Selling a Home

Working with a
Seller’s Agent

There is a lot more that goes into selling a home than placing a sale sign on your front lawn. A seemingly simple way to cut costs is to avoid a seller’s agent and list your house FSBO (for sale by owner), but this can mean making an easy mistake that leads to less money in your wallet when the sale goes through. A seller’s agent’s job is to use their expertise to market the property and close the deal at the best price.

Agents can get broader exposure for your property, help you negotiate a better deal, dedicate more time to your sale, and prevent your emotions from getting the best of you. An agent brings expertise, which few FSBO sellers have, to a complex transaction with many potential financial and legal stumbling blocks. Having a seller’s agent normally means better results.

What is a Seller’s Agent

When a real estate agent is a seller’s agent, he or she must do what is best for the seller of a property. A written contract, called a Listing Agreement, establishes seller agency. It also explains what services the company will provide, establishes a fee arrangement for those services and specifies what obligations a seller may have. A seller’s agent must tell the seller anything known about a buyer. For instance, if a seller’s agent knows a buyer is willing to offer more for a property, that information must be shared with the seller. However, information a seller shares with a seller’s agent must be kept confidential from potential buyers and others. Although confidential information about the seller cannot be discussed, a buyer working with a seller’s agent can expect fair and honest service and disclosure of pertinent information about the property.

Why Not FSBO

Our seller’s agents aren’t just there to guide you, sometimes they are essential to get the right people in the door. In an FSBO deal, the buyer’s agent knows there won’t be a professional colleague on the other end of the transaction. Even if a client insists on seeing your home, the agent might discourage making an offer, citing the hassles and risks of trying to close the deal without a professional representing the seller. Experienced brokers have likely been burned by an FSBO transaction in which the seller did not pay the full agreed commission to the agent who brought the buyer.

Still, there are buyers’ agents who will show your property under the right conditions. That may mean signing an agreement with the agent that states the percentage fee that you, as the seller, will pay the agent. An agreement should also clarify that the agent is only working on behalf of the buyer. It may also state that as the buyer’s agent, the real estate agent has a duty to disclose to the client all the information the seller provides to them, such as the need to sell by a certain date.

Avoiding Emotional Sales

Selling your home can be an emotional process. Having an agent keeps you one step removed and makes you less likely to make foolish mistakes, such as overpricing your home, refusing to counter a low offer because you’re offended, or giving in too easily when you have a deadline for selling. Our team can follow up without communicating a sense of eagerness or desperation. When a seller repeatedly checks, it signals, rightly or wrongly, the willingness to accept a lower price. If you forgo an agent, you’ll also have to deal directly with rejection every time a buyer’s agent tells you that the client isn’t interested. An agent can take the sting out of the rejection and put a positive spin on any negative feedback. It is more difficult for the seller to keep their emotions out of the sale because there’s no third party to ask for guidance. For instance, if the property sits on the market, the homeowner doesn’t know the reason the home is not selling. The emotions will always be there for the seller, but constructive criticism can be easier to digest for the seller when it comes from an agent who is on their side, trying to get the best for them.

Seller’s Agents Have Networks

You can list your home yourself on websites that agents use, but that’s likely limiting who sees your home. Even if you have a large personal or professional network, those people will likely have little interest in spreading the word that your property is for sale. You don’t have relationships with clients, other agents, or our team to bring the largest pool of potential buyers to your home. A smaller pool of potential buyers means less demand for your property, which can translate into waiting longer to sell your home and possibly not getting as much money as your house is worth.

A seller’s agent will have a private list of names and contact information, so they can quickly spread the word about the property they just listed. After their contacts have been reached, posting on every available website and site for real estate to keep the momentum and keep showing consistently.

Keeping Away Timewasters

A seller’s agent can also find out whether someone who wants to view your house is a qualified buyer or just a curious neighbor. It’s a lot of work and a major interruption every time you have to interrupt your day, make your house look perfect, and show your home. You want to limit those hassles to the showings most likely to result in a sale.

Our agents are trained to ask qualifying questions to determine the seriousness, qualification, and motivation of a prospecting buyer. Our agents are also trained to ask closing questions about how long buyers have been looking, whether they’ve seen any other homes that would work for their needs, if they are paying cash or have been prequalified, what schools they are looking for, and so on. Our agents can move a qualified and motivated person to the point of purchase.

Available around the Clock

Seller’s agents are also available at the drop of a hat to show your property, so you don’t have to rush home from work every time a potential buyer requests a viewing. You’ll get more showings if you let agents use a lockbox or keypad to show your home rather than force them to make appointments. If you are opting for appointments, try to be flexible. Some buyers will want to see the home on weeknights and over the weekend. Be as accommodating as possible. A seller’s agent can prepare for an open house but use this approach sparingly. If you do one, we’ll be sure to ask for buyer feedback so you can adjust your price, condition, or marketing campaign accordingly.

Help with Blind Spots

Our agents are experts in what makes homes sell. We can walk through your home with you and point out changes you need to make to attract buyers and get the best offers. A seller’s agent is trained to help you see the flaws in your home that could cost a sale. We can see flaws you’re oblivious to because you see them every day. We can also help you determine which feedback from potential buyers you should act on after you put your home on the market to improve its chances of selling.

We can also help you prepare your home for sale by helping you find ways to clean and declutter it and improving curb appeal. If you like, we can help you hire a professional stager to stage your home for showings or help with ideas. You only get one chance to make a great first impression, so make it count.

Expert Negotiators

When an offer is made, a seller’s agent knows how to negotiate the best price and can spot warning signs of a skittish or disingenuous buyer. Our agents will be prepared to receive multiple offers if your home is priced right. Even if you have sales experience, you don’t have specialized experience negotiating a home sale. The buyer’s agent does, so they are more likely to succeed in the negotiation, meaning less money in your pocket. Our experienced selling agents have negotiated many home purchases. We know all the games, the warning signs of a nervous or disingenuous buyer.

We’ll also help you keep your emotions away for the negotiation. Without your own agent to point out when you’re being irrational, you’re more likely to make poor decisions. Instead of an offended seller making an emotionally charged, inappropriate response to a buyer, our seller’s agents will say something more professional. 

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