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How to Choose a Realtor to Sell Your Home

Once you've decided to sell a house, the next step is finding a REALTOR®. To do this, you need to understand:

  • What is a realtor?
  • How to evaluate a broker or agent
  • What your realtor can do for you
  • What it means to sell on your own

What is a Realtor?

Agents, brokers, and REALTORS® aren’t all the same. Agents are simply salespeople with a state license, but REALTORS® are licensed beyond the minimum requirements of their state in order to join their local board or association of REALTORS®. These agents and brokers abide by a Code of Ethics that’s often more stringent than what state law demands. REALTORS® often work through the MLS Listing Service to provide marketing information on houses for sale under their representation, and they also use the service to find homes for their buyers.

How to Evaluate a Broker or Agent

You’re free to invite any local REALTORS® to your home for a “listing presentation” that shows why they’re the right choice for an agent. You can do this with no obligation, and it’s advisable for you to consider at least two or three different listing presentations before you make a final choice.

New state laws have defined the duties of real estate agents, requiring agents to their role at the beginning of any conversation. Here’s what to look for in an agent:

  • The agent is a member of the association of REALTORS®
  • The agent explains and discloses agency relationships
  • The agent gives you advice on preparing your home for the market
  • The agent displays enthusiasm for your property, behaves in a professional manner, and seems to be compatible with your personality
  • The agent has proactively researched your property’s MLS listing
  • The agent provides data on nearby homes that have sold (or failed to sell) recently

There are many reasons to work with a REALTOR®, including the fact that REALTORS® will adhere to the NAR's highest standards of ethical conduct and professional training.


What a Realtor Can Do For You


Using a realtor provides you with a number of benefits. These are some of the duties you can expect your realtor to perform for you:

  • Guiding you through the process of a home sale from start to finish
  • Furnishing comparable information about the sale prices of other properties
  • Providing information about local customs and regulations that you should know
  • Distributing information about your home through the MLS Listing Service and online
  • Placing advertisements for your home
  • Handling phone calls
  • "Qualifying" interested buyers to make sure they are financially able to purchase your property
  • Negotiating the sales contract
  • Informing you of potential risks
  • Ensuring that you comply with the disclosures mandated by law
  • Giving you an accurate estimate of the closing costs you’re likely to incur
  • Helping you to prepare for a smooth closing

What It Means to Sell Your Home on Your Own


Those who decide to offer their homes "For Sale by Owner" (FSBO) or use a Flat Fee MLS Listing Service are choosing to take on all of the broker’s work. Selling a home on your own isn’t easy undertaking. It demands a significant amount of time to learn the process and carry out the challenging work of a real estate agent. It also requires you to consult with outside professionals like REALTORS®, accountants, and attorneys to get extra help on jobs that you can’t handle yourself.

If you need only limited services, there are some realtors who will agree to assist with the transaction for a predetermined fee. If you choose to list your home FSBO, this is a valid option.

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