If you have gone through the process of buying a home then you understand many steps of working with a realtor however when selling your home you want to get the most money for your house that you can. This means you have to approach the process a little different then you would if you have money or a loan and just want to buy that nice house you found online, in the paper or driving around looking in places that you want to live.
The selling process is definitely much more difficult then buying because you are the one trying to get paid.
Finding a Realtor
One of the best ways to find a realtor is to keep your eyes open while living in your home.
Take note of which realtors in your neighborhood have the fastest turnover times.
Visit homes for sale and talk with the home owner and the realtor. Try to get some feedback about how the process is going if the home is in your neighborhood and then check the listing price vs the actual sale price in the local newspaper.
If you haven’t had the chance to visit homes for sale then you can still review newspaper listings to track performance of any local realtor. Most papers will list actual sale prices of homes in the government section and you can use these prices as comp prices when you list your home.
Once you find a realtor what do you need to know?
There are three steps to any sale. The offer, the acceptance and then the closing.
Prior to listing your home for sale you will need to contract with a Realtor to list your home. Most realtors are required to provide you with a complete disclosure of the documents you must agree to and the fees that you will have to pay but depending on the office you may find agents that are more or less helpful in the process.
The most important thing you want to find out in your first meeting is the fee structure. Each realtor has the ability to change their fees based on what you agree to. If you have special circumstances you can always work with a realtor to set fees that you can agree with. This is especially true when you are selling a home at a loss.
You may want to write into your agreement that if your sale price drops or if there is a delay in the sale for an extended period of time that the realtor will lower their fees. There use to be a time when realty companies actually bought homes that they could not sell in a year but don’t expect this service today. If they do make an offer it will be at a dramatically lower price then you are asking which will make you question if their inability to sell your home was because they wanted to buy it. This will for the most part be untrue unless you contract with a thief.. but it will have you question their ethics.
If you are performing a straight sale you will need to set forth all of the requirements of the sale. Many buyers will submit offers based on allowances for upgrades they expect to make however there is no reason that you should agree to them if it means you will lose money.
Tell your realtor up front the amount you want to list your home at. If the realtor tells you your price is too high then ask them to show you why. If they can satisfy you then make an adjustment.
Always keep this fact in your mind Realtors get paid when they sell homes. They get paid a percentage of your sale price. Realtors will try to get the best price for your home but in the end because they only make a percentage of the sale price if you lose $50,000 on your house it only means a few hundred dollars to them.
They may be on your side .. but you have much more to lose when a realtor drops your price and tries to make you agree to terms that can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in closing costs, fees and taxes.
Before you agree to a long term listing package with any realtor make sure you understand the terms of the agreement. Make sure that if you can not backout of the agreement for listing that you have ways to reduce your exposure and costs.