When you’re selling your home to move to a retirement living community or a smaller space, you may be thinking of hiring a real estate agent to help sell your house. If it’s been a while since you’ve last worked with a real estate agent, though, it can be difficult to know who’s the best person for the job.
To find a top agent in your area, follow these tips.
Tips for Choosing an Agent
First, a note—you may already know this, but Realtors® are different from real estate agents. Both are licensed to sell your home, but a realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Now, on to the tips!
Ask for Real Estate Agent Referrals from Your Friends and Family
Realtor.com advises that you start by asking your friends and family if they have any suggestions. You can look at online reviews and testimonials, but nothing beats real advice from someone you know and trust.
However, Realtor.com cautions against taking those recommendations at face value. You’ll want to dig a little deeper than simply whether or not they had a good experience with the agent. Ask them if the agent has sold a house in the area recently. An agent who knows the area well is a real asset when it comes to selling your house.
Meet with Multiple Agents
Let’s say you meet with the real estate agent that your son recommended. The agent seems great and you feel like you can trust her. Is it time to hire her?
To be absolutely positive that you’ve found the right agent to sell your home, consider interviewing multiple real estate agents. You may end up choosing that first agent you interviewed because they really might be the best person for the job. By interviewing more agents, though, you’ll have complete confidence in your choice.
Look at the Agent’s Track Record
Selling your home is a momentous occasion. It also has a huge impact on your finances. With so much at stake, you’ll want to look at the numbers to see if the agent you’re considering has a good track record.
But how do you find out an agent’s record?
Dave Ramsey, financial expert, best-selling author, and radio host, lays it all out in his guide, How to Find a Real Estate Agent. He recommends that you look at two things:
- Is their pricing accurate? To find this out, ask an agent the average asking price and final sales price of the homes they list. Then, divide the final by the asking. That will give you the sales-to-list ratio which can help you determine how accurately the agent prices homes.
- How long does it take them to close a home? This will give you a better idea of what timeframe to expect. Selling a home doesn’t always happen according to a certain timetable, but at least you’ll have something to go off of.
Related: Making the Move: How to Stage a Home
Ask the Real Estate Agents the Right Questions When Selling Your Home
When you first approach an agent about selling your home in retirement, it’s a good idea to come with questions for them.
If it’s been a while since you’ve had to sell or buy a home, here are some examples of questions to ask a potential real estate agent:
- How long have you been a real estate agent?
- Is your focus buyers or sellers?
- How many active clients do you usually have at one time?
- Do you have much experience with selling homes for people in retirement?
- What tools will you use to market my home?
- Do you have any references I could speak to?
Find the Right Chemistry
Up until now, all the tips have been focused on the facts and figures. But that’s not the only thing that matters.
Moving from your long-time home to a retirement living community can be a very emotional time. Ideally, the person helping you to sell your house will be someone you can trust and feel comfortable with.
It’s not the main consideration, but it’s still an important one. Choose a real estate agent who you have good chemistry with and the process will be much smoother.
Selling Your Home in Retirement
If you’re selling your home to move to a smaller space, another task you’ll have to tackle after choosing a real estate agent is downsizing. You can learn more about downsizing here.
If you’re moving to a retirement community, you’ll have some extra help along the way. Retirement communities have helped countless seniors make the move, so they’re able to help you find the resources you need to make yours go smoothly.
To give you an idea of what moving services may be offered, The Esquiline, a Life Plan Community, helps new residents:
- Find a reputable real estate agent
- Connect with legal services for estate planning & power of attorney
- Find a moving company
- Connect to resources for estate sales, auctioneers, and donation sites
For more information on how to manage the move to a retirement community, download our Making the Move guide.