If you are not able or willing to sell your home yourself, you’ll need to find a real estate agent. A realtor is someone who deals with all of the hassles involved in selling your home in exchange for a fee of up to 7% of the selling price.
The hassles include marketing, an objective price analysis, advertising on the internet and in newspapers, providing a yard sign, negotiating the sale price, reviewing and filling out the contracts, and navigating the entire process for you. The aren’t meaningless duties, so make sure you are getting what you pay for. You need to find the right realtor for you.
The key to to ask questions, particularly the right questions. You can ask the wrong ones if you’d like, but they tend not to help much.
Helpful questions include:
- “Can I call your previous clients?” If the answer is no, run away! If the answer is yes, get the list and call them.
- “Have you sold any homes near here recently?” Get the names and numbers of the customers and call them. Find out how it went and what they wish would have happened differently. If the realtor hasn’t sold nearby homes recently, keep looking.
- “Will you put your sales strategy in writing?” If it’s not in writing, you may be left paying the full commission, without getting the full promised service.
- “What will you tell a potential buyer that wants to negotiate?” Make sure you and your realtor are on the same page.
Now for some secrets that realtors will not volunteer.
- The selling fee is negotiable. If you live in a popular development, or if nearby homes have sold quickly, you should be able to get your fee reduced a couple of points.
- You don’t have to sign an exclusive listing agreement. With an exclusive agreement, you will pay the realtor a fee if the house sells. Period. With a non-exclusive agreement, you can list with several agents and only pay the one who actually sells your house. If you find the buyer, you won’t pay a selling commission at all.
Selling your house can be intimidating and realtors are there to make the task easier for you. Have you had any problems with real estate agents?