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When selling your New York home there are plenty of good reasons why you should hire a seller’s agent to help. The predictions by StreetEasy are that demand will increase this year, followed by greater buyer competition. Selling a home takes time, knowledge of the market and negotiating skills. It might seem tempting to eliminate the agent’s commission – 6% on average – but that cost can be well worth it.
Why You Should Hire a Seller’s Agent
The housing market is constantly shifting and it’s the agent’s job to stay informed about those changes every step of the way. A good agent is there to help you set the right price and get buyers through the door. They’ll have proven experience in marketing similar properties, contacts with other professionals and the training to handle all negotiating and paperwork.
Not sure where to start? Begin by searching online and reading agent reviews by previous clients. You’ll want someone who is qualified, ethical and understands the business inside and out. Once you’ve found a few, call and see if you can arrange a meeting. Keep in mind that while you’re sizing them up they’ll be doing the same for you. Good agents are just as selective in choosing their clients.
Here are eight vital questions you should ask a real estate agent when selling your home.
1. What are your qualifications?
At a minimum, your agent should have a state license and belong to a local real estate trade association. This gives them far more access to multiple listing services so your home has a higher chance of getting noticed. It’s even better if they’re a member of the National Association of Realtors which requires extra training and adherence to a code of ethics.
2. How long have you been in the business?
The majority of real estate knowledge is learned on the job, making experience a premium. That’s not to say that newly licensed agents aren’t valuable. Newer agents tend to have more time to devote to each transaction and if they have access to experienced mentors they’re worth taking seriously.
Still, experience counts for a lot. The agent should have at least a few transactions under their belt – from listing to closing – and be familiar with the neighborhood.
3. How do you plan to market the listing?
Without good marketing, even the best property won’t sell. As the owner, it’s important to know how the agent will be marketing your home to the greatest number of buyers and what their sales philosophy is. Have them take you through an example of a previous sale to see how the marketing was done. Professional listing photos and even virtual tours are of increasing importance in sale nowadays.
4. May I review any documents that I will be asked to sign?
Any professional agent worth their salt will make all documents available for review before asking you to sign. It’s well worth having your attorney look these documents over before hiring. As a seller, the most important documents to review are:
- Agency Disclosure
- Listing Agreement
- Seller Disclosures
5. How much will selling my home cost?
Be upfront about knowing what all final costs will be such as brokers commission, closing fees and anything else that can be used to compare one agent to another. In real estate, all prices are negotiable so don’t let the first price put you off. The average commission charge is 5-6% with top agents usually less negotiable.
6. What is it that separates you from the competition
An agent with high confidence and experience won’t hesitate at this question. When selling, personal standards are everything so find someone whose standards and business model matches your own.
7. What should I do to get my house ready?
A good agent should be able to make recommendations on how you can improve the marketability of your home. Ask about what other professionals they can recommend such as home stagers, attorneys, and home inspectors.
8. What sort of guarantees do you offer?
If you sign an agreement with the agent but later find that you are not happy with things will they allow you to cancel the agreement? Knowing the company policy on cancelations will allow a better relationship as you’ll know exactly where things stand.