Saturday, April 07, 2007

When to Call a Listing Agent

If you’ve ever bought or sold a home, you know that being a successful real estate agent is a full-time job — and then some.

In fact, between the preliminary research, evening and weekend showings, and post-sale paperwork, some agents are essentially on call 24/7.

Most real estate agents would probably suggest you call as soon as you’ve decided to sell your home. That way they can offer advice about pricing, home improvements, and other pertinent matters. And, for some home sellers, that may be the best way to go.

DIY to a Point - However, it is possible to make some decisions before you dial — especially if you’re thinking of doing some of the work yourself. Depending on your skills and sense of adventure, here are some of the tasks you might consider doing in advance of contacting an agent:

Preparation: Are you handy or do you know someone who is? Cleaning, de-cluttering, and simple touch-ups can add new shine to even the oldest homes. (Your agent won't really help with this — it's your elbow grease!)

Valuation: Check out your Zestimate and compare it to the listing prices of other homes for sale in your neighborhood.

Exploration: Real estate types call it " pre-marketing," and it refers to gauging the interest in your home before you list it. Mention you’re selling at parties or the local grocery store. You never know who might be looking. If you find a buyer this way, you might save money in agent commissions.

Presentation: Are you willing to show the house yourself or would you rather someone else handled it?

Negotiation: If you’re comfortable dealing with offers, counter-offers, etc., you may only need assistance once you’ve accepted an offer.

Then there’s probably the most important question of all: How much time are you willing (and able) to spend on the above? Some sellers have both the time and the inclination to do a lot of the work themselves; some have one but not the other; and others would rather pay somebody else to do it all.

There are no right or wrong answers, of course, and the idea isn’t necessarily to bypass real estate agents. Rather, it’s to determine the point at which you’d be better off having one. Depending on how you respond, you may want to call an agent from the get-go, somewhere down the line, or not at all.

(Article courtesy of Zillow)

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