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Frequently asked questions

Agents don’t have a crystal ball, but they should be able to give you an estimate of what they expect, based on the local market. They should also explain the impact of pricing on how quickly you’ll see offers.

In some markets, open houses for buyers work well. In other markets, they work mostly to expose the agent to potential new clients. Look for an agent who will talk about the effectiveness. Tours and open houses for agents and brokers, on the other hand, are an effective way to get your home on the radar of agents representing hundreds of prospective buyers.

If you sign with this agent and things don’t work out, you want to know how long you’re committed to working with the agent. Make sure you’re clear on how long a contract would last.

Your agent should be in contact regularly and update you on any new information. When you have showings, they should give you feedback as soon as they get it.

If you’ve done your prep work and can provide a mortgage payoff figure, an agent should be able to give you a pretty good estimate of how much you will net from a sale. Our Net Sheet Calculator can help you calculate your total expenses and the remaining balance.

You need to know that the agent will make the time to explain things to you and just as importantly, that the agent explains things in a way you can understand.

Before any potential buyer walks through your door, you have to ready your property for viewing. Smart sellers understand that this may be quite the undertaking. Attention to detail outside and inside is important to show off your home’s best assets and visually persuade the buyer that your home should be their new home.

Curb appeal is also a major selling point for most buyers, which means that you may need to hire a landscaper, plant greenery, or otherwise tidy up the exterior of your property. As this may be a substantial task (both in time and money), new questions arise: Are you willing to put the time, effort, and money into doing these repairs and cleanup, or are you willing to accept a lower market value?

You may want to ask your realtor if they can recommend professional, well-reviewed vendors to do any electrical, plumbing, HVAC, sewer, roof, or painting work that needs to be done. These repairs and enhancements can be costly, so it’s important to keep that in mind when moving forward.

“An experienced realtor will take the stress and worry of selling your home right out of your hands,” Pallares explains. “He or she will handle all aspects of the sale, from determining the proper market value; producing marketing materials; handling all the contracts; negotiating the best sales price; ensuring the safety of your home during all showings; and, more importantly, selling your home for the best price in the shortest time.”

While you’re in the process of selling your current home, it’s probable that you’ll also be looking for a new home to move into. This simultaneous sell-and-search can present logistical problems if you’re not prepared.

Should you purchase a new home first, or wait until your current home is under contract? What should your realtor write into the listing contract about delaying possession of your house? Can you afford two mortgages if you purchase your new home first?

Answering these questions ahead of time will alleviate some of the hiccups along the way (you don’t want to sleep in your storage unit, do you?) and reduce your overall stress throughout the process.

An experienced real estate agent can help price your home, in part by reviewing recent selling prices for comparable nearby homes. Without an agent, you’d need to research the market and find these “comps” on your own.

A seller’s agent can also list your home in a local Multiple Listing Service database, where buyers and their agents can find it. If you’re selling on your own, you can pay a listing agent a one-time fee for this service. It would be much less than a 6% commission, but you’d still be paying for a service a listing agent would normally provide.

Listing agents can help you negotiate with potential buyers and respond to multiple offers. Once you accept an offer, he or she will also help manage the scheduling of appraisals, inspections and related tasks before the deal closes.

Some sellers decide to go to FSBO route, then hire listing agents when their properties don’t attract buyers. But if your goal is to sell your house fast, you might be better off starting with a pro who can quickly draw traffic to your home.

Even if you don’t think speed is a factor, potential buyers might offer lower-than-desired prices if your house has been on the market for a while. They might also make lower offers if they know you aren’t paying a seller’s commission.

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