If you are planning to sell your home in the near future, you will probably want to enlist the services of a professional real estate agent to market the home for you. To find an agent, compile a list of at least 3 individuals or real estate firms from either referrals or other places, such as ads or online, to interview. Ask each about their experience, how long they’ve worked in the area, recent sales they have brokered, and how they intend to market your property — open houses (how many?), where they plan to advertise your home, Internet and social media platforms they plan to use, personal mailings, etc. Who do they think is the market for your home and how do they plan to reach this market? Ask each for suggestions about your property and different cosmetics, furniture rearranging, other improvements they recommend that might make your home more attractive and saleable.
Ask how each would price your property and why. Don’t simply choose the agent who suggests the highest listing price. Instead, ask why each would price your home the way he/she did, including recent sales prices of comparable homes in your neighborhood. What is their assessment of current market conditions and is that assessment consistent with what you know about your area? Finally, choose the agent you feel you can work with and trust.
Once you’ve made a choice, consider the listing terms carefully. There is no such thing as a standard listing contract. All listing terms are negotiable, including the commission you will pay the agent.
You should also discuss the length of the listing term. While the broker has an obvious interest in locking you in for as long as possible you have an equally obvious interest in not being handcuffed to a broker who isn’t doing a good job for you. Three months usually is long enough to evaluate the broker’s marketing efforts. If you’ve seen some buyer interest, if you’re generally satisfied with the progress to date, you can extend the contract.