When it comes time to sell your home, having a professional realtor do the listing and help sell it is usually a good idea. This person understands the local real estate market, is used to dealing with potential buyers and knows all the legal requirements for making a sale. However, not all realtors are equal. When you first meet with a potential agent, there are a few things you should ask before signing any contract.
Ask the agent how he or she determines whether to show your home to a potential buyer or not. When you are busy with work and family, taking the time to make sure the house is ready for strangers to walk through can be time-consuming and stressful. If the agent says he will show your home to anyone interested, you should probably look for another agent. A good realtor will make sure anyone who goes through your home is already approved for a loan big enough to buy your place. Make sure the agent gets potential buyers to go through the loan approval process, and not merely the pre-qualification process before bringing them to your house.
While it can be a bit hard to hear that your home is a mess, or needs a lot of work because the paint is dirty and the floors are thinning, it is important that you know it all. After an agent has shown your home to a potential buyer, make sure he or she asks them what they did or did not like about it. Find out what problems buyers have with your property and then decide if it would be worth it to make some changes.
This does not mean that you need to replace carpeting due to a few stains, but if you know the flooring is in bad shape, you may want to consider taking care of some of it to make a sale. Of course, a good agent will talk with the buyers and explain that they will probably do a lot of cosmetic changes to make the home their own. Big problems, however, should be fixed or at least addressed in the final sale contract. This would include needing a new roof or having some plumbing work done.
You may want to try an agent for a short amount of time to get to know him or her better. Ask for a three-month contract. If all goes well you can always extend it. You do not want to be stuck with a realtor who is not working with you the way you need. Of course, it is important for you to be upfront with them about your expectations so he or she can be sure to do his or her best for you.