There’s good reason about 80 percent of homes are sold with the help of a real estate agent, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Here are some of the ways a REALTOR® can help simplify the process:
Setting the right price. One of the first things a real estate agent presents to a seller is a competitive market analysis (CMA) or ‘comps’. The CMA is based on current market trends and recent sales in a given area and is the basis for the agent’s recommended list price. Setting the right price is crucial in home sales, because an inflated asking price can turn away buyers. And according to the National Association of REALTORS®, sellers who use a real estate agent receive on average 20 percent more for their homes than those who sell their own homes.
Neighborhood knowledge. A REALTOR® has a better understanding of what buyers can get for their money in the neighborhood they want to buy into. He or she should also have important information about the neighborhoods, including noise levels, schools, shopping, property taxes and demographics. For sellers, these details are equally important, as they affect the value and marketability of a home.
Marketing expertise. Along with a CMA, a real estate agent typically will present sellers with a marketing plan that details what he or she will do to sell the home. This may include coordinating open houses, writing and placing ads in various media, printing and distributing brochures and showing your house to potential buyers. Agents also have exclusive access to two resources that are often critical to selling a home: other agents and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
The MLS and the REALTOR®’s contacts. The multiple listing service, or MLS, is a database of all the homes for sale by real estate agents in a particular region. Once a home is listed, information about it can be accessed by all the agents in the area and matched to buyers: in effect, your home is being sold by not one person, but by hundreds. The REALTOR® may also arrange an open house just for real estate agents. In turn, these agents recommend the house to their buyers. A study by the National Association of REALTORS® revealed that 82 percent of homes are sold through an agent’s contacts.
Objectivity. When selling, a real estate agent can provide an unemotional view of the home and what needs to be added or subtracted to make it more appealing to buyers. Buyers who choose to enlist a buyer’s agent benefit from the agent’s responsibility to disclose potential drawbacks and flaws of a home, something an owner has little incentive to do.
Efficiency. Buyers with buyers’ agents will only tour houses that fit their budget and needs, because their REALTORS® will eliminate unsuitable homes. Buyers’ agents help sellers, too, by only showing houses to qualified buyers. This means less chance of a mad rush to clean the house and get the kids out the door for people who are just looking.
Drafting skills. REALTORS® help draft contracts and should know the information that must be included in the documents. They can also advise on what stipulations you should make in the contract — items that should remain in the house at closing, for example.
Negotiation and closing assistance. A real estate agent can provide advice to both buyers and sellers about whether to accept or modify an offer or counter-offer. Once an offer has been accepted, the REALTOR® may arrange for a home inspector, financing, a title search and a real estate lawyer, as well as ensure that all repairs and stipulations in the contract are complete.