Ask Your Realtor the Important Questions

Right now is a great time to sell your home. Before you list your home, there are three key steps you need to make sure you have completed, which were discussed in a recent Inman News article.

Step One:

Clean, paint, repair, and generally spruce up your house so that it is ready for people to picture themselves living there. The clutter is put away, and the true charm of your house is revealed.

Step Two:

Obtain a professional inspection, preferably from an inspector that belongs to the American Society of Home Inspectors. There may be other reports that are common to your area, such as energy efficiency. Such a report will give buyers greater confidence, and can cut down a lot of negotiating time, especially if you have addressed any issues the report identifies.

Step Three:

The next step is arguably the most daunting - choosing a realtor. The key here is to interview at least three realtors, so that you can see who in the area is the most realistic and who offers the best plan for selling your home. As part of the interview, make sure you obtain and retain a written comparative market analysis. This analysis will show the recent sale prices of comparable homes, the current listing price of your local competition, and a list of homes similar to yours whose listings have recently expired (probably due to an excessive asking price). After your potential realtor has presented his or her case, make sure you get an understanding of the following areas:

How long have they been operating in your area?
When are their days off, and are they going to be taking any vacation soon?
How is the workload handled? Do they have office assistants? How many listings do they have currently?
What is their written marketing plan for your home?
Are they full-time or part-time?
What do their fees consist of?

Can they guarantee a sale within a 90-day listing period? (A good idea to cover yourself is to insert a clause that states you are free from obligation if your house is listed for more than 90 days.) Hopefully, you will have your pick of several excellent realtors that you have interviewed. Even if this is not the case, by asking many questions, you can separate the best, and be happy in the knowledge that your home is being faithfully represented.