Timing is critical to get the best price for your home. Sometimes, as in a work transfer or when you are in extreme financial difficulty, your choice of timing may be very limited. In that case, your best choice is to get a good agent who will help you market your home effectively, and listen to his or her advice.
If you are not pressed to do something immediately, then take advantage of the market and list your house for sale during one of the months when the most houses sell in your area. Your agent can show you charts and graphs that will demonstrate whether this is February, June or September or some other month that works well in your area. This calendar is likely to vary from state to state, and even by area within a state. It is influenced by factors such as the months that military transfers are issued, when school starts, the start of tourist season, and multiple other factors that may be unique to your area.
If you put your house on the market at a time when few people are searching for homes in your area, it is likely to sit for a long time. You may say, "That's okay, I'm not in a hurry!" but you are hurting yourself with this attitude. Once a house has been on the market longer than is typical in your neighborhood, people will start to ask why. Is there a problem with this house that is driving buyers away? What hidden defects have others found that I might be missing? Are they going to build a prison in the backyard? It may not make a lot of sense, but that's what happens. If your home goes on the market the day before the snowstorm of the century, you are not likely to get many people coming through in the first few weeks. Waiting for milder weather might bring a faster conclusion to your sale.
A good agent won't push you to market your house right away if you have time to wait for a better time. Listen to the person you have chosen, check the statistics, and you will be able to sell your house as quickly as possible.
Finding a good agent that will be compatible with your personal style can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. There are plenty of good, honest agents out there, but finding one that "clicks" with your personality and weeding that agent out from others that may not be as competent or knowledgeable can be tricky.
If you are a type A personality, constantly working, checking the internet, insisting that everyone fall in line with your agenda, then you may be more comfortable with an agent who has the same style. sometimes called a "shark," this type of agent will aggressively market your home, give you lists of things to improve, and tell you decisively what will be most effective. This type of agent is usually a top producer and may end up having an assistant do most of the actual work of selling your house. The down side is that their aggressive nature may scare off some potential clients, and other agents may hesitate to work with them. Consider both sides of the coin when considering working with an aggressive agent.
If you are more laid back, or if you have a lot of questions, you may want to consider an agent who is more patient. This type of agent tends to spend more time with you, explain each step clearly, and listen to your questions without judging you for your lack of knowledge. It is likely that this agent will work directly with you and not turn you over to an assistant after you sign a listing agreement. This type of agent may or may not be a top producer, but can still be effective in getting the best price for your home. The down side of an agent who is patient and laid back is that you may not feel like he or she is working hard for you because of their calm attitude. This is usually a misconception, but you have no way of knowing for sure. Be sure that you have a great deal of trust in your agent if you choose a patient person.
Some people insist on using an agent who has sold millions of dollars in real estate each year and who has listings all over town at any given time. Although these agents have a proven track record and obviously get the job done, don't overlook the "new"agent.
A new agent will be hungry for business and is not likely to have many other clients. The result is that he or she will be able to concentrate on your property to the exclusion of all else. This can work to your benefit, as the agent has something to prove. While the experienced agent knows all the tricks of the trade, the new agent will have an enthusiasm that is hard to match. There will probably be a more experienced agent in the background as a mentor, as well. Consider your priorities when choosing and you will end up with the agent that is right for you.