What should a real estate agent do to sell your home?
When that ‘For Sale’ sign goes up in front of the house down the street in your neighborhood, and it comes down just a week later, you can almost guarantee that a real estate agent put in a lot of hard work. Homes don’t sell themselves, and in order for your home to be bought at top dollar during your time frame, you’d be wise to employ a REALTOR® to help make it happen. The home selling process involves many steps, and a good agent will go above and beyond to make the one-week scenario a reality. So how do you know which real estate agent to choose? Use the following standards as a guide in finding your agent.
Getting to Know You, The Seller
Just as it’s important to have a quality relationship with your agent when purchasing a home, it’s equally important when selling. You should feel comfortable and confident when speaking with your agent and they should ask you questions about your current situation and reasons for selling. Someone who plans to move in six months for a new job does not want their home sold in a few weeks. However, someone else may have been trying to sell their home for a year already on their own and just wants to be done with the process as soon as possible. A good relationship with clear communication will increase the likelihood of a sale. Plus, an agent should have plenty of contacts, so if you’re moving to a different location, they may know a reliable agent in your new area.
Determining Price and Marketing Your Property
Once you’ve built a solid relationship with your agent, it’s time to talk about the property. Not only should your agent take down the basic info (e.g., 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage, etc.), but they should really get to know it inside and out. This requires examining the home in person and talking with you about any updates or issues. A seasoned real estate agent will then be able to help you price your home appropriately by conducting a comparative market analysis (CMA) to determine fair market value. A CMA is not an appraisal, but rather an estimate of a reasonable price based on the property’s features compared to like properties in the area, including ones that recently sold, are still on the market, and have expired.
After discussing this suggested listing price with you, your agent should also make suggestions for various improvements you can make to increase the value. After settling on a price, your agent should list your home in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and across the other real estate listing platforms for maximum exposure. Once the listing is up, your agent should market your home non-stop. This includes for sale signs in your yard, advertising on websites and social media accounts, sending mailers and flyers to select individuals and locations, and passing the information to all office contacts. To sell a home quickly, marketing is key.
Presenting Your Property to Interested Buyers
The presentation of your home to interested buyers is directly tied in to the marketing your agent should be doing. Your agent should either be able to assist in staging your home and photographing it, or have contacts that are professionals in both fields (staging being the cleaning and organizing of each room and outside to best show off your home both for listing images and during showings). Professional looking images of your clean, clutter-free property will dramatically increase the interest from outside parties. Your agent will most likely hold open houses on the weekends and drive traffic with for sale signs from busy streets directing them to your home. They should also inform their office contacts and interested parties of the date and time of the open houses. When your agent is contacted by interested parties directly from the marketing materials they’ve sent out, they will set up showings to give them a more personalized tour of the home.
Negotiating and Closing the Deal
Hopefully, if your agent has done a spectacular job up to this point and market conditions favor the seller, you will receive multiple offers on your home. In this situation, the seller tends to look only at offering price and wants to go with the highest bidder. There are, however, several other factors that should be taken into account, such as the financing each offer has associated with it, if there are any all-cash offers, or if the offers include any additional addenda that would require added costs or work for the seller. Most sellers even take into account the personal story of the potential buyers, as they want their previous home to be in good hands. Not only will a real estate agent help you determine which offers are best, but they will also be able to negotiate the terms and price in a back-and-forth discussion with the other agent. At the same time, your agent should be able to walk you through the various offer scenarios, making sure you understand the hidden costs associated with the sale of your home so you aren’t in the dark about the amount of money you’ll walk away with from the sale.
Thinking One Step Ahead
Congratulations! At this point, you’ve accepted an offer and all of the closing paperwork has gone through. You’ve officially sold your home, but did you remember to take care of everything else that goes along with moving? The right real estate agent for you will not only take care of all the steps above, but they will consistently work with you so you are fully prepared for this step of the process. They should not have abandoned you just because they closed the deal! A few of the not-so-thought-of items on this list include notifying your bank, credit card carriers, and post office of your new address, updating your insurance coverage, disconnecting utilities and receiving partial refunds when possible, having a moving company lined up for your move, cleaning and packing your home including large appliances, and scoping out new schools, doctor’s offices, and work commutes for your new location. You should also carry jewelry and important documents with you, plan for your pets’ transportation, double check your home one last time for left items, and leave your keys with your agent when you move out. Once you’re at your new home, you’ll also need to set up utilities and obtain a new driver’s license with your new state/address. A lot to remember on your own!
Selling your home can be difficult, from both a process and personal point of view. A great real estate agent will be by your side the entire time so you can stay focused on the journey that lies ahead.