Thursday, October 27, 2011
Sell Your House The Frugal Way: Real Estate Agents
Your house is now light, open/uncluttered and meticulously clean/maintained. It is time to find the real estate agent that can sell your home and guide you through the inspections and closing.
Some people want to sell their home "By Owner", which may work out if you have unlimited spare time and don't mind people calling you day and night. If you do want to maintain your sanity I suggest that you hire a reputable real estate agent.
The same way you should get three estimates on home repairs, I suggest that you interview at least three agents from three different companies. These interviews should take place in the home you are selling.
Before starting the interview process you need to do some prep work. Go to Zillow and look around your neighborhood at comparable homes that have sold. Don't look at the asking price, instead focus on their actual selling price. You should find three comparable homes and their sale prices. Now you have an idea of what your home may sell for and the price you should ask for your home (based on the successful asking prices of homes that have sold).
When you meet with the real estate agents let them walk through your house, then listen to what they have to say. Then ask them about their specific strategies to sell your house: their internet presence, open houses, advertisements, etc. What asking price do they suggest? What will they do to ensure the safety of your home and possessions while the home is being shown? How and how often will they give you updates?
If the agent suggests an asking price that is much, much more than the selling price of comparable homes in your area, then a red flag has just gone up. Some unscrupulous agents will lure in a customer by quoting a high price. After your home has been listed and not sold for a while, they will then suggest that you lower your price. This is time and effort wasted for you.
After you find an agent that gives you good answers and that you like personally, do some research on their agency. The local realtor groups should have sales statistics available. Most agents will bring this information to the interview, especially if their office has high sales stats.
Once you've chosen the agent it's time to sign the paperwork. Be honest. Most states have full disclosure laws, so don't try to hide any problems with the property. Make sure that the contract can be canceled without penalty and that the agent's commission is reasonable for your area. Don't agree on a home warranty at this time; that can be part of the negotiations with a potential buyer.
There is so much to say that I could write a novel here. Just proceed cautiously, use common sense and rely on good research.