Your number one ally when selling your home is your real estate agent. However, not all real estate agents are created equal. When you are looking for an agent, you are looking for a partner who will have your best interests at heart.
A good real estate agent takes the basic steps to help you get the best price and sell your home quickly. A stellar agent, on the other hand, will go above and beyond to ensure this happens. If you are selling your home, your agent should be doing the following things to get top dollar and a fast sale.
Asking the Right Price
As a homeowner, you have invested a lot in your home. When the time comes to sell, it is not unreasonable to expect to get the highest price possible so you can make a nice profit. However, what you think your home is worth, and what the market will bear are often two different things. It can be tempting to go with a real estate agent who is willing to list your home for the highest price. The truth of the matter is a house listed too high is just as bad as a house listed too low.
The way the market works, real estate agents who know their stuff have researched comparable properties in your area. They look at what the asking prices were and what the houses sold for in the end. This is an important factor in setting the right price because if you price above what most people are asking, you will find buyers’ agents will avoid showing the home.
Over-priced homes result in more trouble for your sale as the longer your home sits on the market, the fewer buyers are willing to view it. In fact, pricing a home too high to get your business is also considered unethical. So right off the bat, you start your relationship with serious trust issues. In the end, you will have to reduce the price anyways, and you will still have issues getting offers because people will be suspicious of the listing since it’s been sitting on the market for so long.
If your home is listed too low, you could end up having people without enough financing view your home, and not be willing to put in an offer above the asking price. While some agents will use a low-ball asking price to attract more offers, others do it to get a quick sale and their commission. Either way, a low price can backfire, with the house being sold way below value or by attracting the wrong buyers so the sale falls through.
Therefore, much like the story of the three bears you need an agent who knows how to price your house just right. Agents don’t just look at the Toronto reports, but instead zero in on comps as close to your own street as possible so they price your home appropriately.
Although in a market like Toronto, where inventory is low often sees houses flying off the proverbial shelves, marketing expertise is still a skill your real estate agent needs. The basics of marketing are taking some photos, listing your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and letting buyer’s agents ask for a viewing. However, a stellar agent goes beyond that. Aggressive marketing sells homes faster and includes:
Professionally taken photos of a professionally staged home
·A virtual tour to allow people to view the home prior to visiting in person
Leveraging social media to get the word out
Posting their virtual tour and images on their own website
Featuring your listing as a must-see, or listing of the day on their blog
Using e-flyers to market to buyers’ agents
Networking with contacts to find more buyers
Holding open houses
Printing brochures for open houses and more
Marketing can make or break not only finding a buyer but also getting the best price for your home. The more interest your agent churns up, the higher the perceived value is of your home.
A bad real estate agent will get your listing, post it and then never speak to you again. If you call them to try to see what’s happening, they ignore your calls. Good communication should be clear from the get-go. The agent that returns your calls or emails right away is more likely to continue this throughout the sale of your home. If you reach out to an agent and it takes them a long time to reply, move on to the next one. Wait until you find someone who understands the importance of staying in contact with you, even if it is a quick text to tell you they have no news!
Master of Negotiation
The best price, the best marketing, and the best communication can still see things fall apart without effective negotiation. When offers come in you want a fighter who can read their competitor and do their best to get the terms and conditions that work in your favour. It is not always about price but meeting the special needs of your personal situation. Think shorter or longer closing date or your openness to throwing in everything from your customized window treatments to redoing the floors before the new buyers move in. Every nuance of the deal must be managed perfectly in order to meet your needs and expectations.
However, another important skill for good negotiators is to know when the seller is being unreasonable. Squabbling over a few thousand dollars, in the long run, is probably not worth it if everything else is right with the offer. You also don’t want an agent who will cave too soon or reject counter-offers too quickly without allowing you to consider everything on the table first.
Be Present at Home Inspections
Although a home inspection takes time and is quite boring to sit through, a good real estate agent should be there to represent your interests. It might not seem so important, but they can listen to feedback and get that info back to you. This works in your favour because they will have inside information when buyers ask for concessions as a result of the inspection. They can speak up when buyers exaggerate an issue and make unreasonable requests, while also judging when something makes sense and is fair for you. It can also avoid you refusing requests that are going to prove to be deal-breakers.
A home sale can have a lot of loose ends that make the final days very stressful. Your agent’s job is to make sure nothing is missed, from ensuring the buyer gets the garage door opener, to making sure the cleaning is complete when you move out.