What Is Your Reason To Sell Your Louisville Home?
Your family is growing and that starter home you bought as newlyweds no longer fits. It’s time to buy a larger home. Or the last child is off to college and you’re ready to downsize and spend more time on the golf course and less time taking care of a big yard. Whatever your reasons for moving, you have a home to sell before you can purchase your next home.
Choosing A Realtor
So how do you choose from a cast of thousands of Realtors in Louisville ?
It’s important to interview at least two or three Realtors. After all, who you choose is not just important – it’s critical – especially in today’s challenging market. The agent you choose can literally mean the difference between selling your home or having it just sit there and become shop worn. It can mean thousands of dollars to you – in the black – or in the red.
While it is often a good idea to ask friends and family for recommendations, you will still want to do your own due diligence to ensure you’re hiring a great agent with a proven track record. After all, you have your own standards and expectations that might not necessarily line up with those of your friends and family.
Be Prepared With Questions
Be ready with a written list of questions to ask each candidate. (For your benefit, and to give the Realtor time to prepare, email a list of the most important questions to the candidate prior to his/her arrival.) Here are a few key questions your Realtor of choice should have no problem answering:
1. Tell us about your real estate experience.
It’s not just number of years in the business that matters. Ask for the agent’s sales volume over the past two years. Ask the agent to provide a “bio” outlining designations and awards earned. Look for community involvement to see how well connected the agent is. An agent who shows this type of commitment to his/her career is typically a successful Realtor as well.
2. How many homes have you LISTED and how many homes have you SOLD in the last six months?
You will want to give special attention to any agent who has consistently SOLD homes in your area, or even your own neighborhood. But don’t discount the agent who hasn’t sold in your neighborhood but can demonstrate that he/she is experienced with sales in your price range. What is the average sales price as compared to list price?
3. What is your average length of time to achieve a sale?
Again, a savvy agent who keeps track of the numbers should be ready to show you how long, on average, it takes for him/her to get an accepted contract. Even in today’s economy, an agent who really knows the marketplace and strategically prices and positions a home to sell, will achieve success sooner than his/her competitors.
4. What is your marketing plan?
Ask to see the agent’s websites. The best Realtors have built extremely impressive websites that the buying community uses as their “go to” site for home searches. You want your home to be on sites that are well organized, easy to navigate through, and will showcase your home in its most positive light, with interesting ads, sharp photographs, etc. In fact, all marketing materials should be extremely professional looking. If you are less than impressed with the agent’s online marketing before he/she even comes to your door, you might want to cancel the appointment and look to other candidates.
5. Do you have a support Team?
Professionals understand the importance of leveraging themselves so that they can do what they do best: SELL HOMES. A true salesperson is there for the important negotiations and is the person who will report in to you to keep you up to date on marketing efforts, etc. But the personality of a true salesperson is one who hates the paperwork part of the job. Look for an agent who has an assistant on staff who handles the day-to-day activities such as scheduling showings, uploading photos and videos, and overall maintaining order. Someone who can afford to pay for an assistant is a successful Realtor who realizes that an assistant is an invaluable asset, not an expense.
6. What is your typical length of time on a listing agreement, and what is your commission?
The amount of time you are willing to give the agent, as well as the commission you are willing to pay, is negotiable. When you sit down with each candidate, make sure this is explained to you carefully. In a great market when homes are flying off the shelves, a 90 to 120 day contract should be ample time. Today, as homes are taking longer to sell, many Realtors are asking for six to nine month listing contracts. When it comes to commission, I offer a word of caution: please don’t shop price. A top producing agent is worth every penny because a great deal of effort is going to be expended to achieve a sale. An agent who will easily reduce his/her commission just to walk away with a listing contract in hand may also be an agent who will be that weak when it comes to negotiating your bottom line as well.
7. How will you arrive at a list price you feel will sell my home?
All Realtors know how to prepare a market analysis, and as you interview two or three you will see who really took the time to research each comparable active, pending, and SOLD listing in your area, as well as those that failed to sell. A true pro will take the extra time to find out, for instance, if there were Seller-paid closing costs involved, or if a home SOLD for substantially less than full price because the Sellers were being transferred quickly and were highly motivated to take less, etc. If your candidate can demonstrate that he/she has gone the extra mile to thoroughly investigate the best possible “sellable” price for your home, chances are that’s a price range you can count on.
8. Will you help to stage my home?
Understanding the importance of staging your home to sell, top Realtors may pay for at least some portion of a home stager’s fees. Some will pay for the first hour of a home staging consultation, for instance. This is a wonderful resource to take full advantage of. In a world of fierce competition, having your home staged and fully ready for prime time will set you head and shoulders above the crowd and greatly increase your chances of selling at top achievable dollar.
9. Can I count on you for regular feedback and frequent communication?
This is the Number One complaint from home Sellers. Sellers who have sold homes before often report that their agent didn’t call them very often to report in, and all too frequently never got feedback from showings. Make sure your candidate has a system in place to communicate with you the way YOU prefer, whether a weekly phone call, a text, or an email. Most agents are working very hard behind the scenes trying to find a buyer for your home, but it’s reasonable to expect to hear from your Realtor and touch base on what marketing is going forward, the results of the week’s showings, etc. An aggressive, driven Realtor will want to have these conversations with you. You and your agent should share a common goal – to sell your home. And regular communication will help you both achieve that goal.
Many of these interview questions can be answered via phone and/or email, and if you’re impressed enough with the agent’s answers, track record, and online marketing materials, go ahead and set the appointment.
Start A Long-Term Relationship With Your Realtor
Once you are face to face with the Realtor, watch body language, pay attention to how the candidate handles your additional questions, and how he/she answers them. Remember, this is a long-term relationship, even if an offer comes in quickly. Make sure you feel comfortable around this person, because if you feel comfortable with him/her, so will potential Buyers and other Realtors who may be part of the sales transaction. Listen to your own intuition. This is a huge decision you’re making, and you want to do all you can be make sure this is the right hire.
If you are in the market to sell your Louisville home or know someone who is, feel free to contact us or call us (502-643-7653) for help. Or leave a comment below if you have a questions.