a REALTOR® to Sell Your Home
you've decide to sell your home, finding a REALTOR® is
the next step in the process. In making this important
decision you should understand:
is a REALTOR®
to evaluate an agent
a REALTOR® will do for you
on your own
you’re not in a "must sell" situation (job
transfer, career opportunity, family upheaval, financial
hardship), but rather in an "elective" one,
you may want to consider adding on to your current home
(if you need more space) or refinancing to lower monthly
mortgage costs (if finances are a concern).
is a REALTOR®?
The terms agent, broker and REALTOR® are often used
interchangeably, but have very different meanings. For
example, not all agents (also called salespersons) or
brokers are REALTORS®. Learn who is a REALTOR® and the
reasons why you should use one. As a prerequisite to
selling real estate, a person must be licensed by the
state in which they work, either as an agent/salesperson
or as a broker. Before a license is issued, minimum
standards for education, examinations and experience,
which are determined on a state by state basis, must be
receiving a real estate license, most agents go on to
join their local board or association of REALTORS® and
the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, the world's
largest professional trade association. They can then
call themselves REALTORS®. The term "REALTOR®"
is a registered collective membership mark that
identifies a real estate professional who is a member of
the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribes to
its strict Code of Ethics (which in many cases goes
beyond state law). In most areas, it is the REALTOR®
who shares information on the homes they are marketing,
through a Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Working with a
REALTOR® who belongs to an MLS will give you access to
the greatest number of homes.
to evaluate an agent
Without any obligation, you can invite local REALTORS®
to visit your home and give you a "listing
presentation" about why they're the best ones to
market it for you. Two to three presentations will
probably give you a good opportunity for choice. A
listing presentation includes having the REALTOR®
review with you the reasons why you should list with
that particular individual, and providing you with
information that will assist you in making initial
decisions about selling your home.
laws in every state have defined the duties of someone
specifically retained as a real estate agent. Most
states require a real estate agent to explain his or her
role at the outset of any conversation. A professional
agent will promptly provide this such a disclosure. Look
for an agent who:
a member of the local board or association of
and discloses agency relationships (the role of the
agent, i.e., who they are representing--the buyer or
the seller) early on in the process, at
"serious first contact"
you on how to prepare your home for the market
some enthusiasm for your property, listens
attentively, instills confidence, operates in a
professional manner, and has a complementary
personality style to yours
already researched your property in the public
records and the MLS
data on nearby homes that have sold (or failed to
following are important questions to ask a potential
you a REALTOR®?
you have an active real estate license in good
standing. To find this information, you can check
with your state’s governing agency.
you belong to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
and/or a reliable online home buyer’s search
service? Multiple Listing Services are cooperative
information networks of REALTORS® that provide
descriptions of most of the houses for sale in a
there's no nearby MLS, how often do you cooperate
with other local brokers on a sale?
have you listed or sold in this neighborhood lately?
you cooperate with buyers' brokers?
share of the commission will you offer a cooperating
broker who finds the buyer?
in addition to the criteria mentioned above, there are
number of very important reasons you will typically
prefer to work with a REALTOR®. Among them are the fact
that they adhere to the NAR’s highest standards of
ethical conduct and professional training.
a REALTOR® will do for you
There are many important reasons to use a REALTOR®.
Some of the duties your REALTOR® will perform for you
through the process of selling your home from
beginning to end
comparable information about the prices for which
other properties have sold and analyzing data for
you to gain a true comparison
information regarding local customs and regulations
you may want to consider
information about your home through the Multiple
Listing Service and on the Internet
advertisements for your home
potential buyers to make sure they would be
financially able to buy your property
the sales contract
you to potential risks
with the disclosures required by law
you with an estimate of the closing costs you will
you prepare for a smooth closing of the transaction.
on your own
"You can get rid of the broker, but you cannot get
rid of the broker's work" is an old caution for
those who intend to offer their homes "For Sale By
Owner" (FSBO). Selling on your own is not an easy
undertaking. It requires a significant amount of time to
study the process, understand your obligations, and do
some of the complicated work that a real estate agent
does. In addition, selling on your own requires extra
help from outside professionals, such as a REALTORS®,
accountants or attorneys for some of the jobs that
require specific expertise.
following are some major pitfalls to avoid:
a personal safety measure, only show your house to
those individuals with whom you've made a prior
appointment that's been confirmed by phone.
price the house so low that it sells too quickly -
pay for a market value appraisal by an experienced
out for a buyer with written pre-qualification from
a lending institution.
out your legal obligations.
you require only limited services, some REALTORS® will
agree to help with the transaction for a predetermined
fee. You can call real estate companies and ask for the
managing broker and see if they're interested in
furnishing "unbundled services."