10 Questions Every Homeowner Should Ask an Agent

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As you embark upon what will be one of the most important transactions of your life – whether buying or selling a home – you should be absolutely certain that you are happy with the real estate agent you have hired to help you manage it.  
To help you with this all-important hiring process, here are ten important questions to ask an agent before you decide on whether or not to hire them:
Question #1
How Close Do You Get in Sale Price Related to Asking Price?
It is important to ask for this information as it relates to the past 60 days.  Given that many agents are not that active in the market, you would be best served to obtain the most recent information possible.  As a seller, your agent’s ability to come close to the asking price is a strong attribute and can mean a difference of thousands of dollars in your transaction.
Question #2
How Many Days on Average Does It Take You To Sell a Home?
What’s the average number of days on the market for properties listed by your prospective agent? Since this statistic can reach as high as six to nine months and in some cases and as much as a year, it is important to ask how your prospective agent ranks on the scale. 
Question #3
What is the Rate of Homes Sold on a Monthly Basis?
Knowing the absorption rate of homes similar to yours that are on the market allows valuable insight as to how the market is performing for your particular needs.  Not only does it give sellers a glimpse into the system and how it would translate to their own sale but it also presents a broader view of the entire market in general.
Question #4
What Do You Do Differently To Get Homes Sold?
Especially with the current trying economic times, many agents have been faced with adversities trying to sell the homes on their list.  One of the best ways to learn whether your agent is a self-starter is to find out what they have done in the past when they were unable to successfully sell homes.  Ask why the agent feels the home(s) did not sell and then find out what they are doing differently to get them sold.
Question #5
What Percentage of Deals Do You Represent the Buyer Versus Seller? 
Some agents work primarily with sellers while others work mostly with buyers and still others are experienced with dual-agency deals.  Depending on your needs, you will benefit from an agent that specializes in one of the two.  It is important to ask which side of the fence your prospective agent tends to represent.  
Questions #6
How Many Homes Did You Sell Last Year?
Nothing speaks louder than numbers.  A very important statistic, ask what the total number of homes sold last year was and if possible try to get a more long-term picture of the agent’s performance in this regard. You can also ask for a month-to-month breakdown to see if there are certain stronger months.
Questions #7
Can You Provide a List of the Ten Most Current Clients You Have Worked With?
Rather than rely on the given list of referrals that many agents have handpicked, it’s a good idea to obtain a list of clients that are currently working with this Realtor.  It will provide a much-needed glimpse into the agent’s performance on various stages of real estate transactions.
Question #8
How Much of Your Work Day Do You Dedicate to the Real Estate Industry?
You want an agent that is 100% committed to their  job and if they are focusing more on a day job with real estate being a secondary thing, you run the risk of inaccessibility, lack of knowledge and experience plus lackluster motivation.  Find out how they feel about the real estate industry and whether they are passionate about their work.
Question #9
What is Your Style of Marketing – Proactive or Reactive?
What is your potential agent’s style of working?  Does he or she speak to a large number of people each day? Are they proactive or reactive in nature when it comes to marketing? See how this lines up with your real estate needs.  Are you in a hurry to buy or sell?  Does a laid back agent hinder your efforts? Or does slow and steady work better for you?
Question #10
What Does Your Daily Schedule Look Like?
The typical schedule of a real estate professional can be very telling.  By asking for a copy or general idea of how they conduct their day in terms of their work, you can get a good idea of how much time is devoted to the profession and what kind of business they are running.

Need to Sell Your Home? Here Are Three Great Ways To Get It SOLD!

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The challenged market these days makes it very difficult for homeowners to get their houses to sell.  A few years ago, it was more than enough to put up a listing and let the home sell itself.  But now, during a time when in most markets inventory levels exceed six months or more, it is no wonder that people need as many tools as possible to help the process along.

Factor in that you are competing directly with your neighbors also vying to sell their homes and you really have to get an edge somehow.  In this article, there are three smart ways to make sure your home sells and does so within a reasonable time.

Accurate Pricing Sets the Precedent for Successful Selling

It used to be that it was all about location.  You know the famous phrase: “Location, location, location!” but in today’s tip, it is not so much about location as it is about price.  Simply put, your price advertises your motivation.  If you are a homeowner who refused to budge on a selling price despite getting no offers even after the property has had over 90 Days On Market– maybe it is time to rethink your strategy.  Similarly, homeowners who price too low give off the impression that there must be something wrong with the property.

It is important to price accurately and realistically.  Study the prices of similar homes sold in the same area.  Consider a consultation with a Realtor to obtain in-depth studies and reports that demonstrate a wider scope of statistics that will help you set your price.  Examples of things that may affect your price are the amount of tax, the age of your community development, whether or not it is located near a commercial zone, etc.

Making Sure Your Home is Dressed to the Nines Attracts More Buyers

Sure in the dating scene we need to look our best if we want to “sell” our look and get people interested.  Houses are not much different.  If you dress up your home to perfection, set it up in a way that will have potential buyers “oohing” and “aahing” over features that are highlighted because of the way you have it arranged, you’re in great shape.

Many people have no idea how to stage homes, so there are professional stagers that can come out and help you set up your home and make it display ready.  Keep in mind that the standard you should maintain is similar to that of a design magazine.  Imagine that a professional crew will photograph your home, so you need to make sure there is no clutter and personal items are put away. 

Being Accessible To Show Your Home Shows You Are Serious About Selling

These days buyers are much more savvy than they used to be.  They know they have the upper hand with inventory levels as much as they are nowadays and with the amount of competition some sellers have to face in today’s challenged real estate market.  So making your home available to show, as per the convenience of potential buyers, can really make a significant difference in your success rate. 

There are several factors to keep in mind when your house needs to be shown.  First, declutter the space and remove all personal artifacts that might hinder potential buyers from envisioning themselves in the home.  Second, make sure there are no pets or signs of pets left behind as this can be a put off for those people who do not have pets or who might have allergies.  Third, invest some time to ensure there is sufficient curb appeal.  Buyers should begin to fall in love with the home starting from the moment they see it, throughout their time inside and on the way out.
If you want to sell your home then you will have to consider things from both sides of the fence.  What amount is it that you need to sell the home for in order for it to make sense?  What would buyers be willing to pay based on other properties sold in the area?  How attractive is the space?  Could it become home for the people that are showing some interest?  Finally, are you around to make the home available for serious buyers who don’t have time to waste?  Are you wiling to accommodate requests to see the home at times that may not always be the most convenient for you?  Selling success, while largely depends on the market and trends dictated by other buyers, will also largely depend on how you – the seller -- set the precedent.