5 Tips to Selecting The “Right” Real Estate Agent To Sell Your Home

Kyle Hiscock

Kyle Hiscock | Greater Rochester NY Real Estate | Pittsford NY Realtor at RE/MAX Realty Group

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5 Tips to Selecting the "Right" Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

5 Tips to Selecting the “Right” Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

Finding a real estate agent to sell your home is easy!  Finding the “right” real estate agent who will sell your home isn’t!  In most real estate associations or boards there are hundreds or even thousands of real estate agents.  In fact, the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors there are about 3,000 active real estate professionals.

So, how do you pick the “right” real estate agent who will sell your home?  There are common pitfalls that sellers are victim to when selecting a real estate agent to sell their home.  When selecting a real estate agent to sell your home, do your homework!

Here are 5 tips to selecting the “right” real estate agent who will sell your home!

Interview, Interview, Interview
Like any employer who interviews potential candidates for positions within their company, a seller should interview real estate agent(s).  There are many questions that a seller should ask any potential listing agent.  There are questions that are more common than others, and here are a couple to consider:

  • How long have you been in real estate?  Is it your full-time job?

Real estate agents who have many years in the business should have experience handling different situations.  Certainly there are many “new” agents who succeed in the business and exceed “veteran” agents production, so don’t only rely on the number of years.  Real estate is a profession that truly needs a persons full attention, time, and effort.  A full-time real estate agent who “feeds their family” working as a real estate professional, has a much better chance of getting the job done and selling your home!

  • What types of marketing techniques and strategies will you use to sell my home?
    The right real estate agent with the right marketing plan can make the difference in whether your home sells or not!  “Traditional” means of marketing are still very prevalent in selling real estate.  Whether it’s sending direct mailings or advertising in the local paper, make sure the real estate agent you’re interviewing is planning on utilizing these techniques.  In today’s real estate industry, the internet is playing a larger role than ever.  Most buyers are beginning their home search on the internet.  A recent study by the National Association of Realtors indicated that 90% of home buyers are beginning their home search online!

You need to find out where online the real estate agent is going to market your home.  Does the real estate agent have their own website?  Does their broker have a good website?  Does the real estate agent utilize social media in their marketing of their homes for sale?

It’s common that a homeowner has a friend or family member who is a real estate agent.  A seller could be making a poor “business” decision by not interviewing that friend or family member.  Bottom line, get creative and think outside the box when interviewing real estate agents.  Think about what’s important to you!  If it’s communication, ask how they communicate.  If it’s listing price to sale price, ask what their “ratio” is.  Ask the difficult questions, you’ll be glad you did.

We typically like to be first interviewed.  This gives us the opportunity to “load the sellers gun” with things they should be asking other real estate agents and/or expecting from them.


Past client testimonials and contact information can be a great way to find out about a real estate agent and the service they provide.

Ask the prospective real estate agent(s) for testimonials and/or contact information of past clients.  A good real estate agent should have dozens of past clients who would be willing to discuss their experience of selling their home.  If the real estate agent isn’t able to provide them, it maybe a good idea to reconsider hiring them.  This is a good opportunity to find out if the things discussed during an interview were carried out with their past clients.  Finding out how the real estate agent’s communication was.  Did they follow through on the marketing that was discussed?  What was their work ethic like?  It’s also a great opportunity to find out if there were things that could have been better.

An example of what a real estate agent should be able to provide to a potential seller.  Here is a portion of the Nothnagle Realtors 2013 Annual Report.

An example of what a real estate agent should be able to provide to a potential seller. Here is a portion of the Nothnagle Realtors 2013 Annual Report.

We’ve said before not all real estate agents are created equal and the same applies for real estate companies (brokers).  Not all real estate brokers are created equal!  Researching the real estate agents broker is very important.  What tools does the broker provide the real estate agent with to be successful?  What type of administrative support does the company provide to the real estate agent?  What is the brokers reputation in the local area?  Is the brokers website user friendly?  What type of website traffic does the brokers website receive?  What is the market share in the local area in comparison with competing real estate brokers?  Ask the real estate agent for information about their broker.  They should gladly provide it, providing they are proud of the broker they work for.

Listing Price
Most homeowners who sell their home have a desired sale price that they would like to get for their home.  Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible for this to be achieved.  There are many real estate agents out there who are “YES” men or women.  These real estate agents will list a home for sale for any price, high or low.  Hiring a “YES” real estate professional, like not interviewing a family member or friend who sells real estate, could be a poor “business” decision by a seller.  This often leads to the house not selling which can cost valuable time and can be very frustrating.

Make sure that the real estate agent can support and provide detailed information about how they determined their suggested list price.  Think about how the agent(s) market analysis was?  Was it easy to understand?  Professional looking?  Detailed?  If they don’t have any supporting comparable properties and/or a professional and detailed market analysis and agree to list your home at your desired price, then likely they are a “YES” man or woman.

A good real estate agent should turn away a listing where the seller thinks that the value of their home is much more than the market is bearing at that present time.

Commissions & “Incentives”
There are many real estate agents who offer commission “deals” and other “incentives” if you list your home with them.  When selling your home don’t think about the amount of commission (brokerage fee) that will be paid to the real estate agent(s).

  • “Cutting Commission” – If an agent offers or agrees to sell your home at a discounted commission rate of 5% (6% is the “normal” percentage in our area, however, commissions are always negotiable) this should be seen as more of a red flag than a savings to you.  Think about it, if at your job you make $20.00 per hour and your supervisor approaches you to tell you that for the next month you will be making $15.00 per hour, how hard are you going to be working?  Will an agent who “cuts their commission” still spend their money to promote your home with postcards or ads in the real estate section?  On TV?  How hard will they negotiate for you when getting that offer?
  • “Flat Fee Listings” – There are real estate companies who will list your home for sale for a flat fee.  In all likelihood, all they will do is list your home in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  IF the agent (and not an administrative staff member) enters their own listings into the MLS, this may take them about 15-20 minutes to complete.  You now handle all the appointment coordination, printing the marketing materials, negotiating the transaction, and more.  So, if you payed $500.00 or even $1,000 to have your listing in the MLS for 6 months and it doesn’t sell, you now have spent that money for nothing.
  • Be cautious and review any "terms and conditions" if a real estate agent guarantee to sell your home or they'll buy it!

    Be cautious and review any “terms and conditions” if a real estate agent guarantee to sell your home or they’ll buy it!

    “Guarantees” – Real estate agents will offer homeowners who list their home various “guarantees” or “incentives.”

    “Guaranteed to sell or I’ll buy it!”  

    “If your home doesn’t sell, we’ll buy your home CASH for an acceptable price to YOU!”  

    These are just a couple examples of guarantees that are used.  The main purpose of these guarantees is to get these agents in your front door.  Then you’re presented with the “fine print” or “terms and conditions” of these guarantees.  These agents will “buy it” IF you agree to reducing the price every two weeks.  These agents will “buy it” IF you have it listed at a specific price for 30 days of the listing agreement.  Do you think these prices they want your home listed for would be fair market value?  Didn’t think so!

Selecting the “right” real estate agent to sell your home is not an easy task, however, following the above tips can certainly ease the process!

What other “tips” do you think are helpful for a homeowner when selecting the “right” real estate agent to sell their home?

If you’re considering selling your home in Rochester NY, please contact us for a sincere, honest, and a no-obligation discussion regarding your real estate needs.  We’d love the opportunity to interview for the job of selling your home in Rochester NY, Irondequoit NY, Webster NY, Penfield NY or the surrounding areas!

More Resources For Homeowners Selling Their Home


About the authors:  The above information was provided by the Keith Hiscock Sold Team (Keith & Kyle Hiscock).  With almost 30 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.

We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.

Visit our website at www.HiscockHomes.com.

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