Info For Sellers
You’ve made the big decision to sell your home. Now, you have to find a REALTOR®. Or do you? In the back of your mind, is there a little thought that maybe you can do it yourself and save paying that commission? Think again. There are many good reasons why this is not a time to go it alone. For most of us, buying or selling a home is one of the biggest single transactions we will be involved in as well as one of the most complex with stringent legal requirements.
What A Realtor® Can Do For You
Time is money! Selling your home yourself will involve long hours of time and considerable expense to market the property. It’s also likely to take much longer to find a buyer and you will waste time because you can’t distinguish the serious prospects from the “browsers”. With specialized experience and knowledge REALTORS® have the skills to answer your questions and guide you through the process. They know market conditions and can evaluate how your home fits in the current market. Realtors® have valuable contacts in areas such as financing and should have a list of potential buyers on hand. As well, they are not emotionally involved with your home and so can be more objective about its value.
Setting the Right Price
A Realtor® will be able to help you set a realistic price that will appeal to buyers. As well, the REALTOR® will go over your home with you and advise you on how to get it ready for listing so you can get your best possible price.
Marketing is the Key
It’s important to get the word out – Your Home Is On The Market! A REALTOR® is an expert at knowing how to market your home to other Realtors® as well as prospective buyers. (There is a saying that to be successful in real estate you have to sell a home twice, once to other Realtors® and then to a buyer.) The costs involved in marketing your home are part of the service to you. The Realtor® will hold open houses and will have access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), web sites and other means of letting buyers know your home is available.
How do you find the Right REALTOR®?
Once you are convinced you need a Realtor® to help you sell your home, how do you go about finding the person who’s right for you? You need someone you trust, that you feel comfortable with and who understands your needs and wants. As important is that you find someone with the skills and expertise to sell your home quickly for the best price and the least hassle. Ask around: Ask friends, relatives or neighbors for recommendations. Check the newspaper ads to see who has listings in your area, look for real estate signs in your area. Realtors® often are experts in certain neighbourhoods or in certain clientele, such as seniors or first-time buyers.
Look for web sites – a “good” REALTOR® should have an Internet presence of their own. Decide if you want to go with a local firm (which may have great local contacts), or a large franchise firm with a national network behind them.
Interview some REALTORS® – Be prepared for the interview by deciding what your objectives are ahead of time, so you can let the prospective Realtors® know what you expect from them. Interview a number of Realtors® from different companies and find out what they have to offer, you will find differences in services between firms. During the interview make sure the REALTOR® is listening to you, asking intelligent questions and showing a genuine interest in you. Ask for references, and check them!
Here are some questions you might ask a prospective real estate Realtor®.
- How many years have they been in business? Experience certainly counts for a lot but on the other hand someone who is just starting out might be keener and will devote more time to selling your home.
- What professional training do they have?
- Are they a full-time Realtor®?
- What happens to you as a client when the realtor takes time off?
- Can you picture yourself spending significant time with this person as buying and selling a home takes time.
- How many listings do they currently have? More is better, but a REALTOR® can spread themselves too thin and as a result may not be able to give you the attention you deserve.
- How many listings did they have in the last 30 / 60/ 90 days, or in the last year? (Lots of listings means lots of calls from buyers)
- How many sales did they complete?
- How many contracts have they completed over their career? What kind of properties were these?
- Do they work alone or are they part of a team? You will want to meet the other team members and/or the assistant to make sure you would be comfortable working with them, too.
- How many potential buyers do they talk to in a day or a week?
- Do they market their properties aggressively to other top REALTORS®?
- Will they stay in touch with information, updates and suggestions?
- How can you (and prospective buyers) reach them? Do they have e-mail, a cell phone, and voice mail?
- Do they require that you sign a contract with them for a specified length of time? If so, how long?
- If you are moving out of town, can they refer you to a top buyer’s Realtor® in your new location? Will they assist with your relocation plans?
- If you are staying in the area and wish to purchase a new home, can they also act as your buyer’s REALTOR®? What marketing tools do they have available?
- Do they have a referral network that makes your listing available to buyers from around the country and the world?
- Do they advertise regularly in local newspapers and magazines and on local cable TV?
- Is there any limit on how often your home will appear in their ads? Conclude by asking an open-ended question like “What else would you like to tell me about yourself and your career?”
Narrowing down the field
Some experts advise that after an initial interview you should narrow your choice down to two or three people then ask for a formal presentation that includes a market analysis with selling prices of homes similar to yours. Don’t forget to ask them for an overview of the marketing plan they would use to sell your home. By the end of this process, you should be able to choose a Realtor® that you are comfortable working with. Then you can get on with the process of selling your home.
Selling your home is a crucial event in the financial life of you and your family. You need to make sure that you realize the best price possible for your home. Depending on current market conditions a good REALTOR® should be able to work with you to make that happen. Do your homework before choosing the right REALTOR® and you’ll reap the financial rewards when you sell your home!