10 Things to Know About Your Real Estate Agent and Selling Your Home

a Realtor and his client talking at table
  1. What is the process?

    Talk to your agent about their process. It’s important to understand all the steps that are involved in selling your home. Find out what your agent expects from you, and what you can expect from your agent.

  2. What costs are associated with selling your home?

    Don’t quietly worry about how much your agent is getting to sell your home, be forthright and ask about their commission. It’s all part of the job, and they’re not going to be offended. Also, ask about any other costs you should be factoring in. Things like staging, landscaping, repairs are all things that could be requested by your agent when you list your home.

  3. How do they negotiate offers?

    Understand what goes into receiving offers, making counteroffers and accepting an offer. It’s very important that you know what to expect during the negotiating process, and that you have made your expectations clear, as well as understanding your agent’s strategy.

  4. What’s their personality like?

    Your agent is guiding you through what can be a very emotional process. If you’re someone who needs a little extra love and understanding as you sell your home, you may not want to work with the hard-nosed negotiator who is all business. Conversely, if your focus is getting your home sold as fast as possible and you can take the heat, make sure your agent can handle that pressure. Your best option is to work with an agent who has the flexibility to be both, and is a good listener. An agent who listens to you will always know what you want.

  5. How much of their time are they dedicating to selling your house?

    When you have time constraints (as sellers usually do), you want to make sure that you’re not working around your agent’s other commitments. You should find out if real estate is their full-time job, and how many other clients they are representing.

  6. Is he or she a Realtor®?

    Find out if your agent is a member of the National Association of Realtors®. If they have the designation of Realtor® (as opposed to real estate agent), that means that they have been educated about and have agreed to uphold the ethics of the Association. It also means that they have committed to ongoing continuing education requirements. These are definite benefits to having a Realtor® as an agent.

  7. How will they market your house?

    There are different resources available to Realtors® to sell your home. Do NOT be satisfied with the agent who is simply going to put it up on MLS and Zillow. You will not achieve the success you are looking for with that type of agent. Find someone who has the backing of a brokerage, or their own website, or uses a marketing agency (or all three!).

  8. How will they communicate?

    If you don’t want to find yourself waiting by the phone, or hesitating before you send a text on a Saturday morning, find out what is the best mode of communication for your agent. It’s good to know when and how they expect to communicate important information to you, and what days/hours they work and can receive phone calls, and how frequently they check their email.

  9. How well do they know your neighborhood?

    It’s great to have a local who knows all the best features of your neighborhood and can highlight that in their marketing. They will also have a better understanding of what the real estate market in your area will yield.

  10. What work will they request you do to sell your home?

    After viewing your home, it is likely that your agent will make suggestions about updates, painting, repairs and landscaping that will help you sell your home quickly and fetch the best price. Sometimes a real estate agent will suggest staging your home. You should find out if they have resources to help with these suggestions, or if they are expecting you to find providers. Also, now is the time to explain any budget constraints. If you plan to sell your home as-is, make sure your agent knows that right away. But take a moment to listen to their advice, even without costly repairs, there may be small things you can do that will help sell your home.

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