What does a real estate agent do for a seller? If you’re unsure, you’re not alone. It’s a question we real estate agents hear a lot. I take it as an opportunity to inform sellers of their options.
The truth is, you can list your home on your own. But there’s a lot that goes into getting the best possible price for your property within a timeframe you’ll be happy with. In this post, I’ll walk you through some of the most helpful services a seller’s agent provides.
Skills a seller’s agent brings to the table
There are any number of ways a good agent can help you achieve a fantastic outcome. But here are a few of the areas where the aid of a professional can make the biggest difference.
A lot more goes into pricing than most people think. It goes without saying that the price you set needs to be fair, or homebuyers won’t even walk in the door to view your home. That said, you also want to find a number that you’ll be happy with. An agent can help you find the right balance.
The price you set for your home should be based on a sophisticated understanding of the local market. What are homes like yours selling for in your neighbourhood? Answering this question will mean digging into current, past, and expired listings in the area. It will also mean determining which homes are comparable to yours in terms of number of rooms, square footage, and features.
Seller’s agents have access to this data, and they know how to analyze it. We use the results we find to create a document known as a comparative market analysis (CMA), which will guide your pricing strategy.
Guesswork and random neighbourhood samples won’t cut it. Remember: there’s a lot at stake. Ask for too much, and your home could sit on the market without a single offer. Ask for too little, and you won’t make the profit you deserve.
Assessing potential buyers
Selling your home is almost certainly one of the biggest transactions you’ll ever take part in. There’s a lot to keep track of, and you want to start off on the right foot.
Sellers who list their homes on their own often wind up selecting buyers based on gut instinct. While there’s something to be said for trusting your judgement, you don’t want to risk working with a buyer who isn’t qualified. If you do, your whole deal could fall apart—quickly.
An agent can help you asses a buyer’s ability to complete a transaction with you. Here are a few things they may look for during their assessment.
- Pre-approval (or pre-qualification) for a mortgage
- The money for a home downpayment
- Good credit & no debt (or reasonably-low debt)
- A sufficient income
Pre-approval (or in some situations, pre-qualification) can be especially important. Buyers don’t always know whether they’ll be able to obtain financing for a home until they speak to a mortgage lender. That’s why is pays to have an agent perform due diligence by collecting the information you need.
Marketing a home starts with knowing the local market well enough to identify potentially-interested buyers. Is your condo perfect for downsizers, or young professionals? Will your house appeal to first-time buyers, or is it right for high-end investors?
Real estate agents have the experience to answer these questions, along with access to extensive professional networks and databases. Using these resources, we can find and reach out to buyers who might be a good fit. One good example is the multiple listing service (MLS), a database that agents use to share listings with one another.
Speaking of spreading the word, good agents know how to put together listings and marketing materials that have the “wow” factor. Professional-quality photos and compelling property descriptions are key. We have the experience to use these components to get maximum exposure for homes across print and digital media.
Home preparations and staging are also crucial, since the state of your house or condo can determine how much it sells for, and how long it sits on the market. Seller’s agents know what buyers are looking for—we can recommend improvements and connect you to professionals who will get the job done right.
A lot of people aren’t comfortable negotiating, especially during large transactions. But even if the process doesn’t intimidate you, it takes a nuanced understanding of the real estate market and the psychology of buyers to do it well.
Here’s an example. Some homebuyers will ask questions about why you’re moving. They might be making polite conversation—or they might be looking for information that will be useful to them during negotiations. Another common tactic is for buyers to provide pricing information about other homes in an attempt to get you to reduce your price.
Good agents know how negotiations work, which means we know just how much information you should reveal. We also know exactly what’s going on in the market, so we won’t get blindsided when buyers bring up seemingly contradictory information. In short: we know when to compromise, and when to stand firm.
So, what does a real estate agent do for a seller? In my opinion, a lot. As a seller, it’s valuable to have someone like that in your corner.
Are you preparing to sell your home? Let me walk you through the process. Get in touch to set up a no-pressure meeting to discuss your needs.