When you sell your house, it's always best to work with a realtor. They usually know the marketplace a little better than you do, they know how to set a fair yet competitive price, and they know how to negotiate when you actually do get an offer. They can also help you navigate paperwork, home inspections, marketing, and everything else that comes with selling a house. However, you don't want to choose a realtor without vetting them first. Here are some questions to ask when selling a home:
You want to get to know a little bit about your realtor's background — whether they're licensed, how many years they've been actively selling homes, and how many homes they've sold within a certain time period (the last year is usually a good timeframe). Answers will vary, but this is your first opportunity to get to know the realtor and look for any red flags.
It's fine to be a realtor in a city like Austin, but if you live South Austin, and the realtor only has experience working on the north side of the city, you'll want to look for someone else. More specifically, you'll want to look for someone who has actual experience selling homes in your neighborhood. If you live in Tarrytown, ask them how many homes they've sold in Tarrytown over the last couple of years. The better they know the market in your neighborhood, the better they'll do selling your home for a competitive price.
Speaking of asking prices, you'll want to ask the realtor how they plan to come up with an asking price for your home. The realtor should reply with facts and figures related to recently-sold homes in the neighborhood, as well as homes similar to yours in condition, square footage, lot size, number of bed/bathrooms, etc.
No one can say exactly how long your home will be on the market. But a good realtor should be able to give you an idea that is also based on data.
One of the most common home seller questions you should ask is what the realtor will do to advertise your home. If they give you a single or half-hearted answer, you'll probably want to find someone else. A good agent will rely on multiple marketing plans, like a website, professional photos, signs, mailers, staging, open houses, videos, and more, and they'll have a tried and true strategy in place.
The answer to this question can help you in multiple ways. First, it does give you an idea of anything you can do to increase your asking price, like minor repairs or decluttering, but it also tells you if you and the realtor are on the same page. Finally, it gives you a chance to talk about your schedules, days and times they prefer to offer showings, and so forth.
One of the most important questions for realtors when selling a home is how and how often they'll communicate. You don't want to work with someone who leaves you in the dark most of the time. You do want someone who will keep you updated on what's going on with your home. Once you establish how often you'll communicate, make sure you're on the same page about how to communicate — phone calls, virtual meetings, text, email, etc.
The average realtor fee is about 6%. In some cases, you'll be able to negotiate that down some, but make sure there are no hidden costs and fees in your contract. Always talk about money before you sign anything.
Most realtors have online reviews, and that's great, but always ask for real references from people whose homes the agent has sold. If they're hesitant to give you names and numbers, this is a major red flag. Realtors who do a good job are proud of their work and happy to share any info you need.
If you're looking to sell your house in the Austin area, I can help. Contact me today at (512) 434-9004 or [email protected] to set up a meeting and get started on the home selling process today.
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