It's easy to find a real estate agent. Just put a for sale sign in the yard and wait for the phone to ring. The question is, how do you find a GOOD real estate agent? You can start with newspaper.
Pick up the Saturday or Sunday paper - whichever day they have all the homes for sale in your area. You can also collect a few real estate guides to look through. Browse the listings to find properties similar to yours. If you are selling a cabin, you want to look for cabins for sale. If you are selling a lakefront mansion, look for those.
When you find similar properties, note the names and numbers of the agents that are selling them. The idea here is to find a real estate agent that has experience with your type of property. An agent that has all the million dollar homes may not be the best to sell your mobile home, for example. You want agents that have sold or are selling several properties like yours.
What To Ask A Real Estate Agent
1. When you call the agents - and it's best to call several - you want to verify that they do have experience selling properties like yours. Ask for examples.
2. Ask what they do to market a property. Any agent can place an ad and put your home in the multiple listings. Do they have existing leads - people looking for properties like yours? Do they let other agents know about your property?
3. Do they show their listings very often? Many agents just list real estate for sale and let others sell it for them. It's more profitable for them, but not for you. If they are a good salesperson, you want them to be going through the house with potential buyers.
4. Do they do their own closings? Again, it may be better for them to delegate this part of the process, but it isn't better for you. You want the same person to be there through the whole process. You want one person to call. Things go wrong all the time in real estate, so don't complicate it further by having more people involved.
Most real estate agents will probably argue these points. That's okay, but be aware that there are other things they won't tell you too. For example, did you know that open houses are primarily a prospecting tool for real estate agents? In fact, new agents (not the listing agent) are often given the job of hosting your open house, so they can find buyers to work with. It isn't expected that they will sell your house in the process.
Also understand that when you see ads for homes for sale, and they don't have prices, it is a prospecting technique. When that buyer looking for a $100,000 home calls on your $300,000 home, the agent isn't going to make him able to afford your home. The whole point was to get him to call so he could sell him ANY home. Meanwhile, other potential buyers for your home skipped over the ad - there are enough homes WITH prices to look at (insist that ads for your property have the price listed).
Trust your intuition when choosing an agent. If you don't feel comfortable with an agent, it's possible potential buyers won't either. And ask the right questions. You don't just want to find a real estate agent you like. You want to find the right agent for your property.