How to Choose a Seller’s Agent

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Contributor, Benzinga
January 27, 2021

Your home is most likely your biggest asset, so making sure you choose the right realtor is essential to get the best price possible for your home. Before listing your property, you need to decide whether or not to hire a professional. Eighty-nine percent of homeowners chose to have a realtor assist them in selling their home, according to the National Association of Realtors

Hiring a realtor will not only help you get the highest price for your home, but it also limits your liability as a seller. Many sellers choose their realtor solely based on a lower commission but hiring the cheapest realtor may actually cost you more money than you save. 

What is a Seller’s Agent?

A seller’s agent, also known as a listing agent, is the realtor responsible for helping you sell your home. Typically, this agent works alongside a buyer’s agent, who is the agent that represents the party buying your home. Some agents specialize as either a seller’s or a buyer’s agent, but most realtors represent both buyers and sellers.  

When you choose a realtor, the agent has different responsibilities based on your listing agreement. You’ll sign an agency agreement with your agent when you decide to have them list your house. These could include any one of these:

  • Exclusive right to sell: This is the most common type of listing agreement. The agent gets a commission upon the sale of your property. Even if the seller’s agent isn’t responsible for finding the home buyer, you are still obligated to pay their commission.
  • Exclusive agency: Exclusive agency is similar to an exclusive right to sell agreement, but the seller isn’t obligated to pay the agent if the seller finds the buyer. 
  • Open listing: This type of agreement allows sellers to work with multiple brokers and allows sellers to also try and sell the home themselves. 
  • Net listing: The agent gets paid anything over the price the owner and agent agree upon. It’s important to note that this type of agency is illegal in some states.

No matter the type of listing agreement you sign with your realtor, your listing agent has the same key responsibilities. The main goal of a seller’s agent is to find a buyer for your home, but the seller’s agent also has other responsibilities, such as negotiating inspections, appraisals and closing terms. 

How to Find a Seller’s Agent

It’s not hard to find a real estate agent, but how do you find the right agent for your home? Before signing a listing agreement with a realtor, follow these steps: 

  • Interview potential listing agents for your home. Not only will interviewing realtors give you an idea of how they will approach your home sale, but it will also give you an idea of how much experience each realtor brings to the table. This is also a good time to negotiate the commission. (Many realtors will cut a half to a full percent off of their commission to secure a listing.) Interviewing several agents gives you leverage to negotiate commission, especially if a realtor you interview offers you a discount. 
  • Do your research. Most experienced realtors have a plethora of online reviews from buyers and sellers who have used them in the past. Brokerage websites, personal websites and Zillow are all good places to find reviews. 
  • Get a referral from a friend. Find an experienced realtor using referrals. If a friend has had a good experience with a realtor, it’s likely you will as well. Don’t blindly take referrals from websites like Zillow because realtors pay these websites for promotions. These referrals don’t always speak to the realtor’s quality of work. 

Should You Choose an Agent Based on Commission?

In most cases, you shouldn’t choose your realtor based solely on commission. A standard commission in real estate is 6%, 3% of which is paid to the buyer’s agent. You’ll end up paying anywhere between 4% to 6% to sell your home. An experienced realtor charging 6% may net you higher proceeds than an inexperienced agent who charges 4%. 

What to Look for in a Listing Agent

So what should you look for in a real estate professional other than his or her commission? You can gauge the effectiveness of your listing agent when marketing your home.

First, find out how much volume your realtor sells. An experienced realtor should have many sales under his belt, but that’s not to say an inexperienced agent is a bad choice. Often, inexperienced agents are more willing to discount their commission, and if they work alongside a team you may get a great value for the price. 

Consider the types of homes a realtor sells and the locations of these properties. A realtor that sells similar properties to your home may have a better idea of how to market your property. Real estate agents that sell homes in the same price range and area as your property likely deal with similar clientele, making it easier for them to find you a buyer. 

Best Seller’s Agents in Your Area

Don’t know where to start your search for a real estate agent? You can start your search below to find experienced realtors that sell homes similar to yours. Create a list of 2 to 4 agents to interview in order to find the best agent for the job. 

Make Your Final Decision

Your decision should reflect your needs as a seller. You may want to close on your property as soon as possible or you may want to find the buyer who’s willing to pay the most for your property. At the end of the day, what you net from the sale of your property is more important than the agent’s commission. Choosing the right seller’s agent is crucial for netting the most cash for your home.