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What Homesellers Don't Know Can Hurt Them

Why Using a Real Estate Agent is a Necessity

Preparing your home for sale, figuring the sale price, finding a qualified buyer, negotiating, closing and finally, moving. These are just some of the chores that will get your head spinning when selling your home. In today's market, using a real estate agent is almost a necessity, and getting a licensed agent into the process early is the first step to a smooth transaction.


Homesellers need the know-how of an experienced real estate agent to get the job done right, according to Marlene Ginsberg, a Sales Associate from Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Parsippany (N.J.). “It's the real estate agent's job to know the neighborhood, school system and other features that affect the value of a home, ” said Marlene. “We use this knowledge to help homeowners figure out the best price for their home and what type of buyers to attract.”

Setting the sales price can be a real balancing act and is not always easy. If the price is too low, you can lose money; if it's too high, it can take too long to sell. An experienced real estate agent can help you balance all of these factors, including neighboring property values, improvements you've made, the current housing market and how soon you need to seal the deal.

As important as setting the right price for your home is the development of a customized marketing plan. The marketing plan is what really sets a real estate agent apart from discount brokers and “for sale by owners,” and is designed to bring a multitude of potential buyers to your doorstep.

“The marketing plan shows the real value of using a full-service real estate agent, ” Marlene explains, “Homesellers who try to do the job on their own don-t have as many options. For instance, they can't list the property with the Multiple Listing Service, in which the listing is shared with other real estate agents. Plus, after being in this business for a while, real estate agents become good matchmakers in connecting the right home with the right buyer.”

Some of the marketing tools savvy real estate agents use are newspaper ads, Open House events and, of course, Web site listings.

The Sales Contract

Finding a buyer is only the first part of a real estate agent's job, according to Dan Parker, Principal Broker at Coldwell Banker / Kennon, Parker, Duncan & Key in Columbus, Georgia. Negotiation, from agreeing on a final price to writing the sales contract, is the next step. The details of the contract are very important, and if not handled properly, can put the seller back to square one, costing time and money.

“It's very important that the seller is protected by the sales contract,” said Dan. “The buyer can back out of a contract, or even worse, sue the seller if the contract isn't prepared properly. And, extenuating circumstances - such as the buyer needing to sell their existing home first - can further complicate the contract process.”

Sizing Up The Buyer

An experienced real estate agent can also help you size up a potential buyer to make sure they are able to go through with the sale. An experienced real estate agent may consider mortgage pre-approval, past experience and the background of the buyer to help you decide if an offer is solid. This will save you time and may possibly avoid having to start over in the sales process.

“The last thing you need is a buyer who backs out of the deal before closing,” said Randy Freed, Broker Associate from Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley (Calif.). “Consider the amount of the buyer's down payment, the amount they need to borrow and their ability to qualify for a mortgage. Finding a good buyer is as important as getting the right price for your home.”

Less Headaches

“Selling a home can be an emotional experience and working with a real estate agent can reduce some of the stress, save valuable time and give you peace of mind that the agent is taking care of the details,” said Randy.


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