It’s a seller’s market; I don’t need a real estate agent to sell my house. I can throw a for-sale sign up and start moving next week. Stop! Have you really thought that through? Do you really know what a real estate agent can do for you? Let’s take it from the top and talk about the big three; money, liability and time.
For most homeowners, their house is their largest asset - which means there’s a lot of money at stake when it comes time to sell. Yes, we are currently in a seller’s market, there are far more buyers than available properties for sale, this is an absolute fact. It’s also a fact that just because it’s a seller’s market doesn’t mean you can pull any list price out of the air and expect your house to sell for that amount. A licensed real estate agent knows the market in your area. They know what’s currently on the market and more importantly, what’s recently sold in your area and for how much. The agent’s primary job is to determine the fair market value of your property and bring eligible buyers to your door and yes, they do get paid for this through a commission on the sale of your home.
Beyond determining the fair market value of your home, what can a licensed agent do for you? After all, you want to get as much money back as possible from your big-ticket investment so you may be thinking you’ll skip the agent and try to do the sale on your own. A good listing agent not only assists you with pricing your home, they will also market it, negotiate with buyers on your behalf and guide you through the closing process, that's a lot of work. A licensed agent has a fiduciary responsibility to put your best interest first so it’s important to trust and follow their advice. Know that the market changes everyday and a good agent stays on top of those changes – so you don’t have to. They’ll know if homes similar to yours come on to the market or if they sell before yours. With that knowledge they may suggest a price reduction, if they do, know that they have done the market research to justify the notion.
Good agents also know that most offers will come with a home inspection contingency and they won’t have you wait for a professional home inspector to identify any problems or suggested repairs. They will help you identify items that should be taken care of before the first showing to a prospective buyer.
Licensed agents value your time which means they will only show your home to eligible buyers who have been screened to determine they are serious buyers. In return you’ll want as many prospective buyers as possible to see your home so be flexible with your agent in regards to showings. Bear in mind that if you decline a showing, a buyer might not schedule another time and you may lose out on a great offer.
Most homeowners form an emotional bond with their home; don’t let that keep you from considering serious offers. In a perfect world you’ll get a full price offer after the first showing but let’s be real. Unless you’re in a super hot market, that’s not likely to happen. This is where you refer to your trusted agent to negotiate the best offer possible.
Once you’ve listed your property with a licensed agent, you can ask for a monthly update to help analyze the present market and the agent’s ability to facilitate an offer and sell your home for the highest and best price. Timing is everything.