We won’t mince words: selling your home is a big deal. Small mistakes can cost you thousands of dollars or delay the sale for months.
This is why you rarely hear anyone recommend that you handle your home sale yourself. Unless you’re selling the home to a family member and the deal is practically done already, a real estate agent will be a lifesaver.
Still, hiring an agent isn’t enough. You also need to know the basics of working with real estate agents to make sure you get the best possible experience. Start with these vital tips.
1. Understand Your Agent’s Title
The first step to working well with your real estate agent is hiring the right agent to begin with. That begins by understanding the different job titles and terms you’ll see on an agent’s business card.
Despite the common misconception, the terms “real estate agent” and “Realtor” don’t mean the same thing.
A Realtor is a real estate agent who has taken an extra step and joined the National Association of Realtors. This means they need to follow a strict code of ethics in addition to their other obligations as an agent.
This doesn’t mean that a non-Realtor agent is less trustworthy or that every Realtor is 100% trustworthy. It means that a Realtor has taken on more responsibility and has more to lose if they act unethically. Keep these differences in mind as you choose an agent.
2. Be Respectful of Your Agent’s Time
The relationship between a real estate agent and a home seller benefits both parties. You get to sell your home sooner and with less work while they get paid. To keep that dynamic, you want to avoid a “you work for me” mentality.
When you set appointments with your agent, keep the appointments and be on time. If something comes up and you need to cancel the appointment, tell your agent as soon as possible. You’d want them to do the same for you.
It’s also important to realize that your agent doesn’t exist for the sole purpose of selling your home. They have other obligations too, so don’t expect them to drop everything if you want to meet with them on short notice.
Being respectful of your agent’s time isn’t only the right thing to do. It also keeps you and your agent on good terms so they’ll be motivated to work hard on your behalf.
3. Consider the Agent’s Fee Structure
As you’re choosing your real estate agent, you want to know what their fee structure is from the beginning. Many agents work on commission and this is what most people expect. Not all agents charge this way, though.
Some agents choose flat fee real estate instead. They charge you one price regardless of your home’s sale price.
The key is to do the math and see which one makes more sense for your home. In any case, make sure you know what fees to expect from the beginning.
4. Don’t Hop Around Without a Reason
From the moment you start working with a real estate agent, they’re investing in your home. You don’t want to string along an agent and take advantage of that investment before closing the deal with someone else.
For example, let’s say you choose a listing agent and they start working to sell your home. They’ve spent time staging, photographing, listing, and advertising the house.
Then another listing agent contacts you. They’ve seen your listing, and they say they can give you a better rate if you’ll switch your listing to them. It might be tempting, but this is highly inconsiderate to your first listing agent.
5. Get On the Same Page from the Beginning
The process of selling your house can be a long and tiring one. From the time you start working with a listing agent, make sure you’re on the same page about your expectations.
If you have a specific timeline or goal you want to reach for selling your home, tell your agent. Whether your top priority is a fast sale or a high price, let them know.
It’s also a good idea to talk about communication. What is the latest acceptable time of the night to call your agent? What is the most convenient way for you to keep in touch?
Establishing these expectations from the beginning is one of the keys to a low-conflict working relationship.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Selling your house is a complicated transaction. There are many legal considerations, forms to sign, and varying clauses in the contracts. It’s important that you understand the details before you sign anything or make any commitments.
For this reason, don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you want. You should never sign anything before you understand what you’re agreeing to, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to do so.
Part of your real estate agent’s job is to work with you throughout the process. They would prefer that you ask questions instead of agreeing to something you don’t understand and changing your mind later, putting the sale at risk.
Learning the Art of Working with Real Estate Agents
When it comes down to it, a real estate agent can make or break your home sale.
To start, they could put thousands of dollars more in your pocket by negotiating a great deal. On top of the financial aspect, working with real estate agents can make the difference between a stressful, time-consuming journey and a simple, satisfying one.
If you’re getting ready to sell your house, the tips above will help you find the best agent and work with them to get the best result for everyone.
For more great tips on selling your home or mastering other life-changing tasks, check out more of our blogs.