For just about anyone, buying or selling a house is a huge milestone.If it’s your first investment or potential sale, it represents an important step in adulthood and denotes financial independence and responsibility.
Even if it isn’t, houses and other types of property are some of the most expensive and most contemplated sales or purchases an individual can make. Buying property isn’t just about flinging your money at the first thing you like, just as selling a house isn’t about accepting the first offer that comes along. Due to the nuanced and carefully measured nature of the selling process, enlisting the help of a realtor can aid in ensuring all parties end up happy and fairly compensated. However, there are some things you should know before jumping into any kind of business relationship with a realtor. Not all realtors are created equal, and it’s important to know what both of your goals and boundaries are before jumping into negotiations. Read on to gain insight into the 6 most crucial elements of choosing and negotiating with a realtor.
1. Knowledge of the Market
Here’s a tip that works both ways: always know your market! If you are well versed in the price range in your area, quality of homes, and average listing time, you will have more realistic expectations- which can be an asset in fostering a good relationship with your realtor. Similarly, if you ask basic and even in-depth questions, you should expect a prompt and capable answer. Some things to research and be ready to discuss would be time trends in the market, new developments in tech, and effective selling strategies.
For the best picks, get HWM's must read newsletter!
2. Proven Experience
Experience is something you just can’t fake… no matter how hard you try. Basic questions like asking a realtor how long they have been in the business, how many homes they’ve sold, and what their specialties are will help give you a more accurate view of if they will be the right fit for you. Someone who has been working longer, or who has successfully overseen more sales, might be better equipped to handle larger sales or sales in highly competitive housing markets. Don’t be afraid to ask for assurances, either. When on the precipice of negotiations, it might provide peace of mind to speak to past clients and inquire about their experiences.
3. Time and Dedication
Equally as important as experience, familiarizing yourself with the workload and preexisting time restraints of a potential realtor can help circumnavigate disaster. No matter how skilled or wet behind the ears an individual is, if their plate is too full they will have less time to devote to you. If this is a first time sale, or if you’re nervous at all, opting for someone with ample time to discuss thoughts and concerns will alleviate stress. This means that choosing someone who is a dedicated, full-time realtor, rather than a weekend warrior, might be your best bet.
4. Realistic Price Point
Let’s face it- it’s always awkward to talk about money. Regardless of this fact, in the case of a home sale, it really shouldn’t be. If you want to know what to ask your realtor to gauge trustworthiness and reliability, ask them to evaluate your final selling price. This will raise alarms in the case of unrealistic expectations, or perhaps provide a segue into further conversation. One thing is for sure, you do not want to scare away potential buyers because a realtor was “buying” your listing.
5. Communication Style
In the fast-moving industry of real estate, it’s important to be able to get in touch with someone quickly and effectively convey information. This is why being clear on what you expect in terms of communication will save you a world of difficulty. Reputable realtors will make themselves available to you when it counts, and when it counts. If you and your realtor end up playing telephone tag, misunderstanding each other, and find you’re often on different pages- it may not be a match made in heaven.
6. Fees and Commission
When it comes to discussing fees and commissions, if you don’t ask for it you don’t get it. Before negotiating with a realtor, you should absolutely know what their standard commission rate is. A shockingly high number of sellers Consumer Reports each year can negotiate a lower commission rate and still maintain their satisfaction. In this instance, transparency is key and could help your bottom line in the end.
So you think you want to step into an agreement with a realtor- but what do you really know about them? Figuring out what your needs are as someone utilizing realtor services, and what the other party brings to the table in terms of knowledge, experience, and communication style is a non-negotiable first step. Be confident in what you’re looking for, but also recognize that some things can be left to the professionals. Never forget, this sale will be impacting your life and your money. It’s more than appropriate to have opinions and sometimes even go with gut instincts- these decisions have very real reactions and results.