Good house yente wanted.
June 17, 2015 5:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking seriously about putting my home on the market (north of Boston). Which questions should I ask potential realtors?

This is my first home SALE. I briefly considered FSBO, but in MA there are quite a few hoops to jump through and I'm not confident I want to take on that learning curve.

I saw this AskMe, but it's on the buy side of the story. I assume some of the same criteria apply.

So... how do I find a decent realtor? What qualities would YOU look for on the sell side?

My insurance agent has an associated real estate brokerage, and they will charge me 4% as opposed to the standard 5%. That's great, but maybe other agents would do a better job for that extra 1%.
posted by Sheydem-tants to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
The buyer's agent we used to buy our house is hungry for referrals, so if you know anyone who's had a good experience, find that agent! (I have a recommendation if you MeMail me)
posted by mkb at 6:26 AM on June 17, 2015

I would confirm that the realtor has experience in your geography. We didn't do this with our last sale and ended up wasting several valuable months of prime selling season because she wasn't really familiar with our immediate local market and comps. When we switched to someone ultra-local, we had a buyer within a week of re-listing.
posted by jquinby at 6:35 AM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

As another data point - the very first time we sold a house, we used a realtor who had just sold another house in our subdivision. She had carpet-bombed the other homes with "I just sold a house here" postcards. As with the subsequent time, she was totally plugged into the demand-side for houses in our immediate area and we had a quick sale.

The time in-between, we relied on a friend-of-a-friend sort of thing with not great results.
posted by jquinby at 6:39 AM on June 17, 2015

Best answer: 1. Go to Zillow. Type in your ZIP code.
2. Click on 'Agent Finder'.
3. Click on 'Sort by: Recent Sales'.
4. Click on each agent's map.

You want the agent with the most sales in YOUR AREA, who isn't driving around several counties every day, who knows YOUR comps like the back of his/her hand.

The above should help you sort them. Then ask for the top few to do a CMA ("comprehensive market analysis!") for you. They should have a price in mind for your house, and you should choose the one where you agree with their reasoning.

Of the three I interviewed, one was blowing perfume up my a**, named a price that was 10% above what we sold for and showed comps that were above mine (ie, not the best comps). The second named a low number that was 15% BELOW what we sold for; even though she was very familiar with the area, she ... didn't seem to understand the details. The third knew every complex like the back of his hand, said "your place fits in between this one and that one and here's why", and named a price that was 2.5% above what I sold for. Which was ultimately probably the best sale in the area last summer.
posted by Dashy at 8:04 AM on June 17, 2015 [4 favorites]

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