Step 1 to selling your home: Find a REALTOR®
Some homeowners start the selling process by looking at sites like Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia to see what similar properties have recently sold for in their area to help determine a current valuation of their home. I get it, but keep in mind:
- The sites aren’t 100% accurate. Listings never entered in the MLS (e.g. off-market listings or houses for sale by owner) won’t be in there.
- Sites like Zillow that give you AVM (Automated Valuation Model) are only able to use mathematical calculations to stick a value on houses and do not take into consideration the many variables the public records cannot see.
- Information on some sites is many times out of date or just inaccurate. A property might show it’s still active on Zillow even though it sold several months ago.
- When professional appraisers conduct an appraisal, they take into account homes that have sold in a particular neighborhood within a finite time period—usually 3-6 months. You can’t sort listings by date on most public websites, so only searching properties that have sold within the last 90 days isn’t possible, giving you inaccurate results.
- Properties may not list the actual square footage—or what’s found in public records varies from actual knowledge from a real estate professional, so it’s hard to know if you’re comparing similarly sized homes.
Therefore, Step 1 to selling a home should be to interview REALTORS® to represent you and ask them to provide you with a CMA (Comparable Market Analysis).
How do you find a good REALTOR®?
First, you can 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 is someone you like and trust, as you’re handing over your largest financial instrument. Time after time I am always incredibly honored to interview for the job.
Find out how active is the REALTOR® in community functions? How do they work in advocacy to protect the interests of private property owners? Do they contribute money and time to lobby for real estate-friendly legislation? Folks, this is huge in this day and age.
Ask friends and family for recommendations. Contact those REALTORS® to set up initial phone consultations with them. Notice how quickly each REALTOR® responds to your initial call, text or email. The REALTOR® should respond within two hours. If not, that could be a bad sign. This business moves fast and deals can be lost if your agent doesn’t respond quickly on your behalf to showing requests, offers, inspection negotiations, etc.
Stalk them on social media. See how they act in the real world. Look for well-rounded individuals, active in their community, sharing appropriately online. If their social networks are locked up where you can’t see them, there’s a strong chance their social game won’t help sell your home.
The Initial Phone Consultation
During the initial phone consultation, 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. If your gut reaction says this person might be a good fit, ask them to prepare a CMA on your home and set up a time to meet in person. Be prepared for the REALTOR® to ask questions about your home, how much you owe on your mortgage and if any repairs are needed, as this information is needed to prepare an accurate CMA.
Meet to Review the CMA
When you meet in person, ask the prospective REALTOR® some important questions to help you make a decision. Take your time to look over the CMA (here’s a great article on deciphering a CMA).
- Ask 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 s/he doesn’t know this, move on.
- Ask what they charge, how much the closing costs will be, and your estimated net proceeds will be at a suggested sales price.
- Most importantly, be honest with each REALTOR®. If you need to sell your home for a certain amount or in a certain time frame, tell them. Only when REALTORS® have the complete picture can they come up with the best strategy to fit your situation.
- And always trust your gut. We know when it feels right.
Sign the Agreement
Once you’ve chosen the REALTOR® to represent you, expect to sign an Exclusive Right-to-Sell listing agreement (here’s a blank form to look over) authorizing that REALTOR®—and his broker—to represent you. That puts everything in motion to get your home on the market. There’s some added language I put in paragraph 18 of the listing agreement that’s going to give you extra attention—I talk about that in our consultation.
If you have any questions, contact me at Steve@SoldonShawnee.com or 405-585-6580.