STEPS TO SELLING YOUR HOME
HIRE A REALTOR®
Studies show that homesellers who use a REALTOR® to represent them generally get a better price than those who sell the home themselves. REALTORS® are up-to-date on critical processes and can help keep you out of trouble. They can also help you get your home sold at the best price in the right timeframe.
Equally as important, REALTORS® add objectivity to an inherently emotional transaction: the sale of your home.
BEFORE YOUR HOME IS LISTED
It’s important to have your home in good showing condition before buyers start going through it. Here are some steps to take:
- Touch up interior and exterior paint as needed.
- Install new carpeting and flooring if it appears worn or dated.
- Make sure the front is clean and spruced up – curb appeal will create a favorable first impression.
- Trim bushes and plants as needed, and make sure the lawn is kept mowed and trimmed. In autumn, rake the leaves; in winter, keep the snow shoveled.
- Keep the interior clean, decluttered and odor-free. Eliminate evidence of pets.
- Minimize personal items such as family photos. You want buyers to see themselves living in the home.
- Consider putting excess furniture and belongings in storage. Now’s the time to clean out the garage and basement and sell, give away or throw away items you don’t need anymore.
- Consider having a pre-listing inspection performed. Buyers will be hiring professional inspectors; here’s your chance to address problems in advance.
- Consider engaging a professional stager to give your home the right emotional appeal.
DURING THE LISTING PERIOD
- When potential buyers visit your home, either be absent or make yourselves as inconspicuous as possible.
- Have fresh flowers in the entryway. It makes for a friendly introduction into your home.
- If offers are made that don’t match your hoped-for price, don’t reject them out of hand. Pay attention to your agent’s advice.
- Consider dropping the price if several months go by with few or no offers. But if you and your agent have priced your home properly from the start, this shouldn’t be necessary.
- Don’t get discouraged. In buyer’s markets, homes take longer to sell than during boom times. Your home will eventually sell; it’s a matter of your RE/MAX Executive agent finding the right buyer for you.
HELP YOUR AGENT
You have the best chance of selling your home if you work closely with your RE/MAX Executive agent. Make sure all showings are coordinated through him or her. If you have a brochure box, be sure to keep it filled.
If prospective buyers want to discuss your property or negotiate price or other terms, defer to your RE/MAX Executive agent. He or she is the expert and can best handle all these details without emotion.
Working with Real Estate Agents
If you are selling real estate, you may want to “list” your property for sale with a real estate firm. If so, you will sign a “listing agreement” authorizing the firm and its agents to represent you in your dealings with buyers as your seller’s agent. You may also be asked to allow agents from other firms to help find a buyer for your property.
Be sure to read and understand the listing agreement before you sign it. Your agent must give you a copy of the listing agreement after you sign it.
Duties to Seller: The listing firm and its agents must • promote your best interests • be loyal to you • follow your lawful instructions • provide you with all material facts that could influence your decisions • use reasonable skill, care and diligence, and • account for all monies they handle for you. Once you have signed the listing agreement, the firm and its agents may not give any confidential information about you to prospective buyers or their agents without your permission so long as they represent you. But until you sign the listing agreement, you should avoid telling the listing agent anything you would not want a buyer to know.
Services and Compensation: To help you sell your property, the listing firm and its agents will offer to perform a number of services for you. These may include • helping you price your property • advertising and marketing your property • giving you all required property disclosure forms for you to complete • negotiating for you the best possible price and terms • reviewing all written offers with you and • otherwise promoting your interests.
For representing you and helping you sell your property, you will pay the listing firm a sales commission or fee. The listing agreement must state the amount or method for determining the sales commission or fee and whether you will allow the firm to share its commission with agents representing the buyer.
You may even permit the listing firm and its agents to represent you and a buyer at the same time. This “dual agency relationship” is most likely to happen if an agent with your listing firm is working as a buyer’s agent with someone who wants to purchase your property. If this occurs and you have not already agreed to a dual agency relationship in your listing agreement, your listing agent will ask you to amend your listing agreement to permit the agent to act as agent for both you and the buyer.
It may be difficult for a dual agent to advance the interests of both the buyer and seller. Nevertheless, a dual agent must treat buyers and sellers fairly and equally. Although the dual agent owes them the same duties, buyers and sellers can prohibit dual agents from divulging certain confidential information about them to the other party.
Some firms also offer a form of dual agency called “designated dual agency” where one agent in the firm represents the seller and another agent represents the buyer. This option (when available) may allow each “designated agent” to more fully represent each party.
If you choose the “dual agency” option, remember that since a dual agent’s loyalty is divided between parties with competing interests, it is especially important that you have a clear understanding of • what your relationship is with the dual agent and • what the agent will be doing for you in the transaction.
Seller’s Agent Working With a Buyer
If the real estate agent or firm that you contact does not offer buyer agency or you do not want them to act as your buyer agent, you can still work with the firm and its agents. However, they will be acting as the seller’s agent (or “subagent”). The agent can still help you find and purchase property and provide many of the same services as a buyer’s agent. The agent must be fair with you and provide you with any “material facts” (such as a leaky roof) about properties.
But remember, the agent represents the seller—not you—and therefore must try to obtain for the seller the best possible price and terms for the seller’s property. Furthermore, a seller’s agent is required to give the seller any information about you (even personal, financial or confidential information) that would help the seller in the sale of his or her property. Agents must tell you in writing if they are sellers’ agents before you say anything that can help the seller. But until you are sure that an agent is not a seller’s agent, you should avoid saying anything you do not want a seller to know.
Sellers’ agents are compensated by the sellers.