The decision to sell your home is a big one.
Once youve decided to sell, you are confronted with a whole list of choices. Hiring the right broker is probably the biggest decision you will make. Which real estate agent should you hire?
Dont fall into the trap of thinking that all real estate brokers are the same. Many sellers have painfully discovered that there is a vast difference among brokers. Picking the right one can mean the difference between a smooth transaction and a nightmare that can foul up all your plans and cost you thousands of dollars. Here are the questions you should ask each agent:
How long have you been selling real estate? This will give you an idea of how much experience the broker has. You may not want to list your home with an agent who just got his or her real estate license last month. Some new agents are sharp, but in general, an agent with several years experience may be best able to serve you.
Do you have a list of homes you have sold in the past year? Look for a broker who is active in your area. A broker who is actively selling will be sharper and more practiced, more familiar with the market, and better prepared to represent and advise you.
What is the average time to sell a home in this area? This is also commonly referred to as days on market. A good broker should know this information without even having to think about it. This information can serve as a guide in setting a rough schedule for your move.
What is the average time for your listings to sell? A broker with a solid marketing plan should sell their listings faster than the market average. This will also indicate how knowledgeable the agent is about pricing, because homes that arent priced properly listed will take much longer to sell (if they sell at all).
What is your list price to sales price ratio? This is expressed as a percentage. For example, if the agents ratio is 94 percent, this would mean that on average, a home listed by the agent for $100,000 would sell for $94,000. Compare this ratio to the average for your area. You can obtain this and other information by calling your local realty board.
Do you have references or letters from satisfied clients? Many top brokers will provide you with this without your even asking. Remember, you are interviewing someone for the job of handling one of your biggest assets. Do not hesitate to check him or her out.
What is your marketing plan for my home? Have the broker explain step-by-step exactly what he or she plans to do to find qualified buyers for your home. Look for a broker who uses innovative marketing techniques to give you an advantage over the competition.
What asking price do you recommend for my home? The broker should be prepared to suggest a price or price range for your home, and explain to you exactly how the figure was arrived at. He or she should have a market analysis of homes similar to yours that are available, under contract, and recently closed. Some agents can provide a history of prices, which can help you gauge the trend of the market. This can really help you make a wise pricing decision.
Doing a little research before you sign a listing agreement, can save you many hours of frustration and thousands of dollars. Take your time, and make an informed decision!
Joseph Casella is licensed real estate and mortgage broker, owner of Castle Realty and Alpha Capital. He is editor and writer of Market Scope, a newsletter for property owners. He can be reached at (718) 707-7019.
©2001 Community News Group
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