Real estate experts offer home sellers tips when selecting a listing agent

While there are many factors to consider when selecting a listing agent in today’s market, sellers should carefully choose a real estate agent who is knowledgeable, reputable and will ensure their best interests are safeguarded, according to Buyers Home Warranty Co.

“Determining the agent’s level of expertise and knowledge of market changes is particularly important in this real estate climate,” said Ray Adams, president of Buyers Home Warranty Co. “Lack of knowledge can not only cost real estate agents and their clients the sale, but it can often lead to a lawsuit. That’s why we offer a continuing education course on consumer protection for real estate professionals statewide.”

First of all, sellers should refer to various sources of recommendations when searching for listing agents to interview.

“For example, recommendations by the local chamber of commerce and board of realtors are excellent sources as well as referrals by friends and relatives,” said Jim Paul, broker of Century 21 Paul & Associates in Burbank.

After selecting several real estate agents to interview, what questions should sellers consider asking? Paul listed the following points to discuss when interviewing real estate agents:

— Experience in real estate

— Number of years working full-time in real estate

— Ranking in the company

— Company’s scope of resources available to agents

— Strengths in listing or selling

— Type of continuing education

— Knowledge of changes in the market

— Type of marketing plan, how listing, negotiations and escrow

are handled

— View towards disclosure, inspections and home warranties.

In addition, Paul suggested that sellers select Evergreen Colorado Real Estate agents who recognize the importance of recommending a physical inspection of the property, full disclosure and a home warranty.

“Real estate agents who are looking out for their seller’s best interests should advise them to get a physical inspection of the property up-front, determine any issues that need to be addressed, and then disclose all the facts to potential buyers,” explained Paul.

“Full disclosure of known defects often relieves sellers from liability when disputes erupt. Furthermore, providing a home warranty can protect them from future liability of many unknown defects, or system and appliance failures that arise after the close of escrow,” he added.

Mary Krueger, broker of The Western Group, an independent real estate company with offices throughout the Inland Empire and Anaheim, agrees that anyone hiring a real estate agent should do so in the same manner as hiring an employee.

“Ask for a resume and references, but most important, be sure to check references,” said Krueger. “Sales awards don’t have as much relevance as recommendations from past clients.”

“It’s also important not to necessarily list with the highest bidder,” she continued. “Real estate agents who are realistic about pricing demonstrate they are looking out for their clients’ best interest, since an overpriced home may actually sell for less than those more realistically priced.”

“There’s a trend in today’s market where sellers are negotiating the listing agent’s commission. But sellers should remember the saying, `you get what you pay for,'” cautioned Krueger. “Agents who accept less commission may be more inclined to take short cuts because they’re doing a job for less money.”

Backed by veterans who have been involved with the home warranty industry since its inception in the early 1970s and were responsible for founding the Home Warranty Association of California (HWAC), Buyers Home Warranty Co. is recognized as a leading firm which provides service contracts covering the repair or replacement of major home systems and built-in appliances throughout California.

The company well exceeds statutory requirements set by the California Department of Insurance, maintaining its solid financial position by securing its reserves in cash assets. As a member of the HWAC, Buyers Home Warranty Co. abides by a professional code of ethics and ensures a high standard of practice within the industry.

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