With mortgage rates now above five percent and inflation at a 40-year high, the Denver housing market has a different look and feel compared to last year. A year ago, the common theme was that homes could pretty much “sell themselves.”
While it’s never advisable to try to sell your home on your own, in today’s housing market it’s more important than ever to have a knowledgeable real estate agent representing you. There are now fewer offers, price reductions are becoming more common and home buyers have more options with the higher inventory that exists.
If you are a home seller in this rapidly changing market, understanding the responsibilities of your real estate agent is critical. From the moment you make the decision to sell your home, it’s advisable to bring in an agent to formulate a plan to assure the selling process is seamless and that you get top dollar for your property.
According to the 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers by the National Association of Realtors, 90 percent of home sellers chose to work with a real estate agent to facilitate the sale of their property and find a home.
Since real estate agents work on a commission, it’s imperative to be clear on what the agent will be doing to market your home to achieve top dollar and close the deal promptly. The home seller should first and foremost feel comfortable with the commission the realtor will receive from the sale of the home and what steps the agent will take to market, show and sell the home.
“90 percent of sellers chose to work with a real estate agent to facilitate the sale of their property.”
A clear plan should be in place so the homeowner knows exactly what actions their real estate agent will be taking that will, hopefully, result in a quick offer and closing. No one wants a house to languish on the market, forcing price drops, unnecessary improvements and worst of all, having to remove the listing entirely.
Each agent operates a bit differently so sitting down and setting clear expectations on what services they provide is crucial to the successful selling process. Listed below are some home seller tips and an outline of the key responsibilities of real estate agents.
Evaluation of the Property
Assuming you have already interviewed several agents and decided upon one whom you believe will best represent your interests, the agent should know your neighborhood. This is important for many reasons. It goes beyond just the property valuation and comparable sales within the last three to six months. The agent should know what features area homes have that potential buyers are seeking. Is a master suite important? How about hardwood floors? Neighborhoods can have unique qualities and often the homes reflect those characteristics. A seasoned real estate agent will be able to quickly identify key selling points of your home and whether there are items you should consider adding before listing. At the very least, the homeowner should be advised that new paint and decluttering are “musts” in preparing your home for listing.
Bottom line is that the review of your property will ultimately determine the pricing. This is the step that causes the most anxiety. Is it too much? Is it too low? What is reasonable? The real estate agent has many resources to help determine a price but don’t be afraid to question and ask for justification of the price. Ultimately, the homeowner must sign off on the asking price so make sure you understand all the variables.
Prior to producing any marketing publications, your Usaj real estate agent will ask you what you love about your home and what drew you to it initially in hopes of pointing out these great features to a the next owner. At Usaj Realty, we implement a variety of online and printed promotional materials to feature your home. These include virtual tours, social media campaigns, open houses, yard signs, professionally printed materials, professional videography, and professional photography for all of our clients.
Gone are the days of solely hoping someone will see the yard sign, the listing in a newspaper or a flyer in a storefront window, or hoping the buyer’s agent will find your home on the MLS (national database of homes for sale). Serious buyers are online, looking at Zillow and other real estate sites, perusing social media and other house hunting apps. Your agent should have a multi-level plan to market your property which may incorporate conventional avenues like direct mailings, yard signs, featuring the listing on the real estate company’s website, posts on social media channels, blogs, videos, and email campaigns. Consider the audience you are trying to reach and ask questions of your agent as to whether the marketing is going to reach the type of buyer you think would be interested in your home.
Once the marketing plan is in place, the agent should be prepared to provide updates on how the efforts are going. How many visits have there been to the website listing? How big is the audience for the Facebook ad? How many leads did the email produce? How much money has been spent on advertising and marketing? How many showings have been scheduled? Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions and even suggest some efforts that might accelerate the sale.
Prepare the house for showings
Be ready to put some money into your home before listing. As mentioned before, a fresh coat of paint and decluttering go a long way in giving your home a “new” feel. Eliminating excess furniture, and ridding shelves and walls of personal items is a good rule of thumb. Many real estate agents suggest bringing in a home stager to help present the home in the best possible light. This can be money well spent, especially if it results in a quick sale. A tidy home shows better and makes working with your agent much easier. Your agent should be able to recommend reputable home stagers for you to hire, and will give you tips for keeping your home in “showtime” mode to assure potential buyers leave with a good impression of your house.
As a seller, being prepared and flexible to leave the premises at various times during the week for showings will also help the home sell more quickly. Your agent will walk you through what to expect. Your Usaj Realy agent will also place a lockbox at the home so that buyers’ agents can easily gain access to the home.
Once you get an offer on your home, an experienced agent will be worth his or her weight in gold at the negotiating table. This skill can save you time and money and hopefully provide you with top dollar for your home. Before you select an agent, you may want to get a feel for their ability to haggle, their knowledge of inclusions/exclusions, and how effective they are in closing a deal. The bottom line, your real estate agent should be working for you and not the other way around.
At the closing, be prepared to sign many forms. The Colorado Division of Real Estate website has a list of the common forms that are required in any real estate transaction. Before you consider selling your home, you might want to get on the site so you know what to expect. Your real estate agent should be familiar with these documents, as well as forms that may be specific to your community or neighborhood.
(Editor’s Note: This blog has been republished from July 2019. It has been updated to include new information).