How do I find the sales professional who's right for me?
A good place to start is by talking to friends, neighbors, and relatives — anyone whose recommendation you trust. You can also try responding to sales professionals' local advertising, direct mail, or Web site profiles. If they have the resources and initiative to maintain such a presence in your marketplace, it's a good sign that they may have the sales skill you're looking for.
What makes a sales professional effective?
We believe good training and experience make the best sales professionals. But the truth is, not every sales professional is right for every seller. That's why we suggest that you follow this simple formula to help you decide whether a particular sales professional will work well for you
COMPETENCE + COMFORT = CONFIDENCE
Competence: When you first meet with a real estate professional, they'll do their best to show you that they have what it takes to sell your house. You can expect to see a portfolio of credentials, past achievements, sales volume and letters of recommendation. Look for evidence that their background is relevant to your needs. The sales professional you choose should also be up-to-date on the current pool of potential buyers for houses like yours; professionals can stay informed of this through real estate company Web sites, such as ERA.com, and industry networking.
Comfort: The importance of being comfortable with your sales professional as a person cannot be overstated. You're going to be dealing with this individual on a regular basis, maybe for months, during a time that can be emotionally trying for you and your family.
It takes a unique combination of these two characteristics — competence and comfort — to inspire the confidence a homeowner needs to maintain peace of mind through the process of selling a house. It's something for which every ERA® sales professional strives. Always There For You® is more than a tagline. It's our way of doing business.
What if my sales professional doesn't produce?
Besides commission, the most important matter you negotiate at the time of listing your house with a broker is the duration of the listing contract. Terms vary, but listing agreements are seldom for less than three months or greater than one year.
But what if you find yourself dissatisfied midway through a nine-month contract? While the listing contract is legally binding, some brokers offer homeowners an "out" if they are unhappy with the services they are receiving. The ERA Commitment to Service is one example of such a satisfaction-guarantee, and more information about it is available at the end of this section.
How do I price my house?
Always price your property sensibly.
It is important to be realistic about your home's value and price it accordingly. To determine the fair market value, a real estate professional can supply information on comparable homes that have sold or gone under contract in your area.
What is "fair market value," and how do I determine mine?
Simply put, the fair market value of a house is the highest price an informed buyer will pay, assuming there is no unusual pressure to complete the purchase.
To get an estimate of fair market value, contact a local ERA® office and ask for a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) of your house. The analysis will give you a realistic figure based on the most salient features of the local real estate market. It should provide information about recent sales of similar houses, including how much they sold for and how long it took. The real estate professional's price opinion is very helpful in determining the right asking price.
What's the difference between fair market value and asking price?
You can assume that some negotiation will be necessary to reach an agreement with a buyer. The professional who presents you with the results of your CMA will provide all the data that establishes fair market value. Then, based on your own timing and marketplace variables, your real estate professional will be willing to help you establish a competitive pricing strategy. Generally speaking, the owner's asking price — the advertised price of a house when it goes on the market — is set slightly higher than fair market value.
Who can help me determine the right asking price?
Real estate sales professionals suggest asking prices based on a wide array of information you may not have at your disposal, including recent listing and selling prices of houses in your neighborhood. If you're not completely confident in their suggestions, you may want to order an appraisal.
Next, establish clear priorities. If you had to choose, are you more concerned with selling quickly, or getting the best price?
Someone else — a neighbor, friend or relative — may point out advantages or disadvantages about your house that you hadn't thought about. Third-party views will help you start thinking of your house as a commodity, with positive and negative selling points. Then you should decide on a price that you feel is competitive and consistent with what other houses in your area have sold for.
How flexible should I be about the asking price?
Generally, the first three weeks will be the test period of your initial asking price. If you see showings drop off and very few return visits, you may want to consider repositioning your asking price. Most buyers leave room for negotiation when they make an offer. Thus, a certain degree of flexibility is usually called for on the part of both the buyer and seller.
While it is ultimately your decision to accept or reject an offer, or present a counter-proposal, a good sales professional can be of great assistance to you during the negotiating process. In fact, negotiation is one of the valuable skills a real estate professional can offer you. As negotiations proceed — whether in writing, face-to-face, or by phone — your sales professional will inform you of your options in responding to each offer from the buyer, so you can make an educated decision as to how you want to proceed.