Selling your home generally goes one of two ways: smooth, easy and profitable, or a long, bumpy ride, riddled with stress and an unhappy ending. A key element in any successful sale is to work with a real estate agent that knows their business.
When looking for an agent, be sure to weigh up your choices and interview several candidates. Once you’ve found one you feel comfortable with, it’s well worth firing off another round of probing questions. The more you ask, the more likely you are to get that dream sale—read on for some tips.
What Are Your Credentials?
Ask about their experience and credentials, noting that they should be fully qualified and up-to-date with the latest regulations. There are many part-time agents out there, but if you’re serious about selling, it’s best to stick with someone who lives and breathes real estate.
Don’t be shy about discussing their recent work history. How many properties have they listed in the past 6 months? How many have they sold in the same period and how long do they typically stay on the market? Take time to consider the answers—while on paper an agent who has sold a lot of properties in a short amount of time sounds great, it’s worth seeing whether they got a good price each time or sold cheap and fast.
Do You Know the Neighborhood?
When selling a home, you’re also selling a dream—an idea of the life the new owner can have. Find out how much your agent knows about the neighborhood, from the newest developments and local amenities to where to get the best bagels. These small details can go a long way when convincing a potential buyer to sign. Ensure also that they’re up-to-date with the state of the local market.
How Will You Determine the Listing Price?
Getting the right price for your property is essential and your agent should be able to get the fine balance just right. Have they got a good grasp of how many similar properties have sold recently and at which price? Knowing these statistics ensures they can come up with an appealing list price that won’t leave your home languishing on the market for months on end.
How Much Will It Cost Me to Sell?
The key to reducing stress during the sale of your home is to know what’s happening and avoid any unpleasant surprises. By discussing the additional costs of selling your home with your agent, you’re better able to make plans and work out a budget. Consider closing costs such as legal fees, inspections and taxes. Finally, discuss the commission with your agent—typically 5-6% of the final sale price, though this is negotiable.
What’s Your Sales Plan?
You need to be sure your agent has a solid sales plan. Ask what methods they intend to employ to market your house—will they take professional-looking photos, or maybe even a video? Do they plan to use social media or create a unique website, and which listing services do they aim to use? Marketing is key to a quick and profitable sale, so be sure your agent knows how to go the extra mile—and won’t be content to just stick a sign on your yard.
What Can I Do to My Home to Increase its Value?
There are a number of little tips and tricks you can use to increase the value of your home but ask your agent how far they think you should go. A declutter and a lick of paint may do the job. Many sellers consider re-fitting the kitchen and bathroom, but this may not necessarily pay off in your case. Your agent should be able to give you an idea of what will work best for you without breaking the bank.
What’s in the Listing Agreement?
You will need to sign a real estate listing agreement when selling your home. This legally binding document will give your agent the authority to sell your home—so it’s well worth knowing what’s included in the terms and conditions. Before you sign, ask your agent to go through the document with you, discussing the commission fee, the length of the appointment and the marketing steps the agent will make to sell your home.
Once you’ve interrogated your agent, there’s just one last question to ask yourself: ‘am I comfortable with this agent?’ It’s vital that you feel at ease and confident in your agent’s ability. A stress-free relationship with an agent that knows what they’re doing not only improves your chances of getting the best price for your home in a timely manner, but also ensures the journey is smooth and pleasant.