Hire a REALTOR®
Many homeowners start the selling process by looking at sites such as Realtor.com, Zillow, Redfin or Trulia to see what similar properties have recently sold for in their neighborhood in an effort to determine the current value of their home. That’s fine and understandable, but keep in mind:
- The sites aren’t 100% accurate, as listings that were never listed in the multiple listing services, e.g. pocket listings or For Sale By Owners, could be missing.
- The information on the sites is often out of date or not accurate, as sometimes Realtors have to manually change their listing from Active to Sold in many of the sites. Homes for sale by owner always have to update their status and often miss those details. Unfortunately, many are not good about updating this information regularly. Therefore, a property might look like it’s still available on Zillow even though it sold nine months prior.
- When professional appraisers conduct appraisals, they only take into account homes that have sold in a particular area within the past year. It’s not possible to sort the data by date on the websites so it’s difficult to only look for properties which have sold within that time period.
- Many properties don’t list the square footage and it’s hard to know if you’re comparing similarly sized homes, which makes a big difference when determining value.
- Therefore Step 1 to buying a home should be to interview Realtors to represent you and ask them to provide you with a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis).
Find a Realtor
How do you find a good Realtor? Hopefully you’ll contact me at (405) 585-6580 or Steve@SoldonShawnee.com so we can see if we would be a good fit. Remember, not all Realtors are right for all people. You need to find someone who is not only great at his or her job, but someone you like and trust as you’re putting a big piece of your financial future in their hands. Ask friends and family for referrals. Contact those Realtors and set up initial phone screenings with them. Notice how quickly each Realtor responds to your initial phone call or email. Everyone receives a ton of spam calls, so be sure to leave a voicemail and/or send a text message. The agent should get back to you quickly—at the most, within a few hours. If not, that’s a bad sign. This business moves fast and deals can be lost if your Realtor doesn’t respond quickly on your behalf to prospective buyer inquiries, agent showing requests, purchase offers, inspection negotiations, etc.
Initial Phone Screening
During the initial phone screening, find out if the Realtor knows your neighborhood and if they’ve ever helped a client buy or sell property in your neighborhood. Ask about their experience. Ask about their advanced education and specialization. Ask about their involvement in the industry beyond working with buyers and sellers.
If your gut reaction says this person might be a good fit, ask them to prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) on your home and set up a time to meet with them in person. Be ready for the Realtor to ask questions about your home, how much you owe on your mortgage, what improvements you’ve made and if any repairs are needed, as they need this information to do an accurate CMA.
Meet In Person and Review the CMA
When you meet with the Realtor in person, ask them some good interview questions for hiring a Realtor. Go over the CMA (click here for tips on reading a CMA). Ask the agent not only what they think your home is worth but what the average days on market (i.e. the number of days from when your home goes on the market until you have an accepted contract) is in your area. If the Realtor doesn’t know this, move on. Ask them what they charge, how much the closing costs will be, and what approximately you’ll net if you sell your homer for X price. Most importantly, be honest with each Realtor. If you need to sell your home for a certain amount of money or in a certain time frame, tell them. Only when Realtors have a complete picture can they came up with the best strategy to fit your situation. Lastly, trust your gut.
Sign the paperwork
Once you’ve picked a Realtor, expect to sign a listing agreement authorizing that Realtor to represent you. That starts the ball rolling to get your home on the market. Here are some sample documents for your review:
Selling your home involves a lot of paperwork. Here are the forms you will be completing soon:
- Estimated Net to Seller Worksheet
- Listing Agreement (see video below)
- Residential Property Condition Disclosure
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure (for homes built prior to 1978)
Here’s an important video where I go through the listing agreement paragraph by paragraph. It’s vitally important you understand the document because it’s a binding contract. If we don’t meet in person or in a virtual meeting to go over it, you must view this video:
If you have any questions, contact me at Steve@SoldonShawnee.com or (405) 585-6580.