All Articles on Selling | Back to Previous Page
Reasons to Sell |
Getting Financially Organized |
Preparing to Sell |
Your Real Estate Team |
Listing Contracts and Commissions |
Marketing Your Home |
Closing the Deal |
After You Sell
Your Real Estate Team
The Team and the Players, The Perfect Listing Agent, Understanding Agency, Selecting an Agent, Who is the Broker, Other Key Advisors
The Team and the Players
You don't have to become an expert in property values, mortgages, tax and real estate law, title insurance, escrow, pest-control work, and construction techniques in order to buy or sell a home. Instead, you can hire people who've already mastered these skills. Home buying is a team sport. Your job is to lead and coach the team, not play every position. After you assemble a winning team, your players should give you solid advice so you can make well-informed decisions.
You need to determine which experts are necessary and which tasks you can handle yourself. You are the one who must determine how competent or challenged you feel with the various aspects of the house-selling process.
Here's an overview of the possible players on your team:
- You: You are the most important player on your team.
- Real estate agent: Because the house that you're getting ready to sell is probably one of your largest investments, you want to protect your interests by having someone on your team who knows property values. Your agent's primary mission is to accurately tell you what your house is worth and then negotiate on your behalf to sell it for top dollar.
- Real estate brokerage: All states issue two different real estate licenses: one for salespeople (agents) and one for brokers. Real estate brokers must satisfy more stringent educational and experience standards than agents do. If your real estate agent is not an independent broker or the broker for a real estate office, the agent must be supervised by a broker who's responsible for everything that your agent does within the course and scope of the duties of a real estate sales professional. Your agent's broker will provide back-up support to ensure a successful transaction.
- Property inspectors: Your house's physical condition greatly affects its value. Buyers may insist on having your house thoroughly inspected from roof to foundation as a condition of the purchase. We recommend that you get your house thoroughly inspected before putting it on the market so you know what to expect during any subsequent corrective-work negotiations with the buyer.
- Financial and tax advisors: Before selling your house, make sure that you understand how the sale (and the purchase of another home, if applicable) fits into your overall financial situation.
Each player brings a different skill into the game. Assemble a great team, and they will guide you through any situation that may arise during your transaction. Good players act as advisors and the decision making is your job.
The Perfect Listing Agent
The real estate agent you hire to sell your house, known as the listing agent, must be able to accurately answer your most important question: "What's it worth?" Houses sell for fair market value, which is whatever buyers are willing to offer and sellers are willing to accept.
Your agent should be the foundation of your real estate team. An agent helps you price your property, orchestrates the marketing and showing activities, negotiates with buyers on your behalf, supervises property inspections, and coordinates the closing.
Recognizing the attributes of the best listing agents
All the best listing agents have certain important qualities in common.
- They educate you: Your agent knows the selling process and carefully explains each step so that you understand exactly what's happening at all times.
- They enable you to make good decisions: Your agent always explains what your options are so that you can make wise decisions regarding your best course of action. They advise you if they think that you should add other experts (property inspectors, lawyers, and so on) to your team.
- They have contacts: Folks prefer doing business with people they know, respect, and trust. You can make use of your agent's working relationships with local lenders, property inspectors, lawyers, title officers, insurance agents, government officials, and other real estate agents.
- They have time for you.
Agents are bound by certain obligations, which you are entitled to as a client:
- Loyalty (act in the best interest of the client)
- Obedience of all lawful instructions
- Accountability (for all monies)
- Reasonable skill and care
- Declaration of all material facts
- Honesty and fairness to all
State laws clearly define the duties for each type of brokerage relationship. States have mandated agency disclosure forms and rules to provide meaningful and timely written disclosure and describe licensee's duties upon termination of a client relationship.
As you start communicating with an agent, ask for a clear explanation of your state's current agency regulations. Also request a copy of your agent's company's policy regarding agency so you will know where you stand on these important matters.
This agent works solely for and represents the seller. A seller's agent has no fiduciary responsibility to the buyer.
This agent works solely for and represents the buyer. A buyer's agent has no fiduciary responsibility to the seller even if the buyer's agent gets a portion of the commission paid by the seller.
One agent may represent both buyer and seller in a real estate transaction, but only if both parties consent. Buyer and seller must sign a dual agency disclosure statement that describes the duties and obligations of the dual agent. A dual agent may not disclose any confidential information that would place one party at an advantage over the other party, and may not advocate or negotiate on behalf of either of the two parties.
Most states permit dual agency relationships as long as the agency status is disclosed to both the sellers and the buyers in advance, and both parties agree to it.
Selecting an Agent
What's important is you!
Quality customer service is the combination of personalized attention with instant information. Today's real estate agents are trained customer service professionals who are relationship focused and technologically empowered. Our agents exemplify our company's belief in service and trust."
A quality agent is someone who listens to you, understands the market in which you are selling, and is able to communicate in an effective way to meet your needs. Agents are trained experts in negotiation as well as transaction forms and finance options.
Who is the Broker
When you select an agent, your agent's broker is part of the package.
- All states issue two markedly different types of real estate licenses: one for salespeople (agents) and one for brokers. Agents who have broker's licenses have to satisfy stringent educational and experience standards.
- Your agent may have either type of license. Broker's licensees have the option either to operate independently or to work for another broker. An agent who has a salesperson's license, on the other hand, must work under a broker's direct supervision, ensuring that you have access to the broker's expertise if you need it.
- Good brokers develop and maintain relationships with the people with whom their office deals -- other brokers, lenders, title officers, city officials, and the like. This reservoir of good will is yours to use. Brokers with strong business relationships can help you in a crisis.
Contact your broker if you and your agent are faced with a tough problem.
Other Key Advisors
A home's physical condition greatly affects its value. And unless you're a professional property inspector, you probably won't be able to estimate how much corrective work a house needs simply by looking at it.
Invisible defects can end up costing a significant amount of money to repair. The more you know, the better able you are to deal with those problems effectively. For this reason, we recommend that you have your property thoroughly inspected before putting it on the market.
Finding financial and tax advisors
If you want to hire a financial or tax advisor, interview several before you select one. Check with your agent, banker, lawyer, business associates, and friends for referrals. As is the case with selecting your agent, you should get client references from each tax advisor and call the references.