If you are buying or selling a home in today’s tough market you probably have questions and may find it helpful to get some advice from a real estate expert who regularly answers questions asked by homeowners. Here are some great questions that are commonly asked by people just like you.
We are putting our home on the market soon and are currently interviewing real estate agents. How long should we expect our listing agreement to be? One agent wanted it for a year, but that seemed too long.
I don’t really blame the agent for asking for a year because in today’s market it is taking a bit longer to sell a home than it did a few years ago. But truthfully, the issue really is how difficult is it to get out of the agreement, if for some reason you want to?
For instance, my agreement is for 180 days but I have an overriding statement that says if for any reason you want out of the agreement you may do that with 48 hours of notice at no cost to you – make sure that there is no cost to you.
Because sometimes it’s not a good match, or sometimes you just get tired of the effort and you want to get out of the arrangement. The main issue is not how long the agreement is, but how easy it is to get out of it if needed.
We’ve heard that when buying a home everyone should have their own agent to represent them. How do we know who to choose as our agent? Are there specific questions to ask an agent when making that decision?
Well I may be prejudiced because of being in the business for 25 years, but I think it’s really crucial to have somebody represent you. So many times – especially with first time buyers – people will just go with the agent who had the home listed or they just call the person listed on the sign with no investigation into that person’s qualifications.
It’s a big decision and you wouldn’t hire an attorney or a doctor that way; you’d want to investigate them and make sure that they were successful in their trade. And likewise, you should investigate a real estate professional by asking questions of the agent that you are considering. Some questions you ask will be simple and general in nature, and some will probably be a bit more involved and specific to your needs. You want to make sure that you talk to a couple of people; not just one. Make sure you have the right person in your corner. Trust me, it doesn’t cost anything to make sure you have the right agent, but it can cost you thousands if you don’t.
We have already moved out of our home and now realize a furnished home shows better than an empty one. Short of moving back into the home or paying someone to re-furnish the place, what can we do to help generate more potential buyers?
This is a great question. So many times after somebody hasn’t been successful in selling and the home is already empty, an agent will go there to take pictures and while the room may be beautiful, it just doesn’t draw you in like a furnished room would. Remember, it’s all about getting people in the front door and you can now virtually furnish the rooms in the photos.
You can have a listing photo of a nice family room, but if it’s empty and doesn’t draw you into the house, you won’t get people through the front door, and you’ve got to get people through the front door. For a couple hundred dollars you can furnish your home virtually and even have a fire going in the fireplace. A photo of an empty bedroom doesn’t mean anything to you or me, but when it’s furnished we can suddenly feel ourselves living there. That’s the difference; you want to tap into the person’s emotions so that they can actually feel themselves living in the home. This is a huge issue; remember you’ve got to get traffic in the door and the way that happens is by that appeal online.