When you choose a real estate agent to sell your home, you are entering into a relationship that will hopefully benefit both of you. In exchange for a modest commission, the agent should represent your financial and legal interests in a sale as well as work on your behalf to market your home and coordinate with the buyer.
Before you jump in and a hire a real estate agent, what should you do?
1. Interview Several Agents
According to a 2016 report by the National Association of Realtors, sixty-four percent of home sellers contacted only one agent before contracting with a agent to sell a property. Most sellers work with an agent recommended by a friend or one they have worked with in the past. You will be working closely with this person so it's important to have a good match in both personality and knowledge. Your waterfront home, for example, is best handled by someone who understands the market and check lists of this style of home.
In order to find the best match, new sellers should interview agents until they can feel comfortable with one. These interviews may be in the form of in-office meetings or phone calls but the opportunity to make a personal contact with an agent prior to signing a contract can help a seller make an educated choice.
2. Discuss Home Pricing
One of the most important facets of a successful home sale is the listing price. If the price is too low, it might generate a great deal of interest and lead to a bidding war. More likely, a low price will lead to a home that sells below its value and leaves the seller short on profit. If the price is too high, many buyers will ignore it in their home search.
The average buyer looks at only 10 properties before making a decision. With hundreds or thousands on the market, a listing price that is just right to generate interest in the market while not underselling the home's value. Sellers should discuss their financial expectations with the listing agent as well as the factors they take into consideration when setting a list price.
3. Prioritize Concerns
While sellers should interview more than one agent, they should be mindful of the agent's time as well. Until there is a signed contract, the real estate agent is not obligated to work on behalf of a seller. Instead of asking every possible question in an exhaustive interview, sellers should prioritize their concerns and ask their most critical questions. These could include
What recommendations would you make to sell a home in this market?
How should I prepare the home before it is listed?
How do you determine a recommended listing price?
How long do your listings stay on the market on average?
How long have you been in real estate?
What are the top three things an agent can do to market a home?
Can I speak to some of your past clients who would recommend you?
4. Be Honest
Ultimately, a home sale, whether it's in Bay Head or elsewhere, is a significant financial transaction. In order to do their best work, an agent will need as much financial information from the seller as possible. Suggested items include:
Exactly how much is owed on the existing mortgage, home improvement loans or lines of credit. This information helps the agent know if the transaction will be a short sale.
Detailed information on any upgrades including the age of mechanicals, roofing, windows or other improvements which helps the agent market and price the home accordingly.
Any mechanical, contractor, or tax liens that are on the property and their exact value. It's easiest to sell an unencumbered property. Identifying any possible disputes ahead of time can help get them resolved prior to listing the property.
The seller's motivation for selling. Some sellers are highly motivated due to upcoming family changes, job changes, or financial reasons. Being honest from the outset with the agent can help align a seller's expectations with the way the agent markets and prices the home.
Ultimately, no matter why a seller chooses a particular real estate agent, they need to choose someone they can take advice from and work with for the foreseeable future. The agent and seller will work closely over the course of several weeks or months to coordinate open houses, home showings, and the complicated financial requirements of a home sale. Sellers should look for an agent that puts them at ease, answers questions completely and easily, and has time to dedicate to their property.