What do real estate agents do?
- Selling strategy. They use their knowledge of the local market to evaluate comparable homes, suggest an appropriate listing price, and advise you on the best way to present your home. They also identify your home’s most attractive selling points, flag any potential issues, and recommend improvements that matter most to buyers in your area.1
- Marketing. They arrange for professional photos and a virtual tour, write an enticing description and list your property on the multiple listing service (MLS), create postcards and other advertising materials, and network with other real estate agents to increase buyer interest.1
- Open houses and showings. They arrange for potential buyers to visit the property; coordinate, promote, and host open houses, including special broker-only showings, and answer questions and provide documents such as disclosure packets to potentially interested buyers and their agents.1
- Offers and negotiations. They vet potential buyers and help evaluate the strength of each offer, advising you on whether to accept, reject, or make a counteroffer. They also engage with the buyer’s agent on final price and negotiate requests made while in escrow, including issues that may arise during the inspection.1
- Paperwork. They help coordinate preparation of disclosure and other needed forms and documents.1 They also work with the buyer’s agent and lawyer to arrange for offer letters, contracts, and other key documents to be signed by all parties.
- Referrals. Realtors can usually connect you with specialists and tradespeople to help with the sale process. These can include staging professionals, cleaning services, fix-it/repair services, painters, landscapers, photographers, storage facilities, and more.
Finding a real estate agent
- The right experience. Make sure your real estate agent has experience selling in your neighborhood, at your price point, and your property type, such as a condo, townhouse, or single-family home.
- Sale-to-list price ratio. Look for an agent who, on average, has a record of getting more for their sellers than their peers.
- A history of going above and beyond. Talk to prior clients of the agent, if you can, to get a sense how they work with sellers.
- Commission rate. Find out how much you’ll pay. Commission is typically 4% to 7% of the home’s sale price, paid by the seller (you), with half going to the seller’s agent and half to the buyer’s agent.