Choosing the Right Agent

Homes Expo
Choosing the Right Agent

If you’re selling a home, a good real-estate agent will help you set the right price, market the home professionally, qualify the buyers and expertly negotiate and finalize the deal.
A great agent has long experience with recent sales and can walk a tightrope, balancing optimism with realism and diplomacy with brutal honesty.

Round up good prospects
To identify prospective agents, you can ask for referrals from neighbors or friends or use the search tools on the internet.

In depth knowledge of the market and area.
You want an agent who is “intimately and passionately” familiar with your neighborhood.

Each agent you interview should offer a comparative market analysis (a comparison of recent and pending sales of homes similar to yours) and know enough about the neighborhood and recent sales to explain why you should list your home for more or less than the neighbor down the street who sold last year. Don’t fall for the agent who persuasively promises the quickest sale for the highest price.

Sign the right contract
Ask each agent how long the listing contract would last. The slower the market, the longer the contract an agent is likely to demand. However, three to six months is typical. For slower-selling high-end homes (say, those over 50 million kshs), agents may want a year, Agents don’t want to risk losing the listing after they’ve spent a few thousands on marketing and staging.


Advice from Agents
Go ahead and look online, but don’t bombard your agent. Instead, put that effort into hiring someone you trust, and then be comfortable relinquishing some control to the expert you’ve hired. No one likes to be told how to do her work.

The world is full of people who sell real estate. Some of them are smart, efficient, focused, versatile and willing to go the extra mile. And some of them aren’t.
Finding an agent who will sell your home using a range of marketing tools to get you the best deal possible in a reasonable amount of time, all while charging a fair rate, takes some effort.

Interview at least three candidates before you sign a contract.
Here are questions you really want to ask so you can identify the best real estate agent to sell your property.

How much? Ask potential agents how much they think they can sell your home for. If two agents say 60 million and the third says 70 million think hard. It’s likely the high bid is an exaggeration to attract your business. In the trade it’s known as buying a listing. In the end, you’ll be the one who pays because the high price will scare away potential buyers before you inevitably drop the price.

How will you market it? Running a few classified ads in the local paper, listing it on the Internet and holding an open house shouldn’t be the only answers. The practitioner should be able to talk about what kinds of people are likely buyers and how he will reach out to those specific people.

What’s your specialty? If you’re selling a starter home in a community full of young families, hiring an agent who specializes in seniors is probably a bad idea. It doesn’t mean that if he only sells condos that he can’t sell a house, but he may not be geared up to do the best job.

How many people are you selling homes for right now and what are you doing for them? It may not be a bad thing that a high-powered agent is juggling 15 homes, but don’t expect her to give you personal service, although her assistant should be attentive. On the other hand, be wary of an agent with no other customers because she may lack experience and contacts.

What do you expect of me? A good salesperson will have expectations. He may want you to leave and take the dog when the house is shown, paint the garage, move some furniture around and scrub the tile in the bathroom. It shows that he can think like a buyer and that’s a good thing.

What advice would you have for me if I get an offer from a buyer who wants to use a mortgage? It wasn’t very long ago when the right answer might be run the other way, but these days mortgage institutions like Housing Finance and locally managed loan assistance programs can be key to selling a property. Real estate agents shouldn’t be pushing buyers toward their favorite lenders, but they should be able to help them and you wade through complex financing issues.

Can I talk to one of your previous clients? You never know. It is the best way to test the agent’s confidence in himself and just how efficient he is in this field. The higher the number of positive comments the better.