Finally, the news about the housing market in terms of both the number of homes sold and selling prices has been encouraging. As a result, many homeowners who have delayed putting their home on the market over the last four years are now considering doing so. For most of us, our home is our single largest financial asset and the commission we pay a real estate professional to sell it is substantial. As a result, we have a right to have high expectations of the plan they execute to sell our home.
A seller’s objective is typically pretty straight forward – sell my home for the maximum price in the shortest amount of time. Top real estate professionals do not sit around and wait for a buyer to stumble upon your home. They actively seek out and market your home to all possible qualified buyers.
To make sure your home is sold quickly and for the best price, here are questions you should ask before you select an agent to sell your home.
1. What is your plan to market my home to local buyers?
Real estate remains hyper local. The National Association of REALTORS ® reports in 2011 that home buyers moved around 12 miles from their previous home to their new home. That means there is a very good chance the buyer of your home lives in your town or one nearby.
Buying a home is not an impulse purchase and it takes about three months from the time a buyer starts their search to signing a contract. During that time, they continue to work, shop, eat, and play in areas immediately adjacent to your home and community. Ask your agent what their plan is to reach out to that local buyer.
2. What is your plan to market my home to out of market buyers?
Depending on your home’s price and community, it may also be attractive to a relocating buyer. Listing your home on one of the many free Internet listing services like Realtor.com, Trulia.com or Zillow.com is a smart thing to do, but it’s only a starting point, like a listing in a phone book. It requires that the buyer seek out the site, and sift through search results to find your home and it’s not an aggressive marketing program. To get the best results, successful agents use outbound marketing and other forms of media to reach out to buyers in other areas.
3. What is your plan to market my home to other local top agents?
Holding open houses for both agents and local home shoppers continues to make sense. Some real estate professionals believe in it and others view it as a waste of their time. But all agents in the market can bring you a buyer, not just the one with whom you list your home. Having them actually see your home’s unique character versus just online photos makes solid sense. Having professionally-created, good quality printed materials like flyers and postcards keep your home in front of them long after they’ve walked out the door.
4. What types of media will you use to advertise my home?
We now live in a multi-media world where we encounter advertising everywhere and the way consumers find information is constantly changing.
Be cautious of agents who use only the web to market your home. Ask them how they are going to take advantage of multiple media outlets such as social media, mobile apps, text codes, local real estate magazines, direct mail and other printed materials to reach buyers everywhere – as well as on the web. It is their responsibility to advertise your home to as many of the right potential buyers as possible, not the buyers’ responsibility to happen upon your home on the agents preferred platform.
5. How are you going to realistically price my home?
Pricing a home requires an intimate knowledge of the market to get it right. You want to get the best price, but there can be a disconnection between your expectations as a seller and the price for which your home will realistically sell. The best marketing in the world will not sell a grossly overpriced home.
Ask your agent to share their track record of list price to sold price and days on market on their ten most recent transactions. Homes that sit on the market too long and go through multiple price reductions may have been overpriced – and ultimately may sell for less than they would have if priced correctly from the beginning.
Homes priced right sell more quickly and with less hassle. Additionally, you are less likely to run into bank appraisal problems when the buyer is securing a mortgage.
Calculate the commission you pay to get your home sold and we think you will agree that you have the right to expect a very aggressive campaign. The best agents in your town will meet or exceed the expectations that we’ve laid out here and you deserve to work with only the best.