How should I select a REALTOR®
when selling my home?
Once you've decide to sell your home, finding
a REALTOR® is the next step in the process.
In making this important decision you should understand:
is a REALTOR®?
As a prerequisite to selling real estate, a person
must be licensed by the state in which they work,
either as an agent/salesperson or as a broker.
Before a license is issued, minimum standards
for education, examinations and experience, which
are determined on a state by state basis, must
be met. After receiving a real estate license,
most agents go on to join their local board or
association of REALTORS® and the NATIONAL
ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, the world's largest
professional trade association. They can then
call themselves REALTORS®. The term "REALTOR®"
is a registered collective membership mark that
identifies a real estate professional who is a
member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics (which
in many cases goes beyond state law). In most
areas, it is the REALTOR® who shares information
on the homes they are marketing, through a Multiple
Listing Service (MLS). Working with a REALTOR®
who belongs to an MLS will give you access to
the greatest number of homes.
to evaluate an agent
Without any obligation, you can invite local REALTORS®
to visit your home and give you a "listing
presentation" about why they're the best
ones to market it for you. Two to three presentations
will probably give you a good opportunity for
choice. A listing presentation includes having
the REALTOR® review with you the reasons why
you should list with that particular individual,
and providing you with information that will assist
you in making initial decisions about selling
Recent laws in every state have defined the duties
of someone specifically retained as a real estate
agent. Most states require a real estate agent
to explain his or her role at the outset of any
conversation. A professional agent will promptly
provide this such a disclosure. Look for an agent
- Is a member of the local board or association
- Explains and discloses agency relationships
(the role of the agent, i.e., who they are representing--the
buyer or the seller) early on in the process,
at "serious first contact"
- Advises you on how to prepare your home for
- Shows some enthusiasm for your property, listens
attentively, instills confidence, operates in
a professional manner, and has a complementary
personality style to yours
- Has already researched your property in the
public records and the MLS
- Brings data on nearby homes that have sold
(or failed to sell) recently
The following are important
questions to ask a potential agent:
- Are you a REALTOR®?
- Do you have an active real estate license
in good standing. To find this information,
you can check with your states governing
- Do you belong to the Multiple Listing Service
(MLS) and/or a reliable online home buyers
search service? Multiple Listing Services are
cooperative information networks of REALTORS®
that provide descriptions of most of the houses
for sale in a particular region.
- What have you listed or sold in this neighborhood
- Do you cooperate with buyers' brokers?
- What share of the commission will you offer
a cooperating broker who finds the buyer?
- And in addition to the criteria mentioned
above, there are number of very important reasons
you will typically prefer to work with a REALTOR®.
Among them are the fact that they adhere to
the NARs highest standards of ethical
conduct and professional training.
a REALTOR® will do for you
There are many important reasons to use a REALTOR®.
Some of the duties your REALTOR® will perform
for you include:
- Walking through the process of selling your
home from beginning to end
- Providing comparable information about the
prices for which other properties have sold
and analyzing data for you to gain a true comparison
- Supplying information regarding local customs
and regulations you may want to consider
- Sharing information about your home through
the Multiple Listing Service and on the Internet
- Placing advertisements for your home
- Fielding phone calls
- "Qualifying" potential buyers to
make sure they would be financially able to
buy your property
- Negotiating the sales contract
- Alerting you to potential risks
- Complying with the disclosures required by
- Providing you with an estimate of the closing
costs you will incur
- Helping you prepare for a smooth closing of