Thursday, January 25, 2007

8 home sellers tips from the National Association of Realtors

Sure they have a vested interest in having you use a Realtor but the National Association of Realtors have these great tips to think about to get you home sold. Most of them are good tips and a few are to use a Realtor.

1. Know your home’s value.
Beware of companies offering to buy your home to save you the “hassle” of putting it on the market – these companies often profit at the seller’s expense. Ask several Realtors® in your area for a comparative market analysis, or CMA. These real estate professionals will analyze recent sales and market conditions to provide a realistic assessment of your home’s value, and can suggest strategies for the best sale.

2. Protect yourself and your home.
Don’t allow random passersby into your home unescorted. A serious buyer will be working with a real estate professional or should be willing to contact your agent to schedule an appointment. Lock valuables away before an open house – the agent on site will be monitoring traffic, but it’s impossible to be everywhere at all times.

3. Understand the purchase contract.
A Realtor can help evaluate purchase offers and advise you on counteroffers and contract acceptance. It is important to know how contingencies such as appraisal, financing and inspections will affect the transaction, and understand their implications for you as the seller. Remember, a high price offer is worthless if the buyer never makes it to the settlement table.

4. Hire the right real estate professional for the job.
Relying on the experience of a real estate agent makes financial sense. An NAR survey of recent home buyers and sellers found that the median home price for sellers who use a real estate agent is 16 percent higher than a home sold directly by an owner; $230,000 vs. $198,200.

NAR encourages innovation and competition, and recommends that home sellers interview at least three Realtors® to evaluate their qualifications and fit. Examine each professional’s level of experience and service, ask for referrals and talk to past clients. Don’t make an agent’s commission the sole deciding factor – you wouldn’t put your life in the hands of a doctor because he or she had the lowest fee; why would you want to do that with your largest financial investment?

The recent real estate boom has encouraged an explosion of real estate licensees. But getting a license and succeeding as a professional in the industry are two very different things. To find a true real estate professional – one who will represent your interests and provide valuable insight and advice regarding what is likely your biggest investment – follow these steps.

5. Do your research.
Drive around your neighborhood or the area you’d like to live in, and make note of the active real estate agents in the area. Call local brokerages for agent recommendations, and specify whether you are buying or selling a home.

6. Ask trusted friends and relatives for referrals.
According to the 2005 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 44 percent of all recent buyers were referred to their real estate agent through a friend, neighbor, or relative.

7. Interview at least three agents.
Ask each about their business approach and philosophy (do they offer full service, or will you have to assume some responsibilities in the transaction); experience; designations and advanced training; and referral network (home inspectors, lenders, contractors, etc.). Home sellers should also ask about the number of homes sold in the past year, length of time on market, average sales price in relation to asking price, and the agent’s marketing plan.

8. Make sure your agent is a Realtor.
A Realtor is a licensed real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics, which obligates Realtors® to be honest with all parties involved in a transaction, whether it is the buyer, seller, or cooperating agent.

Through membership in NAR’s affiliated institutes, societies, and councils, Realtors® devote themselves to continuous study of the most recent trends in their fields to stay abreast of industry developments in their specialized areas and better address industry issues.

A real estate licensee has passed an exam; Realtors are real professionals.

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