This is the first article in my series called, Love Selling Your Home. You’ll get a thorough rundown of what you need to know to sell your home. It’s a step-by-step guide of the entire home-selling process — from finding a real estate agent to being prepared for your settlement day. Look for a new, informative article each week, right here!
The absolute first step to selling your home is finding a real estate agent. You want an agent that will not only sell your home for a great price and in a short amount of time, but also will make it an experience where you’ll walk away happy with the entire process.
Here’s what you need to consider when looking for an agent to sell your home:
Recommended by friends, family, and co-workers. They’ll give you honest, unfiltered feedback on what they went through and if they’d go with the same agent again (a key sign!). Check out any agent’s website and blogs to see if they are active and passionate about working with sellers. Remember, you don’t have to go with the first agent you meet. However, you’ll need to negotiate a listing contract once you start working with one. Usually, a listing contract is three to six months long, but may be longer in a slower market or for a higher-end home.
Specializes in the type of home you’re selling and your specific neighborhood. Even a great agent for your friend may not work for you because of your different criteria. Narrow down your search to real estate agents that sell similar homes and know your neighborhood well. They will know how to best market your home to draw in buyers who want to live in that type of home and are attracted to that location. This agent also will have a better idea of pricing and can work with you on getting a competitive listing price so you’re off to a great start. You want to attract buyers immediately and not have your home sit for too long!
Collaborates with other agents to give your home the inside edge. Your agent should be able to easily get the word out to buyers’ agents that your home is on the market before it hits the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Someone who interacts regularly with agents within your area and holds well-attended broker previews can help draw attention to your home. You need these buyers’ agents to know about your home upfront so they can bring in potential buyers for your home. Plus, being a member of Top Agent Network is a big advantage for an agent since it’s a private online community that exchanges valuable non-MLS information.
Takes the time to listen to you and discover what your goals are for selling your home. A good agent has the skills to ask you questions that can help them create the best marketing strategy for your specific home. Questions such as: “Do you have to sell quickly because of a job location?”; “Do you want the highest price possible to move up to your next home?”; and “What is the unique story about your home that we can tell to buyers?” Your answers to these types of questions can help your agent reach the right targeted buyer and clarify what your expectations, deal-breakers, and goals are for the sale. All of this is important to know once you reach the negotiation stage with buyers. This initial Q&A can take time, but it’s a step you don’t want to miss.
Provides a specific strategy for selling your home to the right target market. Your agent should give you the rundown on how they will market your home from start to finish. How will buyers be drawn to your home? And we’re not talking about the “curious” foot traffic at many open houses but rather the truly committed and willing buyers who are ready to make an offer on a home. Find out how they are reaching buyers online or through social media. Do they think an open house is productive for your home and why?
Gives honest feedback on how to make your home shine for buyers. A good agent will carefully walk through your home and provide guidance on whether updating, some freshening up, and/or staging is needed to make your home look its best. And, better yet, will then help you get it done with their network of professionals! They also can help determine if this upfront cost will help sell your home more quickly and for more money so that you can get a return on your investment.
Communicates clearly and regularly. Make sure your agent is easily reached via cell phone, text, or email; and gets back to you in a timely manner. And, on the flip side, that the agent keeps in touch with you on a regular basis with updates on your home and any follow-up on possible buyers. What are buyers saying about your home after they see it – is it positive or negative? A good agent will use this feedback to market your home or help change whatever needs fixing. Nothing is more frustrating than not being informed and feeling forgotten. Find an agent who promises to communicate with you regularly all the way to closing day.
Negotiates well and has your back at all times. Selling a home is a business transaction and your agent also needs to have negotiation skills that will benefit you and your home. A good agent knows when to be assertive in order to get the deal done but doesn’t play dirty and turn buyers away. Talk to past clients if you can or ask for examples of previous negotiations that were successfully closed. Find out more about your agent’s past experiences and tactics at the negotiating table, especially when dealing with multiple offers. Find out how many sales they have handled over the past year and how close the listing price was to the final offer accepted.
Makes you comfortable. Your gut will tell you if this is someone you trust and can work with on a regular basis. Opening up your home to others can be very personal and hard for homeowners, and you want to have an understanding agent. You want to feel at ease when asking any questions or expressing your concerns. Selling a home can be stressful and exhausting at times. Go with someone who can reduce such tension and has a sense of humor, and you’ll appreciate these traits throughout the process.
Looks at real estate as a financial tool that can empower your life. This will be one of the biggest transactions of your life and you don’t want to make any mistakes. Your agent should respect how real estate can change your life for the better and see the possibility it has for your economic stability and security. A good agent knows that selling this home can be a stepping stone for your next home and so on. They want you to dream big, but will keep it real when necessary!
Never says good-bye. A good agent will respect your loyalty and may reward you if you’re a returning client or plan to both sell and buy with them. See if they offer any discounts on their commission (learn more about my Loyalty Program.) No matter what, your agent shouldn’t view this one transaction as the end of your relationship but just the beginning — expect them to be there for you over the long-term and ready to work with you when it’s time to sell and move on again. Plus, they should be someone you can trust to turn to with any of your homeownership concerns – a real estate resource for life!
Look out for next week’s article in my series Love Selling Your Home. I will discuss if your home is “sellable” and help you determine its “sale-ability factor.” It’s an important consideration in today’s market.