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Selling

Find the Right Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

Selling your home is one of the biggest financial and emotional experiences you'll ever go through. Real estate agents can guide you through this process with specialized knowledge of market conditions, legal contracts, negotiation, disclosure laws and professional marketing strategies.

The right real estate agent will maximize your profit, streamline the process and be there to guide you every step of the way.

Expertise
As with any job, being an expert in the field is crucial. The most important areas a real estate professional should have exceptional knowledge in are:

  • Area Expert
    Find an agent that specializes in your neighborhood and has extensive knowledge of local market conditions.
  • Pricing Expert
    Pricing is a collaborative process based on information about recent sales, current listings, and recently expired listings in your area. Your real estate agent should show you research to support any recommendations.
  • Negotiating Expert
    Your agent should have specialized knowledge of legal contracts, disclosure laws and the negotiation process.
  • Expert at Maximizing Profits
    Your agent can help you get top dollar for your property and negotiate contract terms in your favor.
  • Marketing Expert
    They should have a complete, professional marketing plan that can be catered to your individual property.

Personality Type
When looking for a real estate agent, find someone you are comfortable with and someone who is compatible with your personality. If you don't feel you can ask questions or can openly discuss the home selling process, you have the wrong person! Many agents have desirable qualities but your expectations can set how they work with you.

  • Will you mesh well together as business partners?
  • What personality suits you best? (Structured, detail-oriented, friendly, persuasive, sensitive, analytical, persistent.)
  • Make a list of the most important traits you want in your real estate agent. (Assertive, loyal, methodical, organized, networked, good communicator, good judgment, enthusiastic, ambitious, trustworthy, committed, experienced)

Client Referrals
Agents should have referrals from past clients. You can ask for referrals or check their website for client testimonials.

  • Newer agents may only have a few referrals, but don't be deterred, the quality of work that an agent produces is most important. Any agent should show you how their expertise and services match your needs.
  • Experienced agents often emphasize the number of years in the business or transactions they have closed. They should have plenty of referrals and a track record of outstanding service. In addition, they should show you their quality of work and how their services match your needs.

Questions to Ask Before You List Your Home

It is your duty to make sure you are comfortable with your agent and they are qualified! Have questions prepared ahead of time. Here are some good questions to get you started:

  • Do they belong to the local Multiple Listing Service? (Multiple Listing Services are cooperative information databases that provide homes for sale in the area, as well as the market history of homes, and in depth property descriptions)
  • Does your agent have a network of other agents looking for a buyer for your home?
  • Are they able to determine the true market value of your home?
  • Will they show you how to maximize your profit?
  • Are they internet savvy?
  • Do they know how to effectively market your listing on the internet?
  • Do they have a professional website that attracts traffic?
  • Will your property be online with an in depth property description, full photo gallery, virtual tour, mapping and local school and community reports?
  • Will they feature your listings on the top real estate websites?
  • What other avenues will they use to market your home? (Property signs, fliers, local or national print publications, newspapers, open houses, etc.)
  • What commission do they charge?

Profit from Proper Pricing

Pricing your home is one of the most crucial decisions when putting your home on the market. The price is usually the first thing buyers notice about your property. If your home is not priced correctly, it could turn away potential buyers and could be stigmatized by sitting on the market too long. If you price your home at the true market value, you can save carrying costs, mortgage payments and other ownership costs.

The listing price of your home is based on careful analysis of the current market, comparable homes including the asking and selling price of sold properties as well as the current inventory of homes and the different features of the properties.

When a property is priced properly for its market, it will sell sooner and encourages prospects to act quicker. Most serious buyers are well-educated about asking prices in the areas they are seeking. They will not waste their time on a home they consider overpriced. However, buyers fear they might lose out on a good home when it is priced right and they are less likely to make "low ball offers." Better pricing can attract multiple offers!

Bottom line, if a home is priced right, the excitement of the market produces higher sales prices. You net more both in terms of actual sale price and less in carrying costs. Remember, be realistic in pricing your property and understand that your price should always reflect the current market situation!

Make Your Home Sell Itself

Pay attention to detail, first impressions count with buyers. You only have one chance and it starts with what often referred to as "curb appeal." This can increase your chances of getting quality offers quicker and top dollar for your home.

At the Front Door

  • Clean porch and foyer
  • Ensure doorbell works
  • Repair door or screen if necessary
  • Fresh paint or varnish front door
  • Repair door locks and key access

Exterior Appearance

  • Keep lawns cut
  • Trim hedges and shrubs
  • Weed and edge gardens
  • Clear driveway and clean up oil spills
  • Clean out garage
  • Touch up paint
  • Add plants, flowers or update landscaping

Maintenance

  • Repair leaking taps and toilets
  • Clean furnace and filters
  • Tighten doorknobs and latches
  • Repair cracked plaster
  • Touch up paint
  • Clean and repair windows
  • Repair seals around tubs and basins
  • Replace defective light bulbs
  • Oil squeaking doors
  • Repair squeaking floorboards
  • Neutralize walls - paint colors should be neutral and inviting

Organize

  • Create space
  • Clear halls and stairs of clutter
  • Store surplus furniture
  • Clear kitchen counter and stove top
  • Clear closets of unnecessary clothing
  • Remove empty boxes and containers

Squeaky Clean

  • Clean and freshen bathrooms
  • Clean fridge and stove (in and out)
  • Clean around heating vents
  • Clean washer and dryer
  • Clean carpets, drapes and window blinds

Create a Buying Mood

  • Turn on lights
  • Turn on air conditioner/heater
  • Open the drapes
  • Light the fireplace
  • Put fresh flowers out
  • Remove personal items (family photos)

Moving Checklist for Sellers

Notify address changes 2-4 weeks ahead of moving to:

  • Post Office
  • Subscriptions, magazines or newspapers
  • Utility companies
  • Insurance companies
  • Phone company/ internet provider
  • Credit cards
  • Banks
  • Lawyers or accountants
  • Workplace or schools
  • Friends, relatives, business colleagues
  • Sign up for services at new address

Other things to do 2-4 weeks ahead of moving:

  • Plan garage sale
  • Clean rugs or other clothing
  • Empty freezer

If moving out of town:

  • Arrange to close or transfer your bank account
  • Pick up items you're your safety deposit box
  • Get copies of school records for transfer
  • Get copies of medical and dental records and prescriptions for your family and your pets
  • Doctors- get prescriptions transferred and ask for referrals/recommendations for new physicians
  • Automobile- transfer car title, car registration, tags, get new driver's license