Selling Step 2: Get a REALTOR® When You Sell a Home

Before placing a home on the market you should identify REALTORS® in your community who can assist with the sale.

Why Use a REALTOR® to Sell Your Home?

REALTORS® are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) and must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics, and have access to a wide range of classes, seminars and certification opportunities. Local REALTOR® groups are active in community matters, and individual members are routinely involved in neighborhood organizations.

Essentially, local REALTORS® are community experts. They track real estate trends, share neighborhood concerns and participate in local matters. They're good neighbors who are in the business of helping others buy and sell homes.

How Do You Choose a REALTOR®?

Many communities have independent real estate agents and realty brokerages. You can find a local REALTOR® in local advertising; by referrals from other agents, neighbors, lenders, attorneys, financial planners and certified professional accountants; and on the Internet. Recommendations of an agent’s past clients can be valuable.

Most people choose an agent who is a relative or friend, who was referred by a relative or friend, or who was their agent for a previous sale. After that, an agent might be chosen because of a referral by one of the professionals noted above, or from a marketing piece, ad or For Sale sign.

It can be a good idea to interview more than one agent even three or four before selecting one to work with. These interviews are a good opportunity to consider such issues as experience, track record, market knowledge, marketing approach, professional network, representation, certification and fees.

What Should You Ask a REALTOR®?

In some cases, sellers elect to meet with only one REALTOR® while other meet with several. Whatever your preference, there are a number of questions you will want to ask, including:

  • What services do you offer?

  • Do you work alone or with a team or partner? What will your role in the sales process be and what will their roles be?

  • What type of representation do you provide? Different states have different forms of representation: some real estate agents represent buyers, some represent sellers, and some facilitate transactions as a neutral party, and in some cases different agents in a single firm may represent different parties within a transaction.

  • What is your track record?

  • What is your market knowledge?

  • What kind of professional network do you have?

  • What are your certifications/designations?

  • What experience do you have in my immediate area?

  • In the current market, how long should my home remain listed to get the highest possible price? Because all homes are unique, some will sell faster than others. Several factors can impact the amount of time a home remains on the market, including changing interest rates and local economic trends.

  • How would you price my home? Ask about recent home sales and comparable properties currently on the market. If you speak with several real estate agents and their price estimates differ, that's OK, but be sure to ask how their price opinions were determined and why they think your home would sell for a given value.

  • How will you market my home? At listing presentations, real estate agents provide a detailed summary of how they market homes, what marketing strategies have worked in the past and which marketing efforts may be effective for your home. Ask your agent which media they use, e.g., Web, flyers, real estate papers, TV, open houses, etc.

  • What is your fee? Fees are established in the marketplace and not set by law or regulation. Typically, real estate agents who list homes are compensated on a performance basis, and are not paid unless the home sells under the terms and conditions that are acceptable to the seller.

  • What disclosures should I receive? State rules require that real estate agents provide extensive agency disclosure information, usually at the first sit-down meeting.

  • Will I be able to get an unconditional release from the listing agreement if for some reason I decide not to sell? A listing agreement is a contract that shows the real estate agent’s obligations and outlines the terms under which your home is being made available for sale. Although the length of the listing agreement negotiable, a 90 day term is common.

What Should You Expect When Working with a REALTOR® to Sell Your Home?

Once your home is listed with a REALTOR®, she or he will immediately begin to market your home according to the most appropriate conventions for your community.

Your REALTOR® should keep you informed as the marketing process unfolds and as expressions of interest are received. In time, the marketing plan may be modified to reflect buyer reactions and changes in the marketplace.

REALTORS® will also help you find any lawyers, inspectors or other professionals needed for your real estate transaction. Your agent will help you understand, evaluate, write and deliver offers and counteroffers.

Your REALTOR®’s expertise and experience is a valuable resource in the complex undertaking of selling a home. Your REALTOR® will help you every step of the way.