The power is knowing what questions to ask

It’s known that home buying comes with many frequently asked questions and selling a property is no different.  Whether you have never sold a home or have sold half a dozen, there are many questions that need to be answered.  This is because selling a home isn’t something people do regularly and also rules, regulations, and the industry change on a daily basis.
If you’re going to be selling your home, I suggest you are prepared and have a strong understanding of the process.  Many times the best way to understand the process and be well-prepared is by asking questions.
The importance of knowing how to interview a Real Estate Agent when selling a home certainly cannot be overlooked.  An agent worth his or her salt will be able to reduce the amount of questions you might have because they will address many of these frequently asked questions before they become a question.
So what are the most frequently asked questions from home sellers?  I am prompted to talk about this because of a question from Timothy Ryan who wrote to me during the week and said – I don’t know what I don’t know.  What questions should I ask to know that I am getting a good agent and not running the risk of selling too cheaply?
I emailed the questions and the answers to expect to Tim and thought they might be helpful for others.   So here they are:
When is the best time to sell my home?  In most cases, the spring months are the best time to be selling a home.  But that is not always the best time for everyone.  Since every home sellers situation is different, you should discuss the timing of your home sale with your Agent.
How is the real estate market right now? There are many market indicators that a top producing Agent should be able to share with you to help explain the condition of the local real estate market.  One of the most important indicators on market conditions is average days on the market.  The average days on market can indicate to a seller how quickly homes are selling when listed for sale.
How should I prepare my home for sale?  Not properly preparing a home for sale can put a home owner at a huge disadvantage.  The expression “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is absolutely true when it comes to selling a home.
What should I disclose to potential buyers?   When selling a home, it’s important you disclose to potential buyers anything you are aware of in your home.  Nobody likes “getting the raw end of a deal” when it comes to buying a home, car, or anything for that matter.  If you’re aware of defects with a roof, appliance, or home in general, you’re always going to be better off being honest and upfront.  If you’re aware of defects, whenever possible, fixing them before going on the market is best.  This can avoid potential issues and and possible even getting sued further down the track.
How much is my home worth?   Agents are not valuers.  An agent will give you a guide but the best valuation will come from a registered valuer.
Should I price my home higher to leave room for negotiations?   A well priced home will sell quickly and will sell for close to the listing price.  A seller who prices their home high to leave room for negotiations can actually be costing themselves more money and a possible missed opportunity.  Real buyers know value and they can pick an overpriced property..
How much commission do you charge?   A great question because commission is negotiable, period.   That being said – you get what you pay for.    If an agent offers a lower commission, do you think they will negotiate aggressively on your behalf when it comes to the price?
What happens if I’m not happy and want to cancel the contract?  Yes.  Make sure you put that in the listing agreement.  If you are not happy with your chosen agent you should be able to terminate the contract without penalty but if you have undertaken to pay for any marketing, you will have to honour that part of the agreement.
How do I respond to low offers?  When selling a home, it’s best to think of any decision as a business decision rather than an emotional one.  Low offers still happen, unfortunately.  Dealing with low offers can sometimes lead to the sale, if handled properly.  The worst decision you can make, if you receive a low offer, is to do nothing – refuse to engage.  Some home owners are so upset they decide they do not want to respond to a low offer, which ultimately ends any potential chance for a deal.  A counter offer, even if it’s close to the list price, is better than letting a potential buyer walk!
How do you plan on marketing my home?   A comprehensive marketing plan is something that you should expect from your Agent.  The days of placing a sign in front of a property and waiting for someone to buy it are over.  With the evolution and the impact the internet has had on the real estate industry, it’s critical that not only is your home marketed through “traditional” avenues, such as newspapers and mailings, but it must also get maximum exposure online.
What if we don’t get any inspections?  In most cases the reason your home is not being looked at by potential buyer’s is due to the price.  Buyer’s who feel a home is priced too high will choose to look at other homes before yours, likely finding one before they reach yours.
How will you communicate with me?  At a bare minimum, you should expect to hear from your Agent at least once a week.     Great agents will be in touch every day even if there is nothing to report.  They should be doing this to see if you have any questions or concerns
Should I be present during inspections?
Easy question to answer – no!  There are many reasons why sellers should not be present during showings.  The primary reason why you should not be present at inspections or open homes is potential buyer’s can feel uncomfortable to talk open and freely with the Agent about your home.  They do not want to say something that could offend you.
The bottom line here – There are no “dumb questions” when it comes to selling a home.  The reality is that selling a home is not something that is frequently done, therefore, questions are a great way to be prepared and well educated on the process.

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