When you decide to sell your home, there are several important decisions you must make. The first, most important decision is whether or not you will try to market on your own, or if you will elect to list the property with a real estate agent. If you sell your home without professional assistance, you must do your own advertising, and of course you must show it yourself, conduct negotiations with potential buyers, research comparable listings and prior sales, and handle the required documentation. If you are unfamiliar with any of these processes, you could be doing yourself a disservice. In addition, you will have strangers walking through your house who may not be qualified buyers because they will not have been pre-screened by a professional. Real estate agents are trained to screen their clients prior to showing them houses for sale. They do not take their clients to every home on the market, but limit searches to homes in the right price range that have the amenities their clients are seeking. Often when they see a home listed for sale, they will contact the listing agent to ensure that the home would be a good fit for the potential buyer. This is where your broker will assist you in pre-screening, eliminating all the "lookie-loos" out there who have no interest or intention of buying your home. How should you decide which real estate broker to hire once you have decided to go that route? Many people will choose to hire a friend or relative to sell their home believing the prior relationship will guarantee better service. Before you do this, remember the old adage "be careful about doing business with friends or relatives." Before you sign a contract with any broker, it is wise to get referrals from friends, relatives, or recent home sellers. Invite several brokers to see your house, compare their marketing plans, and suggested listing prices. Ask to see a comparative market analysis (CMA) to evaluate the suggested listing prices you hear. Remember that a realistic asking price is more likely to get your house sold more quickly, so don't select your listing agent based solely on the suggested sales price. It is good to interview several people before you make a decision. Some people believe that brokers who have many years in the business will provide the best service. While this is often true, be sure to ask if your broker will actually be handling your sale personally, or will your home sale be turned over to a less experienced team. The internet has become a huge source of advertising for many real estate professionals. Make sure that the person or company you select is not only a member of a multiple listing service (MLS), but will also use some of the multitude of other internet sites available, such as social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, and alternative listing sites such as Craigslist and Trulia. Discuss the marketing plan. Generally you should expect bold signage in front of your home as well as at important cross streets, advertising as listed above, good photos and virtual tours at least on the MLS listing, and hosted open houses to generate interest. Don't be offended if your broker suggests repairs or clean up to help your house become more appealing to buyers. Some repairs are inexpensive, such as painting, but can help your home show better to prospective buyers who are seeking turn-key purchases. Last, but certainly not least, discuss the commission expected from each prospective professional. Commissions can vary from as little as 1% to 7% depending on services provided and the broker's agency affiliation agreement. Sometimes you can negotiate a better rate for fewer services, but a top real estate agent may be worth the commission he asks so balance your concerns carefully. Of special importance here is the agent commission split. Make sure that the commission that will be paid to the buyers' broker is high enough so your house will actually be shown by other real estate professionals.