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Any suggestions on how to interview real estate agents?

The last time I hired a real estate agent I went through this process;

1) I talked to six of them on the phone for maybe ten or fifteen minutes. I got several of their names from people I know but I also called a few of the local real estate offices and asked to which of their agents would be best for me.

2) I selected three of them to come to the house to see it then come back later to give a presentation that included a competitive market analysis that included an outline of their marketing plan. I had not specifically asked for it but they all had the presentations in binders which they let me keep.

I don't know if was just the custom or law in that area but they didn't have a real firm suggested listing price in the presentation but it was pretty clear in talking with them what price they were comfortable with. The range of prices was pretty wide, about 10% or so but any of them would have been happy to have listed it at any price I wanted to list it at.

I then selected the agent I was most comfortable with which also happen to have the highest price, which to my amazement we pretty much got. She did have good reasons for thinking that we could get a higher price.

The lowest price was by the agent that had sold many of the houses in the subdivision but was likely pricing them low to make an easy sale.

In going through the process I was very open with the agents about the interview process I was using and that I was also interviewing other agents and they were all OK with that. I also let them know promptly after I had selected another agent and while they would have liked to have gotten the listing they were all professional and it was pretty painless. In talking with that many agents about my house I also learned a lot.

I made sure that the contract(listing agreement) was very specific about where which newspapers(it was a while ago)the house would be advertised, how large the ads would be, how often they would be, and how often the open houses would be. The house was an average house on a lot next to a wetlands pond and I had fallen for it when I saw it at an open house years before so I was the type of house people tended to have to see to love. The agent that had the highest market analysis agreed (or was at least willing to go along with me) was willing to have an open house every third weekend so I figured if she was willing to commit to that much time it was worth letting her try. It did sell to someone that found it at an open house, they had not been looking in that area but they happened to pass by and saw the open house sign so they stopped by on a whim.

I was doing a corporate relocation that had a set commission percent so I did not try to negotiate the commission.

Part of the competitive market analysis that we got from all three agents was not only information on houses that had recently sold in the area, but also similar houses that were also for sale. It was interesting in that I don't recall any of the agents actually having the same comparable houses in their presentations. This is a something you should refer back to since if your house has not sold after a while then you can look back to see which of the other houses that were for sale have sold and what they sold for or if they have dropped their listing price.
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