What Do Smart Sellers Need to Know?
Let’s be honest, selling a home is a huge undertaking and you shouldn’t go into it blindly. Understand your rights and responsibilities, and your transaction will go more smoothly and be less stressful for you and your family.
10 Things a Seller Should Know Before Hiring a Realtor:
1. All Realtors are NOT the same.
Make sure you hire someone who is experienced in the local market, is a seasoned negotiator and has a track record of bringing transactions to a close. Many things can happen from the time you place your home on the market until the day you sit at a closing table. A qualified Realtor will help navigate these waters. And quite frankly, some real estate agents simply work harder than others. Hire one that will work hard for you. You should know how long on average it takes a realtor to sell a listing. This information is readily available from the Real Estate Board. This performance measurement will help you predict how long your home will be on the market before it sells. Finally, ask for references. A real estate professional has plenty.
2. Know what is going on in your local market and in your own neighborhood.
Real Estate prices are based on what is going on locally. Trends in the market are simply based on supply and demand. With this said, realize that an increase of foreclosure in the market, increases the inventory, which drives down home prices. It would be wise to ask your prospective realtor about current foreclosure inventories.
3. How much do you need to net on your home?
Make sure you know your current mortgage balance (to be paid off at closing) and all of the costs involved in selling your home. An experienced realtor will have no problem helping you understand these costs before you hire them.
4. The seller pays the real estate sales commission, not the buyer. There is very little exception to this rule.
5. Condition of the home matters significantly, especially when inventories are high and buyers have lots of homes to choose from.
Take a hard look at your home and make those necessary repairs – mechanical and cosmetic.
6. Your home may not be priced at the amount you feel it is worth, especially in today’s marketplace.
Therefore the projected price of your home may not cover what you currently owe on your house. You may have to concede on what you think your home is worth based on the agent’s best estimate of your home’s value. Ultimately the market will determine the value of a home. If it is less than you owe and you need to sell, you may want to consider a short sale. Be aware of a questionable sales practice called “buying a listing.” This is when an agent is willing to start your listing out at “your price” not market value and agrees to drop price later. By suggesting that you might get a higher sales price than other agents recommend, this agent is buying the listing. Most likely, he is quite doubtful that your home will actually sell at the listed price. The intention from the beginning is to eventually talk you into lowering the price. Why do some agents "buy" listings this way? There are basically two reasons. A well-meaning and hard working agent can feel pressure from a homeowner who has an inflated perception of his home’s value. On the other hand, there are some agents who engage in this sales practice routinely.
7. Understand that you’re only legally obligated to an agent if that agent fulfills his legal and contractual obligation to you.
If at any time an agent violates your confidence, continually does nothing to promote your home or in any other way violates your agreement, then you can legally fire him. It is best, however, if you and your agent can jointly agree to dissolve the contract.
8. Know how your home will be marketed.
Most buyers today access the internet as their first stop for home shopping. How much time, energy and money does the realtor allocate to internet marketing? Assure that the realtor you choose has a diverse arsenal of marketing strategies that have been proven to be effective in your market. Look for special ideas, consistency and persistence in their marketing plan. Also make sure that there is a system for tracking and follow-up with all parties who show interest in your home.
9. Make sure that the realtor that you entrust the sale of your home to can also be a resource for the entire process.
You will likely need referrals for reputable companies that work in the real estate industry, such as: a closing company, lender, appraiser, contractor, mortgage lender, banker or real estate attorney. A reputable agent will have on-going relationships with other reputable companies in the industry and happily give you referrals.
10. Smart realtors guarantee their services.
They do this for two reasons. First they are confident that they can perform for you because of their experience, commitment, and work ethic. Second it is smart marketing for an agent to guarantee his/her services. These days, nearly everyone offers a guarantee – television manufacturers, car dealerships, even banks offer guarantees. Real Estate Agents on the cutting edge of marketing guarantee their services.