Pick a Realtor with common sense (and basic literacy)

If you're looking to sell your house, picking the right real estate agent is one of the most important things you can do.

How do you evaluate Realtors? Of course you should look to friends and family for referrals, and try to find someone in your area who has a lot of experience and a track record of success. But another thing you should do is go on their websites and take a look at how they are marketing the homes they currently have the listings for.

More to the point: Don't hire a complete moron to sell your house.

A cool site for examples of exactly the kinds of Realtors you don't want to hire is LovelyListing.com, a frequently updated blogsite featuring photos and advertising copy that would make just about anyone shudder. Take a look at the picture above, for example, where the seller has decided that the best place in the house to display her doll collection is right next to the toilet.

Now I'm not one to judge anyone's taste in decor -- but I think the vast majority of would-be homebuyers would find this display tacky at best and possibly more than a little bit creepy. A real estate agent who is so brain-dead and/or lazy that it wouldn't occur to him or her to take the dolls out of the bathroom photo is probably not the person you want trying to sell your house. Some other things to watch out for:
  • Listings that feature blatant spelling and grammatical errors are indicative of haste and a lack of attention to detail -- two things that do not good real estate agents make.
  • Lousy photographs: Most buyers look at homes online these days and then tell their agent which ones they want to see -- so good photographs are absolutely critical. You want to hire a real estate agent who uses a high-quality camera and takes good pictures -- and isn't afraid to do a little staging along the way. If an agent's listing photos features scattered toys and cluttered counter tops, you probably want to find someone else.
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