Many homeowners start the selling process by looking at sites such as Realtor.com, Zillow, Redfin, or Trulia to see what similar properties have recently sold for in their neighborhood to determine the current value of their home. That’s fine and understandable, but keep in mind:
- The sites aren’t 100% accurate as listings, which were never listed in the MLS or For Sale By Owners, will be missing.
- The information on the online sites is often out of date or not accurate as NWMLS. Therefore, a property might show that it’s still Active on Zillow, even though it sold 9 months prior.
- When professional appraisers conduct an appraisal, they only take into account homes that have sold in a particular neighborhood within the last 90 days. It’s not possible to sort the data by date on the online sites, so it’s difficult to only look for properties that have sold within the last 90 days.
Therefore, step 1 to buying a home should be to interview REALTORS® to represent you and ask them to provide you with a CMA (Comparable Market Analysis).
Find a REALTOR®
How do you find a good REALTOR®? Hopefully, you’ll contact us at 360-734-6479 or email@example.com so we can see if we would be a good fit. Remember, not all REALTORS® are right for all people. It would be best if you found someone who is not only great at his or her job but someone you like and trust as you’re putting a big piece of your financial future in their hands. Ask friends and family for referrals. Contact those REALTORS® and set up initial phone screenings with them. Notice how quickly each REALTOR® responds to your initial phone call or email. The REALTOR® should get back to you within 24 hours; if not, that’s a bad sign. This business moves fast, and deals can be lost if your Realtor doesn’t respond quickly on your behalf to showing requests, offers, inspection negotiations, etc.
Initial Phone Screening
During the initial phone screening, find out if the REALTOR® knows your neighborhood and if they’ve ever helped a client buy or sell property in your neighborhood. Ask about their experience. If your gut reaction says this person might be a good fit, ask them to do a CMA on your home and set up a time to meet with them in person. Be prepared for the REALTOR® to ask questions about your home, how much you owe on your mortgage, and if any repairs are needed as they need this information to do an accurate CMA.
Meet In Person and Review the CMA
When you meet with the REALTOR® in person, ask them our Interview questions for hiring a REALTOR® (see the next article we send). You will go over the CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) together and evaluate your competition. Ask them not only what they think your home is worth, but what the average days on the market (i.e., the number of days from when your home goes on the market until you have an accepted contract) is in your area. If the REALTOR® doesn’t know this, move on. Ask them what they charge, how much the closing costs will be, and what approximately you’ll net if you sell your home for X price. Most importantly, be honest with each REALTOR®. If you need to sell your home for a certain amount of money or in a certain time frame, tell them. Only when Realtors have a complete picture can they come up with the best strategy to fit your situation. Lastly, trust your gut.
Sign the paperwork
Once you’ve picked a REALTOR®, expect to sign a listing authorizing that REALTOR® to represent you. That starts the ball rolling to get your home on the market.
If you have any questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-734-6479.
Questions? Contact us at andi@andidyer(dot)com or 360-734-6479.
This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR’s viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.