You must feel confident that he will perform all the crucial tasks below:
1. He must have a good knowledge of your market.
He can accurately price your home. It is the most important item in any market. You want the best price for your home and to attract as many buyers as you can. Your agent must have a good understanding of how pricing works and must be able to use effective strategies to maximize your bottom line.
2. He must be able to coordinate scheduling.
When you are selling your home, you are moving into another home unless you decided to be part of the nature to live in a cave in the wilderness. Scheduling the timetable that meets your needs makes the experience a pleasant one.
3. He must have excellent communication skills.
Communication is key to all the relationships in our lives. It is in our nature not to deal with challenging issues. We don't want to be the bearer of the bad news because of our fears. We don't say what we need to say and convey. We agonize and procrastinate about delivering the news.
You are hiring a professional, and you rely on his knowledge and expertise. If he is not sharing it with you because he may not get the listing, or may make you upset, he is not doing his job. You need to know what is going on immediately. You need to trust that he will be truthful and communicate without fear and give you frequent progress updates.
2015 Median Home Price in Berkeley compared to other cities in San Francisco Bay Area
4. Real estate selling fees for the services required.
You will pay a commission to your listing agent who shares it with the buyers agent. The usual fee is 5% to 6% of the sales price. Considering the median home prices in Berkeley and Greater Bay Area, the traditional commission is high. A median three bedroom home price in Berkeley is over $900,000. At 6%, your total fee is $54,000. You should be able to negotiate this fee, without compromising on the services you receive.
My fee regardless of the property value is 1%. I offer 2.5% to the buyers agent for a total commission of 3.5%. So the fee paid for the same house above is $31,500 (rather than $54,000). On top of that, if you are buying another home, and let us assume at about same price, you will receive another $9,000 as a rebate which brings your total sales commission down to $22,500. Now that is real savings when compared to the $54,000 you'll pay with a full 6% commission.
If you choose a realtor who is willing to reduce his commission like this, you also want to make sure he is not providing fewer services due to the low fee.
And finally, you need to interview at least one other agent, if not more. I suggest three agents. Your home may be the biggest asset you have. It is your nest egg; your accumulated wealth. Why would you not take it seriously?
About 70 percent of homeowners list their home with the first agent they meet. You can still list it with the first agent after a healthy comparison with others. When interviewing, read between the lines and look for personality traits that would give you confidence to make you trust him. If he is a pushy agent and wants you to make the decision right then and there, just be careful. Stay away from the pushy agent.
PS; I use he or she alone instead of he/she to eliminate repetition. I don't mean to be gender specific.