If you're ready to sell your home, you're probably debating whether or not you want to hire a real estate agent. You might be wondering if the work they do is worth the commission you will pay (agent fees are typically paid by the seller). Let's take a look at the services your agent provides, many of which you may not be aware of.
I remember working as an assistant to a successful real estate agent and being shocked by all of the prep work that went into a listing appointment. You may think your agent simply prints out a few forms, shows up at your home, answers a few questions and your house goes on the market. You'd be wrong. There is a lot of research that must take place before listing a home to ensure everything on the contract is accurate and the house is fairly priced.
Before you sit down to sign the listing agreement, your agent will work behind-the-scenes to learn everything they can about your home and homes like it. Finding comparable properties, which are currently on the market, will help in determining the list price for your home. He/she will look at homes with similar square footage, the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, lot size, etc., homes which have sold in the past 18 months, the number of days homes were on the market before they sold, and expired homes. This type of information will be used in a comparable market analysis (CMA), to help determine a list price range for your home.
Beyond determining a price, your agent will also research details about the following:
- Property ownership (verifying legal owner names)
- Deed type/restrictions
- Property taxes
- Legal information & description
- Lot size and dimensions
- Water and Mineral rights
- And MORE!
Finally, a listing presentation will be compiled and will include the information mentioned above, along with samples of professional photography, examples of marketing materials, and reviews from previous clients. Your agent may also include information about public schools in your area and the impact they have on the value of your home. Next, your agent will meet with you to share the information.
Listing Appointment Presentation
Now that your agent has compiled all of the property information, he/she will meet with you to show you the listing presentation packet. He/she will likely include information about the following:
- Agency accolades
- Pricing strategy (ex. when a price reduction might be in order)
- How your home will be marketed (printed materials, digital campaigns, social media, websites)
- Benefits of listing your home in the MLS (multiple listing service)
You'll learn the best way to contact your agent and what times are appropriate (ex. some agents will not respond to texts received in the middle of the night). They will also discuss your contact preferences (ex. text, email, phone). By communicating preferences in the beginning, you will save yourself a lot of frustration as you work with your agent to get your home sold.
- Do you want to receive text messages or would you prefer email?
- Do you prefer text or phone calls?
- If a house goes on the market, do you want to receive a call and have a showing set up promptly?
As your agent presents the CMA, he/she will discuss a suggested list price, whether or not you agree with it, and land on a price both parties agree upon.
If you agree with everything discussed, you will review and sign a listing agreement. At this point, you've committed to having your agent work to sell your home. You've completed the first step in the processes of preparing to sell your home.
As you can see, real estate agents put in a lot of time and effort preparing to list and sell your home. Much of the information your agent compiles is not public information and therefore would be difficult for you to obtain if you were trying to sell your house on your own. Without an agent and this level of research, you might underprice or overprice your house, leaving money on the table or your house on the market for far too long. Now that you know all of this information, you can be better prepared to sit down to a listing presentation and know what to expect. Side note: just because an agent presented this information, doesn't mean you have to work with him/her. You have the right to discuss a different price, marketing tactic or even decide not to work with the agent altogether.