While it may be tempting to attempt to sell your home without the help of a real estate agent, you may run into issues that cost you time and money if you continue that path. A real estate agent brings much to the table when you add one to your team. They can help you sell your home faster and for the best return on your investment. They can also help protect a home seller from legal difficulties and buyer loopholes when it comes to contracts. While not all agents are created equally, there are characteristics to look for when trying to find the right real estate agent to sell a home.
🙋♂️ Getting Referrals | Who Do You Know?
One of the best things to do when looking for a real estate agent is to check reviews and recommendations. You can find these online with ease, in most cases. You can also ask the real estate agent to provide recommendations to you during the interview process. Social networking has tapped into the power that comes with word-of-mouth, so you may find social media sources a valuable resource. You may want to speak to any family, friends, or co-workers who’ve had recent experience with selling a home.
📍 Specialties, Niches, and Locations
It’s common for real estate agents to specialize in various real estate aspects. Some agents work with residential clients exclusively. Other agents may have a broader range of clients and work with commercial clients, as well. Real estate agents can specialize in luxury homes, waterfront properties, condominium sales, and short sales. Some agents work closely with military households, relocating clients, or investors.
A real estate agent may work in a city, community, or neighborhood exclusively. One of the benefits of having a real estate agent when selling as home is their knowledge of the local trends when it comes to real estate. Choose a real estate agent who understands the type of home you are selling and is familiar with the location.
📝 What Your Agent Does for You
A real estate agent does more than just place a for sale sign in your front yard, but you may not understand exactly what they do during the home selling process. Setting up an interview meeting with the real estate agent will help when it comes to getting answers to important questions like what their role is in the process.
Set the Price: A real estate agent will get right to work on helping you discover the value of your property so that you can set the asking price correctly. The real estate agent will provide you with a comprehensive market value report that uses current real estate market data, local information, and details about any upgrades you’ve made to determine the value. With this report in hand, the agent will also consider information provided by an appraiser if you’ve decided to have a pre-appraisal completed. If there are ways to increase the value, your real estate agent will discuss those with you at this time.
While a real estate agent can’t tell you specifically what asking price to set on your home, they can provide valuable information and insight based on their experience in the area. You want to set the price correctly from the start to keep it from sitting on the market too long due to overpricing. You don’t want to lose money on your investment due to underpricing, either. While the agent’s goal is to help you sell your home as quickly as possible and for the most money, watch out for those who aren’t honest in those expectations that are based in the reality of the current market.
Interview Question: How will you help me determine the best asking price for my house?
Marketing Your Property: Your real estate agent has proven marketing methods, systems, and formulas that will be used to place your home’s listing in front of as many potential buyers as possible. Marketing methods may include yard signs, printed flyers, classified ads, social media outreaches, database emails, open houses, and virtual tours. You’ll find that your agent is applying energy during this part of the process that is targeted at reaching potential buyers. When asking questions about marketing, the agent should have an answer ready for you that doesn’t come with a delay.
Interview Question: What is your marketing strategy for the sale of this home?
Showings: Once your real estate agent has the attention of potential buyers, it’s time for them to reach out and begin showing your home. They will schedule private showings and open houses. They may use a lock box that allows buyer’s agents to have access to the property when you aren’t at home. During showings, the agent will highlight features in your home and the surrounding area that may be if interest to the buyer. They will collect information that will be used to follow up with potential buyers.
You can help your real estate agent when it comes to showings and open houses by making sure your home is ready to be seen. You may want to stage your home in a way that appeals to a broad range of buyers. Keep things tidy and ready for visitors. On showing days, be sure to add fresh flowers, bake something amazing, or light a gentle-smelling candle. Set the mood for a sale.
Interview Question: What can I expect from showings? Will there be open houses, showings by appointments, or a lock box? Will I know in advance before someone comes to view the house?
Bids & Contracts: The real estate agent will review all offers on your home with you at length when they receive them. They will make sure you understand what is being suggested regarding the money involved, the timeline for closing, and any contingencies to expect. You’ll either accept the offer, decline the offer, or send back a counteroffer. The agent will help you create a reply with whichever option you choose. Once you’ve agreed on terms for the contract and all negotiations are complete, the signing of the contract takes place. During this time, ask your agent anything questions that you have about the process. They will help make things clear. As with setting the asking price, your agent is unable to tell you which offers to accept or decline. They can provide you with information and represent your interest, but you always make the decision.
Interview Question: How do you help me determine which is the best offer, or what contingencies should be negotiated?
Closing Day: Once an offer is accepted and the contract finalized, the buyer’s mortgage loan company will set up the services needed before closing day. Your home will be visited by surveyors, inspectors, and appraisers who will complete the services needed to move forward. Lenders will process the loan and escrow agents will request transfers. Title searches will be completed, and other administrative tasks will be set into motion. There will be a lot going on behind the scenes. The real estate agent makes sure that all the pieces are moving as they should to ensure you reach closing day on time. They will provide you with updates along the way and make sure you are informed about the process. Choosing a real estate agent with strong communication skills is important.
Interview Question: What is the projected timeline of tasks that take place between accepting an offer and closing day. What can you expect between now and the end of the transaction?
💡 Additional Interview Questions
You’ve gathered some interview questions based on services a real estate agent provides, but how else can you determine which agent is right for you? Ask the real estate agent to provide you with information from recent transactions that cover the original listing price, final sales price, days on the market, and price reductions for each.
List price is what the seller hopes to obtain. Final sales price is what the buyer was willing to pay. The number of days on the market gives you an idea of how long it may take to receive compelling offers, and the number of price reductions could clue you into problem areas that may prompt further questioning from you, such as why the house suffered on the market.
While it may seem natural to work with family members or friends, it may not be the best option. Mixing business with personal relationships can prove to be tricky in some cases, especially when there are large sums of money involved. You may find that damage done to the relationship just isn’t worth the risk when it comes to selling a home.
Listen for warning signs during the interview process. If an agent is promising you a set amount of money or a specific timeline for a sale, you may want to ask more questions and use caution. You want an agent who is honest and doesn’t try to oversell the results.
We mentioned the important of communication when selling a home. Choose an agent who has strong communication skills and understands your needs when it comes to the method of communicating and your expectations. Will the agent use texting or emails? How long does it take for the agent to respond to voicemails or text messages? How often can you expect to hear from them? Knowing these answers can save stress as you move further into the home selling process.
More than anything, you want a real estate agent that makes you feel comfortable when it comes to talking about your expectations and needs. Make a note of real estate agent who make you feel relaxed and at ease. If an agent makes you feel stressed or awkward, make a note and move on to another agent. Trust your instincts when it comes to working with someone who will be an intricate part of your life for several months.
🏡 Working as a Home Selling Team
You want a real estate agent on your team because of their knowledge and experience, but you want to keep in mind that what you’re working towards is a team effort. You are a big part of that team. Your real estate agent will work hard to provide services and do their part. They will be a guide, a strong negotiator, and someone who represents your interest. You can help them by always being honest and providing them with any information they need in a timely manner.
They will advise you when it comes to pricing, but in the end it’s your choice to set the asking price that you feel is best. However, keep their suggestions in mind so that you don’t end up sabotaging the sale with an unrealistic listing price.
Staging your home can be a helpful part of the process, and your real estate agent has experience with what works in your location. You’ll want to do your part to make sure the staging is completed and that the home is show ready.
When it comes to offers and negotiations, the real estate agent will offer information based on their experiences. As with setting the listing price, you have the final say on making decisions related to offer acceptance and terms of the contract. You can help during this part of the process by trying to remain objective.
Trying to save a few dollars when it comes to a commission by trying to sell a home on your own can end up costing you more money and time during the home selling process. A real estate agent will be a valuable part of the transaction and help with more than showing your home to potential buyers. They help with pricing, marketing, protecting your rights, representing your interests, and overseeing the process all the way to a successful closing day. When it comes to making a smart choice right from the start, choosing a real estate agent to sell your home is a key to success.