I want to sell my house. Does it really matter who I get to list it? Is there a difference in agents? What do all those initials behind some of the agents' names mean? Should I interview more than one?
It matters who lists your house, because that agent is your marketing agent. Ask the agent what she does to ensure your house gets the largest exposure. How many web sites list your house? Since more than 90% of buyers find their house on the internet (a large portion of them before ever calling an agent), you want your house listed on the largest number of web sites possible. Does that person include social media in marketing?
There is definitely a difference in agents. Ask the agent if he is a member of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), the state association, and the local association. Why does that matter?
First, as a member of NAR, that agent is bound by a Code of Ethics and receives training in that subject every two years. For example, one agent who was not a member of NAR told some clients of mine that he only showed his own listings. Had he been a member of NAR, he could have been fined in at least two to three areas for that breach in behavior.
Second, non-members don't have access to listing syndication to a broad number of sites such as realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, etc. One seller who called me said no one could find his property listing. When I asked who had his listing, he named a local broker with no affiliations. He had asked where his listing was being marketed and was told it was on her web site. Who knows to go to her web site?
All those initials behind agents' names represent designations usually issued by NAR, although there are some that are not NAR designations. They ALL mean that the agent received extra education in these areas. For example, SRS means Seller Representative Specialist which includes some courses in marketing and negotiating. Are there good agents without these designations? Of course, there are. Ask questions, and make no assumptions though.
If your first interview produces postive answers and you feel satisfied the agent is going to do a good job for you, one interview may be enough. Comparison never hurts though. Ask family and friends who they recommend and why. It is imperative that the agent you select have a good reputation so that other agents are not reluctant to enter negotiations. There are some who turn on the charm with their clients, but make other agents shudder when their clients want to see one of the listings because they make things so difficult. There are others who have little gimmicks they offer their clients to get the listings, but may short-change the marketing efforts. Do your research or due diligence. Members of NAR cannot ethically refuse to show a listing, but you want them to be happy to show your house.
Finally, if the agent you select never shows your house, but does the marketing and exposure to other agents and the public, she has done her job. Take all her suggestions to improve marketing efforts and showings. Price it per her recommendations. If priced correctly, in good condition, and in a good location, it will sell. It may surprise you how quickly!