Real estate is one of the most complicated things you can sell in your lifetime, so selling your home isn’t something you should tackle yourself. While it’s possible for you to DIY your home sale, working with a professional real estate agent is one of the easiest ways to get top dollar for your home.
While getting quality expert advice for complex topics often carries significant upfront costs, many realtors work on commission, so they’re only successful when their clients are successful. In most cases, agents charge about a 6% commission on home sales, including the cost of marketing your home, subscriptions to MLS systems (to help inform pricing), buyer’s agent fees, and much more.
Considering the time you would spend on logistics if you were to DIY, it becomes clear that a realtor’s services can pay for themselves. If you’re unsure how to choose a realtor, here are a few tips to make the process easier.
Know your home’s worth
One of the first steps you should take before putting your home on the market is to get a free home appraisal to gauge its value. Free home appraisal services use automated valuation models (AVMs) to calculate property values after considering data from a variety of sources such as data from county auditor and tax assessor records, user-submitted data (e.g., facts of the property such as when appliances were upgraded), and comparable MLS listings and sales.
Remember that while AVMs provide valuable insights early on, you’ll still need an official appraisal down the road so you and the buyer’s lenders (if you aren’t selling for all cash) know the exact value. An expert appraisal goes beyond what’s offered by AVMs because the expert appraiser physically measures each part of the property and can also factor the home’s condition in its overall report.
Although free home appraisals are not a substitute for an official one, they’re a quick way to gauge whether you should begin putting your home on the market.
Get expert assistance
Selling a home is one of the most complicated activities anyone can take on in life, which is why many turn to trusted real estate agents to handle the process. Realtors work on commission, meaning they’re only successful if you’re successful.
The most effective realtors communicate effectively, are knowledgeable about the local market, are tech-savvy, keep pace with the latest marketing best practices, are well versed in legal documents, and are ethical. The following questions should help you uncover essential information to choose the right agent for you:
- How familiar are you with my area?
- Who would I be working with on your team through the sale process?
- What are your rates?
- Do you offer any guarantees?
- How often will we be in touch?
Although this list of questions is relatively short, they’re just the tip of the iceberg when engaging with a realtor. In your conversation with them, you can build on these to get additional insights that didn’t originally come to mind.