Selling Your Home Series – Part 4 – Tips for Using a Real Estate Agent

by JS 


The traditional way to buy or sell a home is with an agent. The agent is there to facilitate the process and to offer advice if needed. They make suggestions but it is the seller who has the ultimate say in how the selling plan is to be carried out.

Hiring a Listing Agent

Choosing the agent to represent you is the first step in a long process that will ultimately result in a buyer for your home. It goes without saying that just any listing agent won’t do. Research the agents in your area and get advice from friends or coworkers who have sold a home or other property in the past.

The last thing you need is a bad agent. How can you avoid that? Look at what they have done and not what they say. There are agents who will sell you the moon if you let them. The question you have to ask is: Are they telling the truth? All that flash could be hiding the fact that they haven’t sold a home in two years.

A good agent is experienced. They have sold houses in many price ranges and have done so without the home staying on the market for very long. These people are accredited by real estate organizations and are members of local and national associations for real estate agents.

Talk to a few agents. It is hard to judge their true character from a resume only. How do they communicate? Is their manner open and honest or closed? It is alright to tell them a little bit about your situation and ask for suggestions for marketing. A good agent will use their expertise to offer tips off the top of their head.

Getting the Home Ready

An agent can provide a checklist of what needs to be done to consider your home ready for sale. The obvious things are to clean up from top to bottom and remove any unnecessary items. We all have clutter but buyers don’t like to see it.

Don’t forget curb appeal. The outside of the home should look as great as the inside. Staging is one option for beautification after you have cleaned, mopped, dusted, and vacuumed. Stagers are professional artisans who bring out the worth of a home. Their work includes dressing the outdoor areas also. Your agent can suggest stagers in your price range to assist in getting the house ready.

Staging involves small or large changes in the appearance of the house to draw the attention of buyers to certain features. It could be as simple as adding throw pillow to the couch or mirrors on the walls. They will try to accentuate the positive using the furniture and accessories in the home. Sometimes sellers opt to use the extensive inventory available to the stager which includes: pillows, flowers, plants, rugs, loveseats, mirrors, and baskets.

Certain inspections may be required for your area. It is a good idea to have a home inspector do a preliminary inspection of your home. Agents advise on how to prepare for the home inspection so it is as painless as possible. Remember that all repairs don’t have to be completed but any structural damage should be fixed as soon as possible.


Let the agent take the lead on this one. Their extensive experience with marketing strategies will benefit you. An agent who is competent and worth their salt, will have all bases covered. A marketing plan needs to include:

  • Newspaper ads
  • MLS listing exposure
  • Flyers
  • Direct mailing
  • A minimum of two open houses
  • Signage in the yard
  • Internet marketing
  • A virtual tour

You can suggest inclusion on a local real estate show and real estate magazines. Depending on the market, this could be a plus or a poor use of time and money. Stay in the loop on all decisions. It is okay to let the agent do what they think is best as long as you are involved in the final decisions.

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