Questions to Ask Your Agent Before Listing Your Home
When you're selling a house, there are a lot of things to keep in mind, and you may have a significant number of questions - that's completely normal. We're here to help.
Even if it's not your first time selling a property, questions abound based on everything from the neighborhood and the current real estate market to any of the many processes around selling that may have changed since you approached this process before.
It's really in your best interests to have a professional, skilled real estate agent to bounce things off of and as an expert resource for those important questions that you have about everything that goes on between listing and the closing table.
Here are five such considerations that you might want to ask your real estate agent about.
Where will you advertise my home?
And to whom? Any agent can place a sign your yard and put your home in the MLS. What separates the best agents from the rest is how they proactively prospect for qualified Buyers. Technology has changed the real estate industry by putting a ton of information in the consumer's hands. A proactive agent will have a plan in place to complement all that data and set your home apart from all the others. This digital world has conditioned us to expect information on demand. Does your agent have a system in place to respond to inquiries and follow up with prospects in a timely manner?
What's My Seller Net Sheet, and Why Is It Important?
This is an excellent question and one that you should spend some time on. The seller net sheet breaks down your potential sale revenue, balanced against any costs that you have in selling the property.
First, you have to understand that as the seller, you'll be paying the agent commission on the sale of the property. There are also costs around preparing a property for sale and interim maintenance, and much more.
By providing a detailed picture of your “tally ledger” for selling, the seller net sheet shows you really what you'll have in your pocket when you walk away from the settlement table—and for most sellers, that's what really counts!
How long should we expect this to take?
Of course, none of us has a crystal ball. Even in the strongest of Sellers' markets, not every home sells in a day with multiple offers. And you know what? That scenario may not even be the best thing for you. Be sure to discuss your expectations and needs for timing the sale with your agent. A seasoned agent should be able to set reasonable expectations with you in terms of how quickly similar homes are selling and what factors could affect how your home performs. The best agents will be able to show you exactly how their individual 'time of sale' compares to the market overall.
Should I Stage My Home?
Besides asking whether you should stage of property, it's worth asking what type of staging will be most effective.
Should the property be fully furnished? What about heirloom woodworking inside and out? Should windows be dressed up, and how should the property be outfitted with interior lighting?
None of these are minor details. They're actually critical to the sale process as you allow your property to be shown by other professional agents. So talking to your agent about staging is an important part of preparing your property.
What Will a Home Inspection Find?
This type of question goes hand-in-hand with the staging of the property, as mentioned above.
Staging a property is an aesthetic concern. It deals with the impressions that potential buyers will have as they enter a home or walk through a property, on a tour, or in an open house environment.
The home inspection is different. It's a chance for would-be buyers to catch any structural problems, problems with appliances or systems, or really anything that affects the value of the property negatively.
Professional home inspectors are trained to recognize the full gamut of potential problems and hazards within a building and on a property’s grounds. There are three common culprits—radon, lead, and asbestos—and each one of these triggers its own concerns in those looking to buy a property. Generally, these three hazards have to be remediated at the seller's expense. But that's not all. Home inspections may find issues with electrical or gas systems, insulation, mold, and many other items.
It's important to note there is also a form where sellers will provide information on any of these issues. It's called a seller's disclosure form, and this is another thing that your professional real estate agent should go over with you in detail.
Should I Offer to Help with Closing Costs?
This question is different. It's based on the monetary deal that you're making with a buyer and that buyer’s psychology as well as their financial situation.
You can first ask your agent about the realistic expectation of someone qualifying for purchasing your property. If you do find qualified buyers, you may want to ask your agent if it's better to offer to help with closing costs. Keep in mind, your buyer is going to have potentially many thousands of dollars in closing costs, for everything from attorney fees and title fees to other types of documentation costs.
Sometimes helping with closing costs helps make a deal happen. In other cases, it might not be necessary. Your real estate agent will know how to consult with you on this issue.
Should I Make Major Improvements?
Some of this goes back to the home inspection process. If you feel like there's something an inspection will catch, that may be a concern. Typically, you want to fix these issues prior to sale. Similarly, if there's a big issue that will impact staging and presentation, you may want to fix that, too.
What many agents will warn against is the temptation to start improving a property in major ways prior to sale. While buyers might want a building to be presentable and safe, for example, they may not like a completely new renovation, and it may not have been what they were looking for in a property. So if you can forego an expensive renovation and save the buyer that money, they can do those upgrades themselves, according to their tastes and style preferences.