HOW TO CHOOSE AN AGENT TO HANDLE YOUR ESTATE SALE
How do you select a great real estate agent to help with your estate?
It still seems inevitable that at some point we’ll all face the point when we know we have to make serious end of life plans. If we are fortunate, we’ve tackled the details and decisions early. That’s ahead of becoming incapacitated or passing on, and while we still have our minds sharp. One of the big factors here is handling the sale of the estate. Specifically, and perhaps most importantly that means any real estate, including the family home. So, how do you choose a professional to handle this vitally important part of your finances and succession plan?
You may have an attorney and trust administrator, but you also want the power to select the specific real estate agent who will handle the sale of your property. Much of your ability to pass on what you want, to who you want, will all come down to this. This is true whether all you’ve got is a $100,000 teardown Upstate, or a $100M condo in Manhattan. So, how do you pick?
Most important of all is selecting a Realtor who will be considerate and put your interests first. This doesn’t always mean just telling you what you want to hear. Yet, you must have someone you can trust, as you might not be there to make the final decisions. With this in mind it is clearly far better to make this call in advance than going with the salesman going room to room at the hospice looking to drum up business. Build a relationship in advance.
More important than years with a license, or how many letters after their name, or the glossy materials they can present, is if they have hustle. There are too many overly comfortable and lazy agents who don’t really put in the effort for their clients. You need someone who is going to pick up the phone and make things happen fast, not just stick an ad on the internet and hope for the best.
Experience is important. Yet, what is most important here is the experience of understanding how to make a deal work. If someone calls with a lower offer, do they just let it go to waste? If a potential buyer calls, do they wait days before getting back in touch? Or is this an active problem solver who will maximize every opportunity to sell your home and other real estate in the optimal amount of time, with the best net proceeds?
Is this agent capable of delivering full service? In an estate situation you may have an elderly spouse left behind, or a minor, who needs help handling the belongings in the home, and managing the logistics of moving. Can they help with that? Can they find a surviving spouse a great new place which fits their needs better? Help with donations, securing moving services, and shipping heirlooms to relatives? Will they do a good job protecting your personal belongings when the home is being shown to buyers? Will they help fend off the vultures trying to take advantage of family members left behind? Do they also offer property management services for any investment properties you own and want held in a trust? Is their firm big enough to seamlessly help with real estate you may have out of state, or even abroad?
Who will you choose to be your ally in these most important times?