By: Ariana Quesada
The best way to avoid could-haves, would-haves, and should-haves when selling a home is by working with a professional who studies the complexities of real estate. Though a handful of sellers attempt the “For Sale By Owner” route, 89% of sellers end up using a real estate agent (NAR). But how can you be sure you’ve chosen the right agent?
This article outlines 3 tips home-sellers wish they had known before selling a home the first time around. These tips will help you go from, “I wish I hadn’t…” to “I’m glad I did!”
#1: You Are In Control
When selling a home, if you are working with an agent who does not empower you, walk away. It’s understandable if you don’t know all the details of the home-selling process, but you shouldn’t feel lost or confused during the transaction. Like any relationship, communication is key. Choose an agent who will answer your questions directly and help you understand why your home is going to sell.
How can you stay in control? Know the terminology an agent is using! Here is a list of words & their definitions to empower you while selling your home! You’re likely to hear these terms when meeting with a Listing Agent for the first time:
● Listing Agreement: An agreement that represents the right of a real estate agent or Broker to handle the sale of real property and to receive a fee or commission for services. Basically: it’s paperwork that says, “I am hiring a Real Estate Agent.”
● Active Listing: Real property that is on the market and available for showings. When your home is “active” or “live” buyers will be able to see it For Sale online, and schedule times to take a tour.
● Private Inspection: A physical observation performed to assist in identifying relevant property characteristics in a valuation service. Only one (set of) buyer(s) may attend private inspections. This allows you, the seller, to screen potential buyers and make sure they are serious & trustworthy.
In many cases, our clients who are selling a home are learning how to sell for the first time. Bringing a pen and paper to all your meetings will benefit you, your agent, and your future self! As you are selling your home you’ll receive many emails and other correspondence from your listing agent, so having notes and definitions written down will help you remember what your agent is referring to.
#2: You Choose the Sales Price
The market in your area has changed since you bought your home. Don’t worry, all sellers have to learn about market conditions along the way. Finding an agent who is extremely transparent about market trends is a green flag to use them, but the price is up to you. An agent should never insist on a specific price point. It is the responsibility of agents to equip you with information about your neighborhood so you can price your home appropriately.
Many sellers use Zillow to estimate the sale price of their home, and we encourage that! However, a Zestimate is only Zillow’s estimate and according to their website, should only “be used as a starting point.” Algorithms, like Zillow’s, base their calculations off the previous sale, when YOU bought it, and do not take into account the unique changes a home can go through over the years.
It’s helpful to think about your home as if you were going to buy it for the first time. Examine all your home’s nooks and crannies to determine what does, and doesn’t, meet your standards. Like-minded buyers will likely think the same thing and value your home similarly.
Drew Mahar, a listing agent from Jim Shaffer & Associate Realtors had this to say about why using the agent to sell your home is so important, “Our fingers [are] on the pulse of the market…When you’re selling a home, we can get you more money and sold quicker with our experience.”
#3: Buyers Look Low
Though some people may not believe it at first, sellers need real estate agents because buyers need real estate agents. To ensure that sellers walk away with maximum profit, realtors provide professional marketing to elevate your home to a competitive standard. One of the more recent clients from Jim Shaffer & Associates ended up receiving $20,000 more than he was expecting! Above all, your agent can spread the word to buyers that your home is for sale much more efficiently than you could by yourself.
Unlike pricing items at a flea market, you should not price your home with “negotiating room.” When buyers are shopping for homes online, they search by price. If you decide to list your home at $255,000 with the hopes of getting $250,000, you lose the visibility of buyers who are searching for homes up to $250,000. It’s better to have multiple buyers interested in your home than 1 buyer looking to bargain.
“I don’t know if you can go too low when selling a house” says Drew Mahar, “I think [the listing price] totally depends on the situation of the seller…but we guide and advise.” It’s important to remember that, ultimately, agents provide a service that helps you fulfill your needs and wants. Always keep your top priorities in mind. Drew’s office has 3 different pricing strategies for you to choose from so they can strategize and price with you.
If you stuck around and read until the end of the article, then you get this bonus tip! By working with your local real estate team, you should continue to receive benefits even after your transaction is complete. A sign of a successful realtor is their facilitation of community events, Holiday Giveaways, and support of local charities! It should be important to your realtor that they support the community they serve. Remember, it is a privilege for agents to earn the business of each and every client.
Jim Shaffer and Associates Sellers Guide, jsa-sellersguide.octanedesign.com/.
NAR. “Quick Real Estate Statistics.” Www.nar.realtor, 11 Nov. 2020, www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/quick-real-estate-statistics.
The Free Dictionary, Farlex, legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Listing.
Chris Makowski August 14. “Listing Status Definitions.” The SmartDesk, smartmlshelp.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360004643172-Listing-Status-Definitions.
Bill Pastuszek March 06, 2020. “Of Inspections, Personal Inspections, and Responsibilities” NEREJ, nerej.com/of-inspections-personal-inspections-and-responsibilities-by-bill-pastuszek.
Launder, Ruby. “Open Inspections Versus Private Inspections When Selling Your Property.” Tips and Advice, 15 Feb. 2019, www.localagentfinder.com.au/blog/open-inspections-versus-private-inspections-when-selling-your-property/.
Zillow, Inc. “What Is a Zestimate? Zillow’s Zestimate Accuracy.” Zillow, www.zillow.com/zestimate/.
Weintraub, Elizabeth. “Helpful Tips for Picking the Right Selling Price for Your Home.” The Balance, www.thebalance.com/how-to-pick-the-right-sales-price-for-your-home-1799055.