There are many complex issues and details involved in selling a home, itâ€™s important to consult a REALTORÂ® who can guide you through the process and help you avoid legal trouble. Find the REALTORÂ® who is right for you by asking him or her these questions.
Are You a REALTORÂ®?
Not all licensed real estate agents are REALTORSÂ®. Only REALTORSÂ® are members of the National Association of REALTORSÂ®, which holds its members to a Code of Ethics. Additionally, REALTORSÂ® have access to comprehensive property listing content for homes on sale in the Austin area. REALTORÂ® members can share details about your home with other REALTORSÂ® and expand its exposure by showing it to worldwide audiences on Web sites like Realtor.com and Austinhomesearch.com.
What is your background and what professional organizations do you belong to?
To ensure you work with someone who is prepared to meet your needs, your REALTORÂ® should be a licensed professional who is ideally a member of the local and state real estate associations and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), as well as the National Association of REALTORSÂ®. The associations they belong to and the activities they are involved with give you a better understanding of their key strengths. For example, REALTORSÂ® who hold leadership positions or belong to community organizations likely have strong communication and networking skills and demonstrate a willingness to actively work for a cause they believe in. These traits are all useful in serving clients throughout the home buying and selling process.
Do you work mostly with sellers?
Some REALTORSÂ® are strictly sellerâ€™s agents while others work with both buyers and sellers. A number of REALTORSÂ® hold designationsâ€”such as the Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) designationâ€”which indicate their specific areas of expertise. Having an idea of your REALTORÂ®â€™S training and experience helps you better understand the level of service he or she can provide for you.
In the last six months, how many homes have you listed and sold that are similar to mine?
Look for an agent who has experience with homes similar to yours and who is active in your area. If your home has special features, look for an agent with experience in those markets. REALTORSÂ® specialize in many different types of real estate, from luxury homes and condos to small homes and ranches.
Can you tell me about your firm and who you work with?
Some REALTORSÂ® work individually; others work with brokerage firms that can range from small to large. Every real estate firm operates differently, so understanding their processes and special services will help you make a decision that is right for you. For example, sometimes a REALTORÂ® has a team of employees who handle the details or an assistant whom you might deal with directly at some point in the process.
How will we work together?
A REALTORÂ® knows your time is precious and is there to work for you. Understand your REALTORÂ®â€™S availability; how often and in what ways you will communicate; and what information you will be provided throughout the process.
On average, how long does it take you to sell a home?
A propertyâ€™s time on market varies depending on several factors, but on average it takes around three months. However, a short time on market is not always the best indicator of success â€”it can mean a home was sold too quickly at too low a price. Instead, look at the difference between the asking price and listing price, then review how long it took to close. When a REALTORÂ® efficiently sells a home close to the asking price, it means he or she has correctly determined the right selling price for that type of home in the current market. Consider your own timeframe for selling your home share this information with your REALTORÂ®.
How do you typically market houses?
Learn how often your REALTORÂ® will hold open houses and what other tactics he or she uses to sell a home. For example, your REALTORÂ® may work with a home staging company to increase your homeâ€™s appeal to potential buyers. Beyond placing a sign in the yard, your REALTORÂ® can help you develop a specific marketing plan for your house. As REALTORSÂ® offer different services and use different marketing strategies, it is important for you to discuss with your REALTORÂ® which features will be highlighted when selling your home and why.
What will you do to sell my home if the marketing plan you suggest doesnâ€™t work?
It is always good to have a “Plan B.” Your REALTORÂ® may decide to take a different approach to attract a different group of buyers or highlight other features of the home. Make sure you understand the strategy and what the next steps are.
What listing price do you recommend?
Your REALTORÂ® has the most up-to-date market knowledge to price your home effectively. He or she knows the details of properties in your area, is aware of developments in the neighborhood that could impact home values or zoning laws, and understands utility issues that can impact the sale price of your home. Your REALTORÂ® can help set a fair selling price that should attract prospective buyers and get you top dollar in the current market.
What is your commission rate and how does it compare to that of other agencies that offer the same services?
Discussing your REALTORÂ®â€™S commission rate up front is important. There are certain factors that make up how a commission rate is structured. Remember your REALTORÂ®â€™S rate is reflective of the amount of time and effort he or she will spend marketing your home and matching you with the best deal. When REALTORSÂ® work with a buyerâ€™s agent, they are required to pay the buyerâ€™s agent part of their commission. Therefore, your REALTORÂ® will work to sell your home for the highest possible amount.
Can you explain the listing agreement to me?
Ask your REALTORÂ® to go over every detail of the listing agreement with you until you understand it completely. Make note of fees and the beginning and ending dates in the agreement.
What disclosure laws and inspections do I need to be aware of?
Selling a home involves many steps and a myriad of professionalsâ€”from inspectors and appraisers to repairmen and title companies. Your REALTORÂ® can connect you with service providers they know and trust and ensure all aspects of the home sale are compliant with real estate law.