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Once you’ve made the decision to sell your home, the next step in the process is choosing a realtor. When making this important decision, it’s essential to understand the following:

  1. What is a realtor?
    The terms “agent,” “broker,” and “realtor” are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings. While not all agents or brokers are realtor, they should be. To sell real estate, a person must be licensed by the state as an agent or broker, meeting specific educational, examination, and experience requirements.

After obtaining a real estate license, most agents join their local board or association of realtors and the National Association of Realtors, the world’s largest professional trade association. By becoming a member, they earn the title of realtor, a registered collective membership mark that signifies their adherence to the National Association of Realtors’ strict code of ethics. Working with a realtor who belongs to a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) provides access to a greater number of homes for sale.

  1. How do you assess an agent?
    You can invite local realtors to visit your home without any obligation. Request a “listing presentation” to learn why they are the best choice to market your property. Evaluating two to three presentations will help you in choosing a realtor that you can feel confident with. Each realtor will explain why you should list with them and provide information to help you make decisions about selling your home. Recent laws in every state require real estate agents to clarify their roles at the start of any conversation. Look for an agent who meets the following criteria:
  • Belongs to the local board or association of realtors.
  • Provides full disclosure of agency relationships up front.
  • Gives you clear and comprehensive guidance on how to get the home ready to sell.
  • Professionalism and enthusiasm are there from the start.
  • They’ve done thorough research on your property.
  • They bring data on recently sold or unsold homes in the vicinity.Ask your prospective agents these important questions:
  • Are you a realtor?
  • Do you have a current and active real estate license?
  • Do you belong to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) or a reliable online home buyers search service?
  • If there’s no nearby MLS, how often do you cooperate with local brokers on a sale?
  • What have you listed or sold in this neighborhood recently?
  • Do you cooperate with buyers’ brokers?
  • If you work with a cooperating broker who finds a buyer, how do you split the commission with them?

Working with a realtor is preferable for several reasons, including their adherence to high ethical standards and professional training set by the NAR.

  1. What a realtor will do for you
    Using a realtor offers numerous benefits. They will perform the following duties for you:
  • Lead you throughout the process of selling your home.
  • Provide comparable information about recently sold properties to help you determine a fair price.
  • Offer information about local customs and regulations you should consider.
  • Promote your home through the MLS and online platforms.
  • Advertise your home.
  • Handle phone inquiries.
  • Research buying candidates to confirm that they are financially able to buy.
  • Negotiate the sales contract.
  • Alert you to potential risks.
  • Comply with required disclosures by law.
  • Provide an estimate of closing costs.
  • Assist in preparing for a smooth transaction closing.
  1. What selling on your own entails
    Selling a home yourself, commonly called a “For Sale By Owner” sale, is a big undertaking. It requires significant time to learn the process, understand your obligations, and handle the complex work typically done by a real estate agent. Moreover, selling on your own often necessitates help from outside professionals, such as realtors, accountants, or attorneys, for specialized tasks.

To avoid major pitfalls when selling on your own, consider the following:

  • Prioritize personal safety by showing your house only to individuals with confirmed appointments.
  • Avoid pricing your house too low by obtaining a market value appraisal from an experienced appraiser.
  • Look for buyers with written pre-qualification from a lending institution.
  • Understand your legal obligations.
  • If you require limited services, some realtors may agree to assist with the transaction for a predetermined fee. Return to these guidelines on choosing a realtor and inquire with the agents you find about “unbundled services” from the managing broker.
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