Do I Need a Real Estate Agent?
Am I required to use a real estate agent?
No. You are not legally required to be licensed sell your own home. If you have in-depth knowledge of the area, know how to determine property values, can research the sales trends for houses in your particular area in the last few months, feel comfortable drafting and/or signing legal contracts, are confident during financial negotiations and have the time, energy and desire market your own home, you can. If you do decide to sell your own home, be sure to use the AlphaHomes FSBO resources available on this site. AlphaHomes.com is here to serve you.
Why should I use a real estate agent or Realtor®?
Using a real estate professional makes selling your home easier. As experts in the field, professional agents will offer you up-to-date information to help determine the best price to market your home. They also recommend changes, repairs and/or improvements to make your home more appealing to buyers. On average, using a real estate professional means your home sells faster. A real estate agent will help you reach a larger number of qualified buyers by using the FMLS (First Multiple Listing Service, the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) along with other specialized marketing tools. An agent will also:
- Advise you of your house’s current value based on recent sales for similar homes in your area, the condition of your particular property, and the supply and demand of the current market
- Develop a marketing plan customized for your particular home and current market conditions utilizing Internet resources, traditional marketing techniques, and multiple listing services to increase your home’s visibility
- Recommend quality professional services — from lawyers and financial officers to contractors and inspectors
- Field phone calls and inquiries from interested buyers and buyers’ agents, ask pre-qualifying questions of potential buyers before showing your home to eliminate unnecessary disruptions to your family’s schedule, schedule and conduct home showings without requiring additional effort from you and follow up with potential buyers after the showing and answer any additional questions they may have
- Provide escrow services to accept and hold a potential buyer’s earnest money
- Manage the contractual paperwork, forms and other necessary documents
- Guide and advise you during the negotiation process and assist you with determining how to handle any items listed on the buyer’s inspection amendment
- Attend the closing and verify that the HUD 1 Settlement Agreement is accurate and follows the agreed terms
Jeff’s Note: Determining the sales price is the singular most important aspect of successfully marketing and selling a home. It is also one of the most difficult tasks for a homeowner to determine on their own. If the sales price is too high, there will be no sale and if it is too low, the homeowner will lose money.
How Do I Select the Best Real Estate Agent to Sell My Home?
- Does the agent work exclusively in the area?
A real estate agent who lives and works in a specific area often knows local information about school rezoning, plans for road widening, traffic patterns, the quality of area amenities, lifestyle and entertainment options and other relevant issues. Agents personally unfamiliar with the area cannot offer that depth of knowledge and service.
- Is the agent a full-time, career professional?
It is common for some agents to attempt to sell property as a part-time endeavor. Since this is probably your largest single investment, you may want to consider the benefits of using a career real estate agent or Realtor®. A career professional is more up to date on current real estate issues and has more experience to provide better service and better results.
- How long has the agent been in business?
A real estate agent who has been in business for more than just a few years should be able to answer all your questions, help you effectively market your home, efficiently solve any problems that arise, expertly negotiate to sell your home for the best possible price, and help you close the home quickly.
- Does the agent effectively utilize available technology?
By knowing, understanding and implementing the latest technology tools, a career agent can make your home selling process easier, quicker and more efficient. Selling real estate in today’s market requires online listings. Most agents have access to a general brokerage site that offers MLS or FMLS listings, but a savvy agent will have an individualized site featuring online listings with additional marketing information, more pictures, more options and a more inviting presentation for potential buyers. An up-to-date agent will implement effective online marketing techniques to access affluent, net-savvy buyers.
- Does the agent ask questions to determine your needs?
During your initial consultation, an agent should ask how quickly you need to sell your home and how flexible that date may be. Your agent should ask if there any special showing requirements or conditions that may affect showing your home, if you need to coordinate the sale of this home with the purchase of a new home, and how much time and/or money are you willing to invest to increase your sales price. Determining your needs early in the process will improve their service and your experience.
- Does the agent listen carefully to your responses and ask further questions to clarify your needs and to determine your desires?
Is the agent ACTIVELY listening to your responses, or have they already “jumped ahead” to asking you to list the home with them? An agent should listen intently, and then ask additional questions to determine your real needs. For instance the agent might ask how important it is that you have showings scheduled to minimize the impact on your family. A good agent should show your home in a way that does not completely disrupt your life.
- Does the agent seem to rush you or give you “sales talk” rather than service?
Some agents are pushy and more concerned about securing your listing than providing you with the best possible service. Does the agent just tell you what you want to hear? Are you dealing with an agent with enough integrity to help you determine the real value of your home, or do they promise an inflated price just to secure your listing? A professional agent is a consultant, someone who helps you to fully define your needs and then works with you to determine what your home is worth, what you can do easily (and inexpensively) to increase the sales price, and helps you close the sale in a reasonable amount of time given your particular situation.
- Did the agent provide you with a list of references?
A professional real estate agent will offer you references without prompting or hesitation. Contact at least one or two of these references before making your final agent selection.