It's been said that the only real estate transaction that is more confusing for the first-timer than buying a home is selling one. While some folks are determined to do it themselves, the complexity of the process makes most of them give up and hire an agent. Now, not all real estate agents are equal. The bar for entry into the world of real estate sales is quite low, so you'll find brand new agents, part-time agents, and, like me, veterans, Since your home may be your largest investment, choose your real estate agent carefully. In fact, do yourself a favor and interview two or three so that you can compare what each offers. You will pay the same commission for the novice or the part-timer as you will the pro, so ask the right questions in the interview.
While hiring a brand new real estate agent isn't necessarily disastrous to your bottom line, it isn't wise. Remember, your home is an investment and like all investments you need advice borne from experience if you hope to sell it for the most amount of money the market will bear. So question number one - even before you invite anyone to interview for the job of selling your house in Madison - is how much experience the agent has.
Once you're face-to-face with a real estate listing agent, ask how he or she will market your home. An agent that can clearly explain his or her marketing plan is one to consider. But - it's the meat of the plan you should pay attention to. What you don't need is a "list and pray" strategy where the agent pounds a sign into the front yard, slaps a lockbox on the door and prays that another real estate agent will bring in a buyer. Look for a proactive agent with a healthy marketing budget. Marketing and advertising a home is expensive and a part-time or new agent may lack the funds to get the job done. This is even more important when choosing a Madison real estate agent to help you sell a high-end home.
Ask the agent if the marketing plan includes the services of a professional photographer, drone photography, and full-motion video tours. Find out just where online your home will be featured. Does the agent promote her listings to her non-real estate network of contacts? You never know when a friend of a friend is looking for a house just like yours.
Just as you would when hiring anyone else, ask the agent for the name and phone number of her last five listing clients and then call those people. Ask these folks if they would consider using the agent again, if there was anything that went wrong during the sale of their home and how the agent dealt with it. How easy is the person to work with? How quickly does she return your calls or emails?
Then, check the agent's website for testimonials from former clients. Successful real estate agents will have plenty of reviews from past clients. Then, check the reviews on other sites, such as Google+, Zillow, Facebook and Trulia.
Selling a home in Madison is a complicated process but with the right agent by your side it will seem far less confusing and it will be far more successful.