Getting ready to sell your house can be a tumultuous process. Finding the right real estate agent to help you is critical. Before committing to any specific agent, here are the top 10 questions you should ask your potential realtor before signing any contracts.
It’s important to know as much as you can about a real estate agent. Experience isn’t just about years in the business; it’s about years in the city or town where you are trying to sell your home. You also should ask for references from previous clients. The more an agent is willing to tell you, and the more you can learn, the more confident you can be when choosing which agent to work with.
An agent may have just moved to town and is looking to build his business, but if he can’t back up his statements and the territory is still unfamiliar, it might be a good choice to look at someone who is more established and has cultivated a reputation in your region for their strong sales and knowledge of the area.
These days, technology dominates the real estate market. In addition to standard methods, it is now common to try and sell your house online, and you want an agent who understands how to put that technology to use. In addition to the standard sign in front of the house, or ad in the newspaper, according to a 2016 survey by the National Association of Realtors, 95% of real estate firms’ websites featured property listings. In addition, many realtors and real estate firms take to social media and post their promoted properties on their pages. Talk to your prospective agent about their marketing methods and techniques to make sure you get the full picture of how they will help sell your house fast.
There are two pieces of data a real estate agent should be able to present up front: a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), as well as their own list price to sales price ratio. The first document, a CMA will provide a breakdown of the prices that houses in your city have sold for recently, and can be a starting point for determining how to price your home so it fits the market. The second ratio lets you know more about the realtor’s success rate, and how they handle price negotiations with regards to price differences. In addition, your agent should be knowledgeable regarding the taxes you pay when selling your house. All of this information can be quite revealing about the person with whom you might trust the sale of your house.
From the moment a real estate agent sets foot on your property, their thoughts should be on what needs to be done in order to make selling your house as easy as possible. This can be anything that will help with staging your home to sell, from improving its curb appeal, to changing internal paint colors, to simple organization tips. Depending on the condition of your house, it might also be worth it to discuss if it is worth selling your house as is, as opposed to investing a significant amount of money into repairs. All real estate agents should be able to look at your house immediately and tell you what needs to be done on a surface level to improve your house for sale.
Every market has a target selling period that is the best time of year to sell a house. For some, it depends on weather conditions; for others, it could be economic conditions. Nevertheless, there tends to be a reliable calendar of real estate trends for buying and selling, and your agent should be able to pin down the ideal period for you to list your house to decrease its time on the market.
Nobody enjoys bringing up the issue of money, but it is a necessary evil. Find out how much the agent charges in fees, and also if they offer any guarantees in case a house does not sell within a certain time frame.
Between home visits, updates on progress in the market, and other details, you need to look for a reliable agent. Digital communication seems to be dominating the communication process these days. According to the previously referenced 2016 report from the National Association of Realtors, 94% of realtors communicate via email, 91% by phone, and 90% by text messages. Whether they are available 24/7 or not depends on your need or urgency, but think of how often you want them to check in and update you on their status and the way they are working to promote your home. This again will be determined by how fast you need to sell your home, and how much effort you want or need to put into the process of selling.
There are many steps to selling a house, and unfortunately, paperwork is one of them. A lot of documents will be put in front of you when it comes time to sell your house. It’s best not to sign them blindly. A trusted agent will explain to you what you are signing, and if you are still unsure, you should speak to another trusted official before signing any documents. If an agent is giving you documents with blank spaces they say they will fill in later, be wary of working with that person because most likely they aren’t telling you everything. As Broker-Associate Elizabeth Weintraub points out, every home seller should see the following three documents: the Agency Disclosure, the Listing Agreement, and the Seller Disclosures.
This is the question that makes the discussion almost more like an interview, but it is still important to ask. There are awards in the real estate industry, as well as rankings among agents in different territories. It’s ok for the agent to brag here: let them make the best impression possible for you, so that you know that you are not settling for less than you deserve.
It never hurts to do your own homework and ask these straightforward questions about selling a house. It shows your commitment to the home selling process and can be the start of building a relationship between you and your real estate agent. The more you ask, the more you can be sure that you chose the right real estate agent to sell your house.
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