UPDATE:

After years of home value decline now it seems like home prices are stable and some on the rise.  With home prices on the move it is a good idea to get expert help to decide on the value of your home and how to price it as well as ensure what you are make smart bids on the home you hope to buy.  A good Realtor can help you tremendously to make this happen.  But make sure you find a professional Realtor that will listen to you and help you understand your choices.  Interview several before selecting one.

Most homeowners use a real estate agent to sell their homes for many good reasons. The

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Photo by Gerald Brazell

following list describes the most common reasons. A growing minority of homeowners choose not to use a real estate agent but a number of services who provide just one or two of the services of an agent. Homeowners who sell their homes without agents do it to save money as well as to feel more control over the sales process.

Setting the Sale Price

An experienced successful real estate agent will be able to help you select a sales price that will help you sell your house faster and potentially for more money. Qualified agents have the experience of selling homes in your area and understand what pricing strategies work best. Some areas require a medium sale price, which attracts buyers, but offers little room for negotiation. In other areas, the pricing strategy may be to offer a low price and allow potential buyers to bid it up. A good real estate agent’s experience in this area could be very valuable.

Staging

To sell your house fast and for the most money, the appearance of your home is very important. The list above will get you started, but having an experienced critical eye look through your house and make suggestions for repairs, furniture layout, and decorating can add thousands of dollars to your sale price. The value of a critical eye cannot be underestimated. After living in your home for several years, surrounded by your cherished possessions its hard to be objective about which ones are too much or may take away from the appearance of your house for a typical buyer.

Marketing

A real estate agent has ready access and experience in the use of several very valuable marketing tools including the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), print advertisements in newspapers and magazines, Internet listings, and network of other real estate agents. You have access to most of these marketing tools without a real estate agent, but a real estate agent has expertise on how and when to use these marketing tools as well as get exposure for your home faster.

Negotiating

When you sell your home yourself, you need to be able to act not like a proud homeowner, but an impartial negotiator to maximize your sale price and profit. An experienced real estate agent can be a buffer between you and the turmoil of dealing with the buyer directly. Plus, a successful real estate agent can offer negotiating skills that most homeowners do not have. These skills could result in a higher price for your home.

Closing

Once you accepted an offer, the work continues. There will be inspections to manage, financing to arrange and paperwork to complete. Often, the inspections result in questions and new requests from the buyers. A good negotiator can manage the requests prompted by inspection findings to minimize the cost to the seller and ensure that the sale of your home closes.


How to Select a Real Estate Agent

Select an agent based on referrals, making sure that the agent has experience in your neighborhood so he or she will know the benefits and features of the area. An expert on a part of town 30 miles away won’t know the best way to market and sell your home. Will an agent from across town be as willing to meet prospective buyers at your home as they would if they did business a few miles away?

You should interview potential agents to ensure they have experience in your neighborhood, and with homes in your price range — both selling and listing. This should be recent experience, within the last six to 12 months. Otherwise, they may not be up to date on changes, may be more focused on other parts of town, or simply aren’t a successful agent.