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A good real estate agent is essential when you're selling your home. Your real estate agent should provide you with comparable listings on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), assess your home's value in relation to similar properties on the market and get you the best possible price for your home.

A good real estate agent should also advise you on minor improvements you can make to improve the marketability of your property, and therefore increase the chance of selling your home rapidly. Such improvements typically include
  • a fresh coat of paint
  • cleaning up the yard
  • removal of clutter.



    Home Value Assessment When Selling Your Home

    Your real estate agent can help assess a reasonable home value when selling your home. The real estate agent determines home value by comparing your property to other homes on the market in the area. To do this accurately, the agent should have a knowledge of current market prices and a thorough understanding of the neighborhood's market trends.

    Once the value of your home has been determined, you can discuss the list price of your home. Most agents encourage listing prices that reflect the home's value, as high listing prices hurt your chance of selling your home.

    Marketing and MLS Listings

    One of the key responsibilities of an agent selling your home is marketing. The agent should advertise the house and inform other agents that your home is for sale. Placing your home on the MLS is important. MLS listings are essentially a shared information network that brokers and some real estate agents can access.

    Listing through the MLS increases your chances of selling your home. Approximately 80 percent of sold properties are found on the MLS. Listing your home on this network also improves the chance of selling your home faster and for a better price than you would without the MLS.

    Negotiating a Deal

    Your real estate agent can help you negotiate the best deal when selling your home. The agent will help you evaluate a buyer's offer and propose counter-offers based on your home's value. She will also help arrange appraisals and house inspections, as well as create real estate contracts.

    Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent

    You should ask the real estate agent the following questions:

    • Can you provide client references?
    • Do you have experience selling this kind of property?
    • Do you subscribe to the MLS?
    • How long, on average, do houses you sell stay on the market?
    • How often will you provide us with updates on your progress?
    • How well do you know the neighborhood?
    • What is your marketing plan?
    • What percentage of the properties you sold over the last year were sold for the asking price?

    Real Estate Contracts and Selling Your Home

    When a prospective home buyer makes an offer on your house, you'll need a real estate agent who is willing to help you through this part of the process. After all, once the price negotiations end, you have to deal with the complexities of a real estate contract. Your real estate agent can advise you on how to respond to an offer and make the real estate contract as simple as possible.

    What to Expect from Your Real Estate Agent

    Your agent will attempt to sell your house for the maximum profit. If you need to sell urgently and are willing to settle below market value, make sure your real estate agent is aware of this.

    Once an offer has been accepted, you and the buyer enter into a real estate contract. Financing, house inspections, appraisal and land title searches must all be completed before the contract is finalized. Your real estate agent should take care of most of this paperwork and keep you posted on how the contract is progressing.

    Real Estate Contract Warning Signs

    In preparation for your real estate contract, ask your agent to provide you with a standard contract and explain it to you. This way, you'll be better prepared to spot unusual buyer demands in your own contract.

    When looking over your real estate contract, watch out for the following red flags:

    • Buyers are allowed an unusual amount of time to get their financing.
    • Penalties will be assessed if you cannot move out by the specified date.
    • The down payment appears low.
    • The purchase is contingent on the buyers selling their current home.
    • You pay all the transaction fees or the buyer's mortgage costs.

    Working with an Offer

    You have three choices when presented with a real estate contract. If the contract meets your approval, you can accept and sign it. If you disagree with some elements of the contract, you can negotiate changes through your real estate agent who will then submit a counter-offer. If the contract seems suspect and you aren't happy with it, instruct your agent to reject the offer.