Selling a home can take time, energy and lots of specialized knowledge. A real estate agent has resources and expertise that the average homeowner doesn’t. If you’re trying to decide whether to engage a seller’s real estate agent or go the FSBO route, it’s important to know what you should expect from a real estate agent when you’re selling your home. While every state has specific laws regarding what an agent must do, may do and may not do, in general, these are the minimum things you should expect your seller’s agent to do for you when you hire a real estate agent to sell your home.
Tell You Who They Represent
The laws in most states require the real estate agent to inform you whether they’ll be working on your behalf, working on a buyer’s behalf or working as a dual agent, for both the buyer and the seller. It’s always important to know whose interests the real estate agent has in mind when showing houses.
Help You Price Your Home
Your selling price will be a major factor in whether and how fast your home sells. While you’ll always have the final decision on the price you put on your home, a real estate agent can give you solid advice on a reasonable selling price for your home. Real estate agents and Realtors are among the best resources for pricing trends in the community, and can give you a pretty good idea of what buyers will be willing to pay, based on the size, style and condition of your home and recent home sales in your area.
Offer You Advice on Preparing Your Home for Sale
In addition to knowing what people are willing to pay for a home in your area that are similar to your house, real estate agents can also make suggestions on home improvements that will help your home sell faster and/or for a higher price. The suggestions can range from “give it a thorough cleaning and remove clutter” to a full-scale home staging. If you’re selling a high-end home, the real estate agent may even work with you and a home stager to put your house’s best face forward. After all, the higher the selling price of your home, the higher your real estate agent’s commission will be.
Provide You With Marketing Resources and Materials
From the For Sale sign in front of your house to marketing circulars, your real estate agent’s main job is marketing your home to buyers. Depending on the real estate agent and agency, the marketing materials may include photographs of your home – taken by the agent or by a photographer that works with the agency, listing your home on the Multiple Listing Service or on other listing services, setting up a website for your property and advertising it for sale on all local media. In addition, your real estate agent may provide you with the name of a good photographer or videographer to film a virtual tour, put you in touch with a home stager and help you find other professionals to help you with your home sale.
Prepare an Innovative Marketing Plan
Your real estate agent should sit down with you and explain the marketing plan he or she has devised for your home. While there are standard ways of marketing – listing services, newspaper ads, Craigslist ads and more – your agent should work with you to devise a marketing plant that’s customized for your needs.
Show Your Home
You should expect your real estate agent to show your home to prospective buyers as widely as possible. She may set up an open house to show it to multiple people within a short time frame, or show it individually to prospective buyers. Most real estate agents use a combination of both. More often than not, the real estate agent will prefer that you and your family be away from home when she shows it, but that’s something you’ll work out with the individual real estate agent.
Provide Feedback to You from Prospective Buyers
Your real estate agent is working for you, and as such, you should expect to get feedback about how the sale process is going. The feedback can help you fine tune your own plans, including providing you with further things you can do to make your home more salable. If the Realtor hears from multiple people, for example, that your home looks dingy, that information may prompt you to roll on a fresh coat of paint to perk it up.
Negotiate with Buyers on Your Behalf
Your real estate agent is required to convey all offers to you, and to work on your behalf to get the best possible price for house. You’ll always make final decisions, but it can be a major benefit to you to have an experienced negotiator working on your behalf.
Guidance Through the Process
Your real estate agent buys and sells houses for a living, so he’ll be very familiar with every step of the process. You should expect your agent to guide you through the process, offering advice and making sure that all of the t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted properly.
Selling a house is a complicated process with a lot of moving pieces. If you’ve never done it before – or even if you’ve done it once or twice – a seller’s real estate agent can be an invaluable assistance and resource to help you get your home sold for the best possible price.