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 to determine the current value of their home.
That’s fine and understandable, but keep in mind:
The sites aren’t 100% accurate, because listings that were never in the BLC (Broker Listing Cooperative), such as pocket listings or For Sale by Owner properties, will be missing.
The information on the online sites is often out of date or not accurate, as most Realtors are not good at updating this information regularly. A property might show as still ‘Active’ on Zillow, even though it sold nine months ago.
When professional appraisers conduct an appraisal, they only consider homes that have sold in a particular neighborhood within the last 90 days. It’s not possible to sort the data by date on the online sites, so it’s difficult to only look for properties that have sold within the last 90 days.
Square footage isn’t always listed, so it’s hard to know if you’re comparing similarly sized homes, which makes a big difference when determining value.
Find a Realtor
How do you find a good Realtor? Hopefully, you’ll connect with me 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. The Realtor should get back to you within 24 hours; if not, that’s a bad sign. This business moves fast, and deals can fall apart if your Realtor doesn’t respond quickly to showing requests, 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 area. Ask about their experience. If your gut reaction says this person might be a good fit, ask them to do a comparative market analysis (CMA) on your home and set up a time to meet with them 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 crucial to do an accurate CMA.
Send us an email so we can set up a time for me to conduct a free market analysis of your home.
Read ‘How to Use a CMA Comparative Market Analysis’(CMA) before your in-person meeting.
Meet in Person and Review the CMA
When you meet with the Realtor in person, ask them our important questions to ask BEFORE hiring a Realtor.
Go over the CMA. Ask what the average days on the market are in your area, which is the number of days from when the house goes on the market until you have an accepted contract. If the Realtor doesn’t know this, move on.
Ask how much the closing costs will be, what their commission fee is, and what your net will be if you sell your home 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 specific time frame, tell them. Only when Realtors have a complete picture can they come 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 Contract authorizing that Realtor to represent you. That starts the ball rolling to get your home on the market.