With over 2 million active real estate agents in the U.S., it’s easy to find a Realtor® online. What’s tricky is finding the best real estate agent to manage your unique home sale.
“Your home is the biggest asset you own,” says Maria DelBoccio, a top real estate agent in Cook County, Illinois, who works with 73% more single-family homes than her peers. “It’s a big process, and if you don’t have someone to advocate with confidence in regards to your property, long-term it is going to be a financial detriment as well as emotionally. It’s a big decision.”
HomeLight’s research reveals that the top 5% of real estate agents sell homes for as much as 10% more than the average agent. Follow these seven tips to find a top real estate agent in your area online.
1. First, determine your selling goals
Before you search for a Realtor® online, answer these questions to determine your selling goals:
- How fast do you want to sell your home?
- What’s your target home sale price?
- If you have a fixer-upper, do you want to remodel or sell as-is?
- What’s your pre-listing home improvement and staging budget?
Once you answer these questions, you can tailor your Realtor® search process to find candidates best suited for your needs. For instance, if your top priority is to sell ASAP, you’ll want to find an agent with a reputation for selling homes fast.
2. Narrow your search with HomeLight
Find top real estate agent candidates fast with HomeLight. Share your home sale details and selling objectives with us, and we’ll match you with three local agents who outcompete their peers. Our system crunches relevant transaction data like an agent’s average days on market, list to sale price ratio, and client reviews.
You can review each agent’s profile to view these performance stats, relevant qualifications, and recent home sales in your area.
3. Comb the web for real estate agent reviews
When searching for real estate agents online, dedicate time to reading client reviews. DelBoccio suggests reading reviews on multiple websites since some may filter negative reviews to present agents in the best light possible.
Check for reviews on the following websites to gather as much intel as possible:
- Better Business Bureau
- Real estate agents’ websites
- Brokerages’ websites
Keep an eye out for reviews that are relevant to your selling objectives. For instance, if you’re looking to remodel your home before selling, pay extra attention to reviews where the agent helped the seller with this task.
4. Take note of agents’ digital marketing activities
DelBoccio says it’s essential to look at a real estate agent’s marketing materials. Today, 93% of buyers used websites to conduct their home search, while another 73% used a mobile tablet, website, or app, and 37% used an online video site. You want to find a real estate agent who crafts compelling social media posts, virtual home tours, and gorgeous listings.
To gauge an agent’s marketing prowess, head to their website and social media accounts. “You want to see how interactive they are,” says DelBoccio. “Also, see what their response time is. Is it taking a broker three days to reply to a post, and are they time-sensitive? I think those are all very big key factors.”
Note the quality of photos, the number of posts per listing, and agent responses to comments. If you’re impressed with the homes they’re showcasing, then buyers likely are too!
5. Set up phone or Zoom calls with prospective agents
Once you narrow your search down to three potential Realtors®, it’s time to set up a phone or a Zoom interview. You’ll want to go into the interview with a list of questions so you can analyze the Realtors’® responses. You can successfully interview an agent in 15 minutes with the questions below:
- How long have you been in business?
- How well do you know the area?
- What sets you apart from other agents here?
- How many clients do you represent at a time?
- Who would I be working with on your team?
- What’s your marketing plan for properties like mine?
- How do you handle prep work and staging?
- How deep is your professional network if we need contractors?
- How often will we be in touch?
- Do you have any buyers/properties in mind already?
- What’s the biggest challenge you think we’ll face?
- What kind of guarantees do I get?
- How long do I have to review the documents before I sign anything?
- How much do you charge?
- Can you send over some client references?
- If I pick you, what’s the first thing we need to do to get started?
- What haven’t I asked you that I need to know?
6. Meet your favorite real estate agents in person for a final check
DelBoccio says once you have narrowed it down to one or two agents, you really should meet the agents in person. She shares that the agent should stop by your property to devise a selling strategy and estimate a listing price.
“There is zero chance that a broker can give you an exact value of your home without stepping foot in it,” DelBoccio comments.
When in person with the agent, pay attention to what they say and how they make you feel. You want an agent who is charismatic and honest — not someone who just tells you what they think you want to hear.
7. Hire the agent whose experience you most trust
DelBoccio says finding the right Realtor® is like dating. “It has to be a multi-level connection,” she says. “So not only do you have confidence in the person that you’re choosing, but you also get along with them.”
Ultimately, you should hire a real estate agent whose experience you trust and personality you connect with. After all, you’ll be in close contact with them throughout your home sale.
Header Image Source: (Annie Spratt / Unsplash)