Question: I’m planning to put my house up for sale this spring. I’m wondering how to shop for a listing agency. Are rates and service standard, or do they differ among agencies? How do I determine what is best for me?
Answer: As a seller, your need is to find a single buyer, hopefully one who will pay no less than you ask, nor demand various concessions. So the real question we ought to look at is this: How do buyers find houses?
The 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors reports, “Nine in 10 buyers used the Internet at some point while looking for a home. Over half of buyers started their home search online and 43 percent of recent buyers first found the home they purchased online.”
Almost half of homebuyers used a mobile or tablet website or application to search for a home, and nearly a quarter of those mobile searchers found the home they ultimately purchased with a mobile application, according to the NAR profile.
What these numbers tell us is that real estate marketing has evolved: While real estate remains a localized commodity, the search for homes is worldwide.
You need a broker who today who is active in your neighborhood, has a strong online presence and understands real estate financing.
The broker should sell lots of homes where you live — not 14 miles away.
Visiting local open houses is one way to find such representatives, and local newspaper classified sections remain the best way to find open houses.
The broker also should prove he or she gets many site visits for local listings. The presentation of your home online and in the classifieds should be seen as the start of the bargaining process.
Lastly, a strong understanding real estate financing is crucial to the selling process. While nearly a third of all existing home sales now involve cash, most transactions still rely on financing. With new mortgage rules, it’s important to work with a broker who understands financing choices.
Real estate fees are negotiable, not set by law, and the services offered among brokers may vary. It’s wise to interview several brokers and to allow them to value your home, show how they would market it and detail their local experience and history.
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