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Smart Moves: Quality agent can be crucial

Home sellers should search for an agent who is “energetic, motivated, self-starting and go-getting”

by Ellen James Martin Published: December 22, 2012

“Whether you’re on the buyer’s or seller’s side of the table, there’s a tremendous amount of negotiation that goes on,” she said.

Housing bargains are harder to find than they were just a year or two ago. Still, many would-be homebuyers, as well as investors, continue to troll for deals. And these so-called “bottom fishers” are likely to offer a first bid well below the true market value of your property.

Sellers were once advised to merely dismiss such “lowball offers.” But if you live in a neighborhood where the supply of homes still exceeds demand, you may want to think twice. And a listing agent who is persuasive can sometimes bring a lowball bid up to a realistic level through skillful counteroffers.

Rittenhouse said one effective way for the listing agent to shape a strong counteroffer is with a comparative analysis of recent sales of similar homes in the same neighborhood.

Rittenhouse said savvy listing agents know to attach a written analysis of neighborhood values to any counter offer they submit on behalf of clients.

•Pick an agent with good interpersonal skills.

Crowley said many people underestimate the importance of choosing an agent whom they find personable. Yet it can be awkward and uncomfortable to go through the entire selling process with someone you dislike.

Also, Crowley said that hiring a listing agent who’s on favorable terms with others in the local real estate community can hasten your sale. That’s because real estate is a cooperative field, and your home is likely to be shown to more prospects if your agent is well-liked by peers.

To contact Ellen James Martin, email her at


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