Moreover, delays are more frequent and must be anticipated. A good agent will be able to advice and if delays do arrise, advise you earlier on in the process in order for you to make adjustments in your moving arrangements. This is more of an issue with home sales contingent on sale closing of other homes, but can happen from time to time in any sale for various reasons. Bottom line though is you want a REALTOR who is full time and on top of things looking out for you all along the way.
6. Communication with the REALTOR on a consistant basis. Return calls promptly and keep all parties informed regularly.
Seller's get to ultimately choose: (a) Price, (b) Condition of the house at listing time, (c) ease / Availability of showing, (d) acceptance of contract decision, (e) REALTOR. They can't do much about the location, but there are incentives to help bring in the buyer and promotional activities to enhance leading to higher probability of sale / selling faster. a & b are huge, however!
The REALTOR then helps the seller find clarity by identification of sources of confusion (expectations or personal situation, what the neighbors are doing with their houses, and what's being provided by appraisals and other agents out there). The clarity is helping the seller with a time schedule that is realistic, probable and based on data. Helping them with understanding their monthly odds of selling depending on market positioning, seeing the listing with "buyer's eyes", that is comparing it with what else is on the market, looking at various possibilities in terms of what could happen with various scenarios and the consequences of choices the seller may make. Finally, a good REALTOR provides good pricing tools and information such as how to get the home set for the best show-ability, having extremely hi quality photos for marketing, and other incentives provided to help sell the home.
Obviously nobody wants to leave money on the table (selling at undermarket), you want to get the most from the REALTOR, because let's face it, selling a home isn't cheap either, and a good REALTOR vs a not so good one, can mean the difference between coming out far out on top, or way behind. Obviously the property needs to sell!
Finally you need a good strong brand. Yes I said "brand". Thank goodness I'm with a market leader Coldwell Banker, a brand powerhouse, so I've never had to really sell the brand. For me, I think among other things, it means that it offers some more levels of reasurement for the client that they are in good hands. Knowing what I know now after almost 8 years in the business, a good solid, large, successful well known brand has a much higher likelihood of being staffed by competent and experienced agents who provide much higher levels of services to their clients. I've seen what can happen first hand when someone tries to cut corners and it's not always pretty. Don't take that chance.