Here in Tampa Bay, there are tens of thousands of Realtors, some of them part-time, some of them full-time, some good, bad and in between. So how do you know which one to hire when its time to sell your home? And how do you know which one specializes in your area, depending on whether you live in Tampa, St. Petersburg, or somewhere in between? Here are a few tips to consider when choosing that right Realtor to list your home for sale:

  1. Don't hire someone who is a close friend or family. This is #1 for a reason. I'm sorry, but you just can't mix business and friends/family. Your home is most likely your largest investment, and while its tempting to go with a friend or family member because you trust them – you want to go with the very best. Unless your friend or family member is the #1 Realtor in town, he or she should not be offended if you go with the person who is. Picture this. You have a major health issue – let's say a heart condition. Your next door neighbor is a general practitioner. Do you go to him? No, you go to a cardiologist! Well your home is the same way – find the best Realtor who specializes in whatever type of real estate category your home fits into – waterfront, golf course community, gated neighborhood, etc. After all, for most people their home is their largest financial investment, so you go to the best, not a buddy.
  2. Get the Realtors Stats. To find out who is the best Tampa luxury home Realtor, you'd better call and interview a few real estate agents. And when each of them arrive, ask them to show you their sales stats. What, they didn't bring them? That's not a good sign. Ask what their list-to-sale ratio is (our list to sell ratio is 98%). If they don't know – again, not a good sign. Ask where they rank among other area Realtors. Don't know? Again, not good. I'm in the Top 1% of Hillsborough County Realtors. Where do they fall?
  3. Don't Choose the Yes Man (or Woman). You likely have a strong opinion about what your home's listing price should be. All Sellers generally do. So now that you've interviewed a few people, don't just choose the Realtor who had the highest suggested listing price for your home. Some agents will tell you whatever you want to hear, and then come back with their tail between their legs later, asking for a price reduction. Statistics show that pricing your home correctly from the start is imperative to get the highest sales price. When you price a home within the market, you are likely to get lots of buyers looking at your home right away and possibly competing (read: over the asking price!) offers. Don't you want that? Find the Realtor who brings realistic looking comparable sales and listen to what he or she has to say. You are hiring this person to be impartial, and give you good advice, so its important to hear their opinion.
  4. Decide How Important Commission Is. Commissions can vary greatly from agent to agent, company to company. Why? Ever heard the expression "If it seems to good to be true, it probably is." or "You get what you pay for." These apply here. Your Realtor may charge a given commission based on his or her experience and the amount of marketing he or she does. If an agent is willing to drop their commission drastically over what another agent's commission is – ask yourself – is this agent desperate for a listing? How many homes has he sold? How much marketing is he going to be able to do since he's dropping the commission, and thus what he can use to pay for marketing? Will the commission split offered to buyer's agents be as attractive? There are agents out there who just want listings (and will often overprice them) just to put a For Sale sign up in your yard. Why? Because buyers see the sign, call the agent to ask the price, and then when they give a shocked reaction, the agent says "But wait, I have others I can show you" and then sells them a different house.
  5. Don't discount the Real Estate Company's brand: Keller Williams Realty is the #1 Real Estate Company in North America by agent count. Meaning more agents than any other brand! What does this mean to you? Well let's consider the possibility that your best buyer is moving from out of town, or out of state. This means that they have a pretty high statistical change that they may be working with a Keller Williams agent in selling their home. Guess what…through our Keller Williams Listing System (KWLS), your home is now featured on the web page of over 100,000 agents…including theirs! How cool is that?! Because we as Keller Williams agents have such a wide network throughout the world, we are more easily able to pull in buyers from all corners of the globe! Think about it…of the last ten people you met, how many of them were born and raised in the Tampa Bay area?
  6. Check Out The Agent's Marketing. Ask to see some current and past listings. Do they have a real estate website for buyers to search? How's the photography on their listings look? Will they hire a professional? Make sure you don't end up a Bad MLS Photo listing! Will the listing be on YouTube? Trulia, Zillow,Realtor.com? What about print marketing? Open Houses or Broker's Opens? Other out of the box methods? If they don't have anything to show you – next.
  7. Listen to Your Gut. What was your first impression of this agent? Do you like this person? Are they pushy? Or do you have a great connection? Is the agent a "jack of all trades" (aka master of none), or is he or she a listing agent only? Does the agent have a team of highly talented specialists to manage every piece of the transaction, or do they market your home/handle the paperwork/write their own ads/take their own pictures/set up all the showings themselves/manage the day-to-day minutia of the listing (when was the last time your dentist cleaned your teeth? That's right, they have someone who specializes in the cleaning while they handle the most important part which is the equivalent to the marketing and negotiating of your home. You could be working with your real estate agent for several months, so it's important to find someone you like and trust. You want someone who will be easy to work with, and easy to get in touch with when dealing with one of the largest financial transactions of your life.

Of course when it comes to searching for the best real estate agent to sell your St. Petersburg or Tampa home, we are confident that we will turn you into a raving fan. If you're selling your home in Tampa, give us 15 minutes to show you what we can do to ensure your home sells quickly and for top dollar!