1. The Phone Interview - Place a call to each of the agents on your list. Document how quickly they returned your call. Keep in mind, they will be returning calls to your prospective home buyers. Do an initial "feel-out" interview over the phone so when you meet, you will both be prepared.
2. Request a Complete Plan - From title to escrow, request a complete plan of all the services they will provide you when you list with them.
3. Evaluate Their Team - Top Producers will have established relationships with lenders, title reps, inspectors, etc. These professionals are there for your benefit. If they are ill-prepared to handle all the steps of your transaction, look elsewhere!
4. Detailed Report of Your Property - Request a complete report about your property with ideas for improvements, cosmetic changes, structural repairs or anything that could add profit to your sale. Remember, a small investment up front can often pay high dividends at the time of sale.
5. Alternative Report - Request a complete report of alternatives to the home sale. What would current market leases generate? Rentals? Responsibilities attached with leasing? Have your agent educate you about all your options.
6. Insist on Pre-qualification- Don't waste valuable time negotiating or showing your property to unqualified prospects. Insist that your agent pre-qualify candidates to screen out all unwanted prospects.
7. A Net Sheet - See in writing a complete net sheet, minus commissions and fees, showing your exact proceeds at the time of sale.
8. A Marketing Plan - This is the heart of your agent's overall strategy. Require a step-by-step plan with innovative new ways to attract home buyers. Your agent should have 24 hour advertising, lead accountability and tracking services. These services exist and you should insist upon them!
9. Telemarketing Efforts - Investigate the agent's telemarketing team. Do they just cold call? Or do they have a strategy to create proactive leads and call on those prospects?
10. Direct Mail - Investigate the agent's capacity to send direct mail. How often do prospects receive mail? Is it professional? Does the mail piece motivate prospects to pick up the phone and call?
11. Advertising - Is it well-written and professional? How many ad venues do they utilize? They should be advertising in at least three: a homes magazine, community or local newspaper, and yard signs. Remember, the quality of the advertising will directly influence how well your home will be perceived.
12. Negotiation Strategy - Have a written, well-conceived, negotiation strategy. The old adage "You don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate," rings very true in real estate. Insist on a good, sound negotiation strategy before you entertain buyers.
13. Closing Checklist - Be sure to get a written closing checklist. You need to know in detail how you will conclude the sale of your home. This should provide a step-by-step procedure that will be easy to understand and follow.