How to Hire a Real Estate Agent
For most Birmingham home sellers, the first question they ask when selling their home is how do I find and hire a real estate agent? There are lots of agents in the area and it can be hard to know which agent or brokerage to work with.
Adding to the challenge is the importance of picking a good agent. Agents help with every phase of the selling process including giving you a list of necessary repairs and upgrades; giving staging suggestions; pricing your home; marketing your home; and negotiating to get the deal closed.
Your agent can have a big impact on how quickly and efficiently your home sells. Plus, your agent will earn a substantial commission off the sale of your home – usually, 6% of the closing costs go to real estate commissions, with the seller’s and buyer’s agents both earning 3%. For example, for a $200,000 home, the seller’s agent usually earns around $6,000. That’s a large fee – you want to hire an agent that adds at least that in value to the selling process.
The first step in finding the right agent is to do some research. Ask for references from friends and neighbors and do some basic research about top-performing agents in your area. From this research, create a list of 3-5 agents that you can interview.
Questions Sellers Should Ask Real Estate Agents
Once you’ve created a shortlist of potential agents, it’s important to interview each one. You want to meet them at your home and ask some key questions about their experience and their strategy for getting your home sold. Here are a few questions you should include:
- How many houses have you sold this year? According to recent data, the average for agents is 12 homes per year. If the agent has sold substantially less, ask questions about why – are they only doing real estate part-time? Do they primarily work with buyers? Do they have homes sitting on the market? Asking this question will help you to understand the agent’s business and whether it’s a good fit for your needs.
- How many clients are you working with right now? There’s no “right” number here, but this is an important question to ask. You want to make sure that your agent has the availability to give your home the attention it needs. Rather than asking whether the agent has the necessary time, get some specifics so you can evaluate whether you’ll get the personal attention you want.
- Have you sold homes in this area recently? Real estate is local. Prices and buyers’ expectations can vary greatly from one area of Birmingham to another. Because of this, you want an agent that works in your neighborhood and has gotten results in the neighborhood. Ask for specifics on this question to ensure that the agent really understands your area.
- Will I work with you or your team? Some of the highest-performing agents have a team that handles lots of their work. While this isn’t always bad, you want to have clear expectations from the outset of who you’ll be working with. Ask who will primarily handle the sale of the home, who your point of contact will be, who will handle negotiations, and who will manage open houses or showings.
- How does your commission work? From the outset, you want to be clear about what the agent’s commission rate is and how fees will be paid.
- How would you price this home and what are you basing that price on? This is a key question. You want to get at least a range of how each agent would price your home and understand their process for arriving at that number. You want an agent that is using data, research, and comparable home sales to come up with a target price for your home.
- What’s your marketing strategy? Ask each agent to give you their plan for getting your home sold. You want to hear specifics of what they’ll do so you can compare different strategies.
- Who pays for marketing costs? Once you hear the agent’s strategy for selling your Birmingham home, it’s important to ask about who handles the costs associated with marketing. For example, who pays for professional photos, marketing materials, and any staging recommended? Every agent handles these things differently, and you don’t want to be surprised by unexpected costs while your home is on the market.
Want to Sell Your Home Without an Agent?
If you don’t want to spend the time and money to find and hire a real estate agent, there are other options. While we don’t recommend listing your home without an agent, you can sell directly to a cash buyer without working with an agent.
When you do this, you skip the listing process entirely. Instead, you work directly with a cash buyer to sell your home as-is. It’s a quick and easy process that lets sellers avoid the time and expense that it takes to list and close on their homes.
To learn more about selling your Birmingham home for cash, contact Home Buyers Birmingham today. We’ll give you a cash offer within 24 hours of seeing your home and can close in as few as 7 days after that. Contact us online or call at (205) 687-0604 to get your cash offer.
Home Buyers Birmingham is not a licensed real estate agent & makes no claims to be an agent
Home Buyers Birmingham
1821 11th Avenue South Suite #55331
Birmingham, Alabama 35205