So You Decided To Sell Your Home – What’s Next?

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By: Christel Silver Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers
When deciding to sell your home, you need to make a decision: which is the smarter way to sell it?  Hire a real estate agent or list it yourself FSBO (For Sale By Owner)? Selling yourself vs. a real estate agent depends on your situation and how motivated and able you are to take on the process yourself.
The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) statistics from September 2016 say that 8% of home sales in 2015 were sold by FSBO. The typical FSBO home sold for $185,000 compared to $245,000 for agent-assisted home sales in 2015.  So the difference in price should easily pay for the broker’s commission.
The most difficult task for a FSBO seller is understanding the complex paperwork with all the necessary addenda like lead-based paint, inspection, termites, and mold, to name a few.  On the other hand, you could hire an attorney to review the paperwork for you.
How are you getting the best sales price?  You might know what your neighbor’s house has sold for. Is it similar to yours? But my suggestion would be to pay approximately between $300-$500 to an independent appraiser, who can give you a fair market value of your home. Please do not rely on Zillow alone, as Zillow discloses on their website: “This is not a market value but a Zestimate®”!
Are you experienced with the Internet? Can you post pictures on the Internet, which is critical, as today’s buyers are searching for their new home on the Internet?
Are you comfortable letting strangers in your house at open houses or showings? Be very careful, especially if you are a single person.
Is the buyer qualified? Always ask for a lender’s letter from your prospective buyer before negotiating a price.
Are you willing to pay an agent, who brings you a qualified buyer? Would you consider paying only the buyers part of the commission? You will get many phone calls from agents asking this question, so be prepared!
Real estate agents firmly believe they can get you more money through the art of negotiation, leverage of local knowledge, use of incredible marketing tools, access to a greater marketplace and ability to qualify buyers.
Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, interview a couple Realtors® in your marketplace and see what they have to offer. You should talk to at least two to three different agents. Normally you are getting two or three estimates for normal repairs in your home.  You should do the same with the sale of your home, which is perhaps your largest financial asset.
You should ask each agent that you interview the following:
What is their marketing plan? Precisely which steps is the agent planning to take to market your home? What sites will your listing be on? How many pictures will the listing include? This should all be included in the listing agreement.
You should ask are they are working alone or with a team. If you sign the listing agreement who is your contact person?
How many years is the agent in the business? You are looking for an experienced agent.  This is very important.
Ask if the agent is working full time agent or part time?
Ask for the name of three past clients. And yes, take your time to call the references. If you talk to them for a little while, you will get a good feel about the agent you interviewed.
Is the agent active in their Real Estate Association? What additional education classes did they take besides just qualifying for the license? What designation are they holding and what is their significance?
Will they marketing internationally? This is important in Florida as we have many international buyers and there are additional laws to consider.
Real Estate is a relationship business. It is a service industry providing a service to clients. Your Real Estate Agent should have attributes like knowledge, experience, reputation, communication skills, persistence, organization, and relationships. So before you decide how you are going to sell your home, consider the options.
About Christel Silver
Christel Silver is a full time Broker/Owner of Silver International Realty servicing the East Coast of South Florida. In 1985 she was licensed in Maryland and Washington DC as a Realtor and later as a Certified Residential Appraiser and Associate Broker and has been in Florida since 2001. The National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) President appointed her (2010-2014) as the President’s Liaison to Germany, where she grew up and worked at the Justice Department for 17 years prior to coming to this country. The German Real Estate Organization (IVD) has an agreement with the NAR and she is an International member of this organization. Christel is a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), and a certified speaker teaching CIPS classes. Having been President for the Florida Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) Chapter, she has served as a Regional Vice President helping Chapters to grow, recently for Virginia, Central Virginia and Maryland and is now on the Board of Directors since 2015. Fifty percent of her business is in the International arena. For more information visit www.silverhouses.com.