How to Choose the Right Agent to Sell Your Hudson Valley Home

According to a poll conducted by the National Association of Realtors, 80% of people contacted only one agent before deciding who to choose to sell their home.  

Anyone who’s worked with a professional — whether it was a hair stylist for a quick trim or a contractor to renovate a kitchen — knows that hiring the first person who comes along is a roll of the dice. There’s a chance that you’ll find someone who does a great job. But there’s also a chance that you won’t.

That’s why we recommend that you meet with at least three agents before you choose one of them to sell your house. This is perhaps the biggest financial transaction you’ll ever make, so you don’t want to leave this decision to chance.

Below are the three pieces of advice we give to sellers who are searching for the right seller’s agent.

Ask around for recommendations

Where do most sellers connect with the agent who will sell their home? According to The Close, more than two out of three sellers found their agent through a referral from a friend or family member. Many also talk with neighbors who have recently bought or sold a home. 

It’s not a bad strategy. When someone you know recommends a real estate agent they have worked with, it’s because they had a positive experience. You’re likely to have a great one as well.

But make sure that you’re not comparing apples to oranges. If your friend was buying a house and you’re selling one, you’re looking for agents with different set of skills. Some agents specialize in working with buyers, others with sellers. Some work closely with first-time buyers, others have more experience with longtime homeowners looking to downsize.

When someone close to you recommends an agent, ask a couple of follow-up questions. What about the experience did they like best? What about the process could have gone more smoothly? What were the agent’s strengths and weaknesses? 

Hearing about the agent’s strong points will help you decide whether they are the right one for you.

Check them out online

There’s a lot of information you can get about an agent before you ever meet them in person. These days, it’s all online.

Start by taking a look at their website and scrolling through their past and present listings. Read through the descriptions of houses they have represented. Are the descriptions well-written? Are they full of details, or do they seem a little skimpy? Do they feel polished, or are there obvious typos and gramatical errors?

Now take a look at the photos and videos. Do they look like the work of a professional, or were they snapped on someone’s phone? Do they make the house look open and airy, or do the rooms looked small and cramped? Are there extraneous details — piles of shoes near the front door or children’s toys in the hallways — that should have been removed?

Next, take a look at their rating from past clients on sites like Google. The number of stars they rack up or the total number of ratings might catch your attention, but the written reviews are the most important thing. Take the time to read through 15 or 20 of them, noting what words come up over and over. When several people mention that they are a “great negotiator” or a “true professional,” you are likely to feel the same way.

Meet with them in person

One thing many sellers don’t realize is that all real estate agencies are using the same technology. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you’re working with a huge brokerage or a one-person agency. What you’re looking for is someone who is professional, personable, and passionate about what they do.

That’s why we recommend you talk with at least three agents in person. You’ll be able to see pretty quickly which one you connect to.

Ask about their familiarity with your area. It’s great if they happen to be a resident of the same town, but the important thing is a depth of knowledge about the region. They should know about the real estate market, what the schools are like, how the taxes compare to nearby towns. 

You also should ask about what their plan for selling your house would be. They should be able to tell you what your house’s major selling points are and how they would capitalize on them. If your house is walking distance to several restaurants or a short drive from the region’s best hiking trails, they should recognize this and know how to use it in their sales plan.

Don’t be shy about asking what they would recommend the listing price for your house should be. Their answer shouldn’t be too far off from the other agents you meet with. If it’s significantly higher, that’s not necessarily a good thing. A listing price that’s too high might mean your house sits on the market for so long that potential buyers wonder whether there’s a problem with it. A price that’s too low might mean they don’t know the market well enough. 

And most importantly, make sure that you have a good rapport with the agent you choose. When you have an amiable working relationship, it makes the whole journey more pleasant. As one agent put it, a good relationship between seller and agent “takes the edge off what could be a stressful time.”

One other thing to remember: Don’t feel bad about taking up an agent’s time if you decide to go with another one. Agents won’t take it personally if they don’t get the listing. Experienced agents know that they are making a valuable connection and may work with you again in the future.