If you’re thinking about selling, there are some key questions to ask when looking to work with an agent. The cost to hire an agent is usually the same but the service you receive can vary greatly from agent to agent.
1. What criteria did you use to pull these comparables? When deciding on a listing price for your home, the agent should present you with information about comparables – current listings and recent sales that are similar to your home. If homes comparable to yours have been selling between $1.4 to $1.5, then it would not be wise to list at $1.7. Instead of giving your self some wiggle room during negotiations, having your home overpriced usually just helps to sell the competition. After some time, it also devalues your home in the eyes of buyers, who can see how long your home has been on the market. When a buyer sees that a home has been on the market in excess of 60 days, they assume that it’s not a good deal and will often times offer considerably below asking price. If it had been priced right it would have already sold… right?
So if an agent is showing you comparables that aren’t similar to your home in size, location, condition, and lot size, then you run the risk of over or under-pricing your home.
2. Can I see a sample of the marketing for your most recent listing? Specifically an online link to their listing in the MLS and a printout of a flyer. 88% of buyers are looking online at properties before viewing a home. How your home will look in the MLS is a major factor in attracting buyers and generating showings. Seeing a sample of how they are marketing one of their listings online will give you great insight as to how they will market your home. Do they hire a professional photographer or are the taking the pictures themselves? Did they take time to write creative description that highlights the selling points of the home or put something canned and generic? How many pictures are there? Currently the MLS allows 25 pictures for each property. Listings that have only 1 or 2 photos are passing up on the opportunity to show all the home has to offer. Especially since buyers assume that if there’s no photos, the seller has something to hide or that the home doesn’t show well.
A flyer will show you if they go beyond an MLS printout and create a visually attractive flyer for buyers. It will also tell you if they are more interested in advertising your home for sale or just promoting themselves.
3. What was the market time for your last 3 listings? This will give you an idea of how long your home is going to take to sell. If their last 3 listings all spent 3+ months on the market before selling, that’s usually an indicator that either the home was not properly marketed and/or it was overpriced. Also ask if the homes eventually sold. Why or why not? For how much of the original asking price did they sell for? If their past listings aren’t selling within a reasonable amount of time and are selling significantly below the original asking price, that’s a red flag that the same could happen with your home.
4. What can I do to my home to raise the value? Whether you want to list your home in 6 months or next week, there are usually improvements that can be made to a home’s show-ability before it goes on the market. It may be as simple as adding a few color spots to the front yards or de-cluttering the common areas. Or a bit more extensive like repainting or replacing the carpet. Even if you decide not to make any improvements to your home before listing it for sale, a knowledgeable agent can suggest what modifications can be made to improve how the home is seen by buyers and ultimately increase the value and net you more money after the sale.