Hire a reputable realtor
An executor should enlist the help of a licensed realtor in the area where the property is located to help sell the property properly and efficiently. While you might consider selling the home yourself, this can be a very challenging process for an executor for a number of reasons. The advice you’ll get from a realtor will give comfort to the beneficiaries that the best possible decisions are being made on their behalf. This includes everything from pricing and preparing the home for sale, to negotiating and managing the sales process.
A realtor also will have good availability to show the house and be able to get honest feedback from potential buyers, which those people might not share with someone connected with the owner. If the deceased person passed away in the home, have a frank conversation with the realtor about how that issue will be addressed if brought up by potential buyers.
10 Tips for Hiring a Realtor
1. Look at Their Track Record at Selling Homes
Ask detailed questions about their track record. Ask how long their listings have stayed on the market, on average, over the past two years, and at what percentage of asking price they have sold for. You’ll be paying the realtor a great deal of money. Don’t feel badly about asking tough questions. Related to this, ask how long they have been in the business. Think twice before hiring a rookie. Also look at awards, as some can be very good objective measures of the quality of the realtor (and their relationships in the marketplace.) One to consider is the “Realtor of the Year” designation awarded by the state or local branch of the National Association of Realtors, as it is based on a vote of a realtor’s peers.
2. Understand in What Neighborhoods They Specialize
Different agents focus in different parts of a city. Choose an agent who lists and sells a good number of homes in the neighborhood in which you’ll be selling the home. Their current listings and recent sales can give you some direction on this one. If you are aware of homes for sale near your home, ask the realtor about them when you are together and see if they are knowledgeable about your competition? Also ask if they have been in those homes. They should have been in at least some of them.
3. Understand What Property Type and Price Point They Specialize In
If you’re selling a condo and the agent sells almost exclusively condos, he or she is probably not a great fit. If you’re selling a $500,000 home and they specialize in $100,000 homes or $1,000,000+ homes, he or she is again probably not an optimal choice.
4. Ask What Their Philosophies Are
Find out what how they typically sell homes. Where do they find their buyers? What will their specific marketing plan be for your home? Do they like or dislike open houses in your markets and why?
5. Ask How Their Firm Helps In the Process
A quality firm behind a realtor can matter. Some are more forward thinking and aggressive in their marketing. Quality marketing sells homes. Bigger or smaller isn’t necessarily better, but a firm that supports its sales agents can be an asset to you in this process. The most basic of ways that they can help is to get your home listed in the Multiple Listing Service, the MLS. Never hire a firm that is unable to perform that basic function for you.
6. Talk to former clients
People who have worked with the agent will have good perspective on how good their service was, how attentive they were, and what kinds of creative ideas they had to generate qualified traffic to the home. One great question to ask is how long it typically took the agent to return a call. Another one is how patient and helpful they were when you had questions about the more technical aspects of the process.
7. Confirm their Licensing
All states have state licensing boards. Make sure your agent holds a license in good standing, and ask if there are any complaints against them or pending litigation.
8. Ask about Representation
Ask a realtor who they will be “representing.” You want them to be representing you, not the buyer. While this might seem like an obvious one, it’s not, so ask the question and make sure the seller is exclusively representing you in this process.
9. Ask about Fees
The lowest cost solution is not always the best solution here. You want to find the right realtor and sell the home in a timely manner. Saving one percent by hiring someone who won’t aggressively market your home is not necessarily the right choice. Before signing the listing agreement always understand what percentage commission you will be asked to pay upon sale of the home and what other costs, if any, you will be asked to pay. Related to the contract, make sure you understand the timeframe of your commitment before signing the document.
10. Hire Someone You Trust and Like
A realtor will make a lot of recommendations to you in this process. Do you trust him or her? Trust is often more important than “likeability,” as you’re hiring someone to do a job for you, not be your new best friend. However, if your gut instinct is that he or she is not trustworthy or that you would struggle to work with them, find someone you do trust. There are many outstanding realtors in any given market, so be selective in your decision.