November 27, 2017 3:45 am
Selling a home brings with it many emotions. Depending on the reason for the sale, it can be exciting or daunting, inspiring or upsetting. Whatever the reason, when you’re ready, you’re ready. Home sellers put in a lot of work to prepare their homes for sale, and no one wants the selling process to go on for too long.
Truth is we need all the help we can get, and a good realtor can provide the foundation for a solid plan and a smooth transaction. In this article, we’ll discuss the top 10 ways your realtor can help you sell your house quickly, and with less stress. Let’s start counting the ways.
Experience paves the way
Perhaps it should go without saying, but you first need a knowledgeable, experienced realtor. Many realtors are part-time players, and this is no time for a learning curve. When you want to sell your home quickly and for the best price, a full-time, dedicated realtor will be your best guide. When you interview real estate agents, ask about years of experience, performance data, and if they have a team helping them. Get contact information for many references and call them. Be sure you are comfortable with the realtor’s personality and communication style.
Planning with purpose
Once you’ve decided on a realtor who will be a trusted advocate for you, you’ll create a plan and a timetable. The agent should be familiar with your neighborhood and city, and well acquainted with market values and demand. It’s important to get accurate comparisons from similar houses that have recently sold in your area. The agent can then compare the features to come up with a fair selling price for your home.
Pricing too high will waste precious time, and pricing too low might speed the sale but won’t make the most of your investment. Experienced realtors know how to find the sweet spot. Ask for an explanation of how the price is determined and what to expect. Most realtors can tell you exactly what percentage of list price they average. (You can ask this question at the interview.)
Preparing the home for market
A full-time realtor sees homes for sale on a weekly basis. It becomes apparent which are good examples and will sell quickly and which are not as appealing and will take longer to sell. Your realtor will share this wisdom with you as you walk through your house together to make notes for your to-do list. Key items will be necessary repairs, painting, decluttering, etc.
When checking the exterior, curb appeal will be a big issue. You want your home to look attractive when buyers drive up—so much so that they could envision living there. Your realtor will advise you on projects that matter. For instance, the front door should be nicely painted, windows clean and landscaping neatly trimmed. Kids’ toys should be put away, and the patio or deck area should be neat and in good repair. You’ll put together a list of things to take care of, and if there is more than you can handle, you can ask for help from a friend or hire a handyman.
Staging for success
Once you have the basics figured out, your realtor may suggest a home stager. These professionals work wonders on transforming a house into a dream home for buyers. They will give suggestions on where to declutter, how to depersonalize, and how to make rooms look warm, open and inviting. Some will do all the work for you, and some will even have furnishings and accessories to provide the perfect accents. You’ll identify the special features of your home that can be highlighted in ads and marketing pieces.
When a home is staged for a sale, it no longer looks like the home that has been so comfortable for you and your family. It now looks like a showpiece, fresh and new. It will allow buyers to envision it as their own space and make it easier for them to become attached to it. Together with the realtor, the staging professional will help you decide how to store your excess belongings and how to present your home for showings. If your home is already magazine-cover beautiful, your realtor will help you with the details.
Coaching and advice
The process of selling a home is complex, and your agent will explain the process and provide advice. A good realtor knows how to move quickly and will coach you on how to prepare your home in time to meet your deadlines. Depending on the season and the year, you’ll be working within a high-demand market or a slow, steady customer base. Your realtor can let you know what to expect and which activities will help move the property fastest.
Often a home inspection will be suggested. Hiring an inspector takes the guesswork out of the data about the condition of the home. If there are repairs to be made, you can manage these items before the home goes on the market. Buyers will be assured that an impartial professional has already checked the home and documented the conclusions. With confidence about the condition of the home, the sale often proceeds much faster.
Your agent will discuss advantages of purchasing a home warranty for the buyers. This can also reduce their fears of problems or added expenses once they take ownership.
When buyers check the MLS listings online, they are largely interested in the photos of the property before deciding if they have enough interest to visit. The quality of the photos (and video if used) is extremely important in creating the best impression so buyers follow through with a showing request. Your agent will know that this is not a place to skimp. After staging, the photographer will show up on a bright, sunny day and take pictures that will showcase the best features of your home.
Your realtor will advise you to have the house sparkling clean before the photos are taken—and you’ll need to keep it that way until an offer is accepted. It’s another reason sellers don’t like to have their home on the market for too long. It takes a lot of effort to keep things looking immaculate. Key tips will be to keep the kitchen and bathroom counters cleared, with clean towels and a candle or fresh flowers. Keep the lighting bright with blinds open, and make it inviting.
Marketing and the MLS
The MLS listing is a key factor in introducing your home favorably. A good realtor will write an excellent description that creates interest, highlights special features, and attracts buyers to a showing. (You can ask to see some samples at the interview.) Other marketing campaigns will likely be additional real estate websites, flyers, brochures, open houses and signage. The realtor’s team will be invited to the home for a private showing so they can be the first to promote the property to their clients. Seeing it first-hand is much better than reading about it.
With years of experience, real estate agents know how to ask questions of buyers to see what’s most important to them. They can talk about the property in ways that create greater interest and images in the minds of the prospective buyers. Creating excitement about the property and its unique features generates offers more quickly as interest builds and possibilities unfold.
Signage, showings and feedback
In addition to the online marketing, realtors will place a sign out front announcing the sale. It helps with greater exposure, starts the neighbors talking about the sale and gains the interest of passersby. The realtor will set up open house showings and accommodate requests for buyers requesting a showing.
The seller’s role is to keep the home clean, neat and ready for last-minute showings. A plan for how to manage pets will already be established. It’s best to leave the house just before the showing so the buyers feel free to look at everything carefully and make comments as they are going through it. The realtor will ask for feedback from both buyers and agents, so adjustments can be made if necessary.
Communicating and negotiating
It’s your realtor’s job to keep lines of communication open, between the two of you and with buyers and their agents. You should know how it’s going, what feedback has been received and if any changes in strategy or housekeeping are needed. One of the most important responsibilities for your agent will be negotiating on your behalf. You’ll discuss feedback, offers and timely responses.
When an offer is made, your agent will discuss the price offered and all other factors that will impact your finances and final decision. Once an offer is accepted, the communication will continue. The realtor will check in with you to make sure you are taking proper care of the home and lawn. Plans will also be discussed to make sure you’ll be ready for the closing and vacating the home on time. If you need help, the realtor should have referrals for reliable professionals.
Closing and moving on
Your realtor will manage the transaction and all the documents that go with it. You will be advised about each document, the terms and all the dollar figures involved in the closing costs. It will be your realtor who makes sure the title company and closers have everything under control. The buyers will do a final inspection of the property, and your realtor will coach you on this when it is scheduled.
An experienced, caring real estate agent provides valuable services when you are selling your home. Their level of industry knowledge, the local market, pricing and contracts will reduce your stress and provide you with valuable information to make well-informed decisions. The agent will coach and advise you on how to best enhance the appeal of your home and how to make sure that everything progresses on schedule. You’ll have a trusted advocate, interpreter and negotiator in your corner and managing the process until you close on the sale. Thank goodness!
If you have enjoyed this article and gained an appreciation for working with a realtor, please share it with a friend who might also benefit. Thank you and best of luck with your sale!