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Sellers – A Conversation You Should Have with Your Realtor Before Signing a Listing Agreement

Finding the right Realtor/Agent requires doing a little research and asking a few questions…before you sign the listing agreement. The following are a few items I covered with my sellers when I was listing property.

References – all Realtors should be able and willing to provide you with a list of current references that you can call for feedback. I provided a list of references at the time of our first meeting IF I wanted the listing. Remember, you are interviewing the Realtor and they are also interviewing you.

Comfort Level – I believe the most important question a seller can ask themselves is “do I feel comfortable with this agent?” Do I trust them? If your gut reaction is NO, you need to continue interviewing agents.

Communication – find out up front who will be in contact with you as this process is unfolding. Will the listing agent be available to you or will you need to speak with a team member? Make sure the Realtor explains how they will be in touch to provide updates while you are in a listing agreement with the Realtor/Brokerage. Also, when and if a problem arises will you be kept in the loop? I updated ALL of my sellers on Monday via email, text or phone…their choice.

Track Record – the reference list will assist you in determining if the agent is good or not. In choosing your Agent you want to be sure they have experience with homes similar to yours and that they are active in your surrounding area. The most important question to ask is “If the Agent is full-time?” There are a lot of part-time “hobby” agents trying to sell real estate. They do a disservice to their client (you), other agents, the lender, title companies, etc. Time is of the essence when trying to sell a house, negotiate with all parties and get to the settlement table on time. A full-time agent will be available during the week and weekend at set times while a part-time agent is only available when they aren’t working their real job.

Net Sheet – your Realtor should provide you with a list of ALL costs associated with selling your house. The commission, mortgage payoff, interest, closing costs, title costs, etc., should all be included. You should have a good idea of the money you will NET once your home is SOLD.

Listing Agreement – make sure you understand the listing agreement fully before signing it. There should be a definite start and expiration date for the agreement. The commission owed should be in the listing agreement as well as how the commission is to be shared with a buyer’s agent.

If the Realtor is seasoned, full-time and knows the area the listing agreement should come with a cancellation policy that can be exercised IF you the seller are not happy with the Realtors performance. Some Realtors promise a lot to get the listing then deliver little while the home is listed with their brokerage. I always offered an Easy Exit Agreement to prospective sellers. Of course, if the house is under contract you cannot cancel the listing agreement.

Finally, never choose a Realtor based on price alone. Remember that a Realtor cannot magically raise the selling price of your house. Your Realtor should provide you with a current list of comparable properties in your area to assist you in determining the asking price for your house.

I can recommend a listing agent if you are selling in Maryland. Let me know if I can be of assistance.

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