The Internet opens up unlimited avenues to investigate the market and Real Estate agents prior to placing a For Sale sign in front of your home. This is a great way to prepare and acquire knowledge, but it cannot provide the sort of hands-on expertise you might get from a real professional who has experience of the market in your area.
The Internet also provides a sort of screen for a while, allowing you to research options without having to make a commitment. It is a bit like walking into a department store and hoping to find everything you need without being accosted by the sales clerk. You know you may not have the courage to send him or her away, yet you need your space and you are certainly capable of finding your own way and making your own decisions.
It is not quite that simple with Real Estate. Of course there is the concern that once you reach out to an agent to ask for information you may begin to receive follow-up calls. It is perfectly normal business practice for them to try to be of service to you and, yes, to seek your business. So, how will you know when to say “no”? Is it rude? How do you select an agent?
First, rest assured that reaching out to an agent does not mean you are in any way obligated to work with him or her. Agents who have responded to inquiries by sellers on Real Estate forums regarding these concerns respond unanimously: Take the time to fully assess your needs. Then, approach at least two or three Real Estate agents in your area. Interview them. Is their expertise in line with your needs? Who is providing you with the most helpful information? Who is really listening and reflecting back to you, by way of information or recommendations, that they understand your needs?
Essentially, the moment you begin conversation with a Real Estate agent you are entering a business transaction; not a contract, but a transaction nonetheless, one requiring decorum from both parties. Your part as the seller is to be to the point and respect the agent’s time and energy. Most agents will go out of their way to assist you, even if they are not certain you will give them your listing. It is a people-person business; it is in their nature to be of service.
The Internet is a resource for knowledge and a fantastic communication tool to exchange documents, photos and correspondence with the Real Estate professional who represents your property.
Sellers and buyers are better informed than ever, thanks to extensive resources at their fingertips. Each source of information complements the others, but rarely replaces them.