A home is a big asset. There is a lot of money on the table with any transaction. The minute your home listing hits the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), time starts ticking, so make sure that you have the right person and brokerage on your side to give your home the right exposure and selling opportunity that it deserves.
Let’s Look at a Few Things to Consider When Selling a Home
Real Estate Agent vs. Realtor – Is There A Difference?
In short YES. One only holds a license, while the other, REALTOR® is a federally registered collective membership mark which identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Realtors are held to higher standards in the industry and must obey the Code of Ethics.
Experience in Problem Solving
Let’s face it. We all know at least one real estate agent. The hotter the real estate market gets, the more people are lured into the profession by the idea of quick and easy money. The explosion of real estate reality TV where mansions are sold with only a call or a quick showing, where buyers, sellers, and agents are seen partying and celebrating, is an all to common site nowadays. The shows are definitely fun and make for great TV, BUT the real estate reality is actually quite different when transactions are processed off-screen. Champagne doesn’t flow nearly as much, and almost every transaction hits a roadblock at some point. Things are always rosy at the beginning when an offer comes in. The price looks great, the terms are good, and both buyers and sellers are happy at the moment. However, this euphoria can quickly disappear when problems arise during the inspections, escrow process, buyer’s financing, and even when cash offers are involved. When things go wrong, and emotions run high, your agent’s and their team’s ability to resolve all the issues is critical. That’s when experience and training matters!
Take the Emotion Out of the Transaction
It may be easier said than done. After all, it’s your house, but your goal is now to sell the house, so keep the transaction as businesslike as possible. That’s where a good agent will come in handy. The real estate agent is a third party brought into the transaction. They have no emotional connection to the house or its belongings. However, your agent will have to be able to work under pressure, when emotions do run high due to circumstances. It’s similar to the nurses and doctors who work in the ER. While there is chaos around them, their clear thinking and staying on task often saves the life of the patient. They can not cave under pressure. Your agent needs to be able to navigate the process while staying cool and thinking quickly. Knowing what to do under pressure will move the sales process forward, no matter what may be happening at a given step.
Get the House in Order
As a Seller, once you decide to put your house up for sale, you should start making preparations to declutter, pack, clean, and if necessary paint, and prepare your home for showings. A home that’s clean and tidy, will be inviting to potential Buyers. Depersonalize the home as well. Take personal pictures and trinkets out of the home. The goal is to make the home ready for the new owners and allow them to visualize their belongings and pictures in the house.
What Kind of Advertising are You Expecting?
Is a sign in the front yard enough, or are you expecting more? Be careful in assuming anything. Ask about your Realtor’s advertising strategy. There is a HUGE difference in what each agent does or knows what to do, and you need to know how your home will be advertised. The truth is that almost every listing goes on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and the listings do go to some national portals as a result. That’s not an advertising strategy. At this point, that’s just standard for everyone. So what are they doing differently that will bring additional exposure to your property? What is their above and beyond the post in the yard and the MLS?
- Advertising begins with professional photography. Demand it. No home or condo in this day and age should be photographed with an iPhone. I’m sure that you have seen enough bad real estate pictures, and you don’t want your home to be that house with the bad pictures. Beautiful photography brings people in. Bad photography makes people skip listings, no matter how nice the home may be in real life. They will never get to see it if the pictures make the home look bad.
- Is your home showcase ready for a 3-D tour? People love seeing the whole house vs just parts of it in pictures. Check to see if this is available for you.
- Drone photography? It may not apply to every home or condo, but it can be very effective in showing the community or the property.
- Video? Were you considering a video of your property?
- Newspapers and publications? Are you expecting to showcase our home in print advertising
- Do you want to see your home on Zillow, Facebook, Google, Instagram? That’s where people spend the majority of their online time. What does that advertising strategy look like? How are the ads going to appear there? An agent that has a plan, will be happy to share that with you. Contrarily, you will quickly discover when someone doesn’t have a plan or understanding of the digital real estate environment. It’s so important nowadays. You have to have it, and you have to be asking these questions or your listing will not be receiving all the exposure that it deserves.
- How is the brokerage advertising supporting the agent’s efforts? What can you expect from the brokerage that will represent you? Just as each agent is different, each brokerage is too. Some offer almost zero services, so don’t expect much, while others will blast your listing to thousands of their clients and prospective buyers. Which one would you rather have? As a Seller who is paying commission to the broker and the agent, ask all of these questions.
Hiring Friends and Family
There is absolutely nothing wrong with hiring your friends or family members to assist you with the sale of your home. In fact, it may be a memorable experience for both parties. Just keep in mind, that this is a business transaction above all, and one where your money is involved. Stress and emotions can get in the way, and sometimes ruin perfectly good relationships. It has happened many times all across the US.
Is your relationship the kind where you can tell each other anything and not get offended, or do you feel that someone’s feelings may be hurt? Are you considering hiring your friend or family member because you like them, and not because of their experience? This is something that only you can answer. If you have doubts, step back for a moment and look at your expectations for the entire home selling process. Above all, choose to hire the right person for the job based on your needs and their contribution to your transaction. As long as they are right for the job, you’re good to go!
Staying in the Loop
How will your Realtor communicate with you? Are they easy to reach, weekends included? Are you going to be receiving regular updates? As a Seller, you want to be in the know. This may not mean daily communication, but regular updates are a must. You should also be able to easily reach your Realtor, and expect a call back within 24 hours. Establish that early on in your meetings with the Realtor who you are considering hiring. It will make the process smoother for you.
The home sale process is a complex transaction. It may appear easy from the outside looking in, but it involves contractual obligations, deadlines, and multiple parties (buyers, sellers, lenders, escrow, title, inspectors, contractors, attorneys, etc) all working together to come to a successful closing. It is important that the Seller takes some time to hire the right professional for them. It is also equally important that the house is prepped to go on the market. At the minimum clean and decluttered. First impressions are important. Every detail matters.