The process

The sales process can often times be confusing and stressful. Working with an experienced agent can make the entire process run smoothly. Below is the sales process broken down into steps.

Find a Realtor

Interview a few different listing agents. If you don’t personally know a Realtor ask friends, family and neighbors for referrals. Chances are if they have had a positive transaction with their Realtor the same will happen for you. Calling the listing agents of houses in your neighborhood is also a great way to find a Realtor. If all else fails just go through the phone book and call several real estate companies and tell them you are interested in selling your house and would like to have a Realtor create a competitive market analysis for your house.

When you interview your prospective Realtors ask the following important questions:

  • How much experience do you have in this neighborhood?
    • Expertise in your specific neighborhood is key. If they have an excellent working knowledge of your area they will be able to price your house according to market value which leads to a shorter time on market without sacrificing any money on your end. They will also be able to answer any questions prospective buyers may have about the area or pricing of the house in comparison to other houses on the market in your area. The more knowledgeable your Realtor is in your area the more money and time you will save.
  • How many other clients are you currently working with?
    • Realtors who have a large client list usually have many clients because they are good at what they do. With some however, having too many clients is possible as you may not get as much personal attention as you would like with the sale of your house.
  • Will you be handling all aspects of my transaction or do you have an assistant?
    • Chances are if they have a large client list they do have an assistant who handles some portions of the transaction. Make sure you are comfortable working with your Realtor as well the Realtor’s assistant as there will be some instances when you will not be able to get a hold of your Realtor and will need to speak with the assistant.
  • Can you give me a few references?
    • Most people who sell their homes with Realtor’s never ask for references. I don’t know why as in almost every other situation in which a person is hired for employment they are asked for references. There is nothing wrong with asking. If a Realtor is uncomfortable giving out references than there is probably a reason.
  • How will you market my property?
    • Along with having a deep knowledge of a specific area, the marketing of a listing will have a huge impact on how quickly and for what price your house sells for. Marketing can range from holding open houses and agent tours to networking with other Realtor’s with potential buyers. Your Realtor should define a specific marketing plan and explain exactly what is needed from you as a seller.

Create a Plan of Action

It is important to discuss marketing strategies and responsibilities in great detail with your Realtor. Defining expectations at the beginning of the sales process will eleveate stress later on down the road.

Selle’s Responsibility:

  • Agree to reasonable listing price
  • Agree to marketable terms
  • Prepare property accordingly for showings
  • Make property available for showings and tours
  • Be available for offer presentations

Realtor’s Responsibility:

  • Provide market data to ascertain list price of property
  • Give tips for property presentation
  • Advertise and market property
  • Negotiate the sale
  • Assist with closing process

Prepare Property

Take some time to prepare your property appropriately for the marketing process. Any repairs or upgrades that need to be completed should be done before your property is held open or shown. You should also try to make your house as clean, simple and clutter free as possible. All personalized items should be stored away. Create a space that potential buyers could imagine as being their own. You should also make arrangements and prepare yourself to make your property available for showings and any future open houses.

Pricing and Marketing Your Property

When setting a price for your property you must look at market factors such as location, property condition and economic indicators while measuring your own motiviation to establish a creative package for potential buyers. Your Realtor should be able to produce a competitive market analysis for your property which considers comprable properties’ sold prices, days on market and specifications to produce an estimated value range for your property. A list price is then determined based on the condition of the property and how aggresively a seller wishes to price the property.

Below is a list of ways a Realtor will market a property:

  • Multiple Listing Service
    • The MLS is a database managed by an area’s Board of Realtor’s that contains all listed and sold properties over a period of time. Most perspective buyer’s will search through the MLS via a Real Estate company’s website.
  • Newspaper Advertising
    • Although not as popular anymore due to the increased use of the internet, properties for sale and open houses can be advertised in the newspaper.
  • Open House
    • An open house is a great way to get prospective buyers or othe parties of interest into a house for sale. Nothing beats seeing a property in person.
  • Agent Tour
    • An agent tour is basically an open house for other agents. Agent tours serve two purposes, to gain valuable feedback regarding a poperties pricing and marketability as well as show off the property to agents who represent prospective buyers.
  • Agent Networking
    • Realtor’s who belong to large real estate companies have a distinct advantage in this category. A Realtor who has fifty to one hundred fellow Realtors based out of the same office has the ability to talk directly, email and pass on flyer’s for listed properties to Realtor’s who represent prospective buyers.
  • Home Magazine
    • Some real estate companies publish magazines featuring listed properties. These magazines are then made available to the public at local businesses.
  • Just Listed Cards
    • Some Realtor’s use Just Listed Cards as a marketing tool in a listed property’s surrounding neighborhood. A Realtor will mail out Just Listed Cards to houses in the surrounding area of the listed property and the hope is a neighbor will have a friend or family member interested in moving into the neighborhood.

Purchase Agreements and Closing

Upon successful marketing and pricing a purchase agreement should come in from a prospective buyer. The offer from a purchase agreement usually has an expiration date in which the seller must respond prior to so it is of the utmost importance that you meet quickly with your Realtor to discuss your options.

Variables to Consider With a Purchase Agreement:

Discuss all of your options with your Realtor and seek advice pertaining to the negotiation process.

Once an agreement is reached between both parties the transaction will be scheduled to close. The file will be sent by your Realtor over to the title company who will then act as a neutral third party and arrange all closing paperwork and payments. Your Realtor should keep in close contact with you and the title company to ensure that the file progresses appropriately. During this time all inspections required by the lender and purchase agreement will be carried out as well.

The actual closing is very simple. All documents will be prepared by the title company prior to closing. All you need to do is bring a pen and sign on the dotted line. If you owe any money on the transaction you will also need to bring a check. If you are scheduled to make money usually the title company will be able to deposit the amount in your checking account.

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