Home-Seller Frequently Asked Questions


I don't need an agent to sell my home, do I?

Yes, you do. Studies from real estate industry trade groups have shown that even with having to pay a commission, sellers who have a realtor market their property usually walk away with more money in their pockets. In addition, although information about homes for sale is increasingly available on the internet, more and more buyers are now using a buyer agent. This allows for a kind of "one-stop" shopping as the agent is able to make appointments to view multiple properties and provide counsel on current trends in the market, a market analysis of the property a buyer decides to purchase, and negotiate on the buyer's behalf. If a seller doesn't have his property listed in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), chances are slim that it will be shown by a buyer's agent.

How can I be sure that you will represent only my interests?

As your listing agent, my job is to represent you, as seller, and your interests in a real estate transaction. This means that I must try to sell your house for the best price possible in the current market in the shortest time possible. The interests of potential buyers are not my concern; they are represented by their "buyer's agent." They have a contract whereby the agent agrees to show them property and negotiate on their behalf in the transaction, and the relationship between the buyer and agent is defined. In the same way, all sellers must sign a Listing Agreement, which gives me permission to represent you in the marketing of your property and outlines all aspects of our relationship. The contract is a standard document produced by the Arkansas Real Estate Commission.

How will you keep my business confidential?

Absolutely no one, inside or outside of my office, will ever hear your business from me without your permission. Your motivation to sell, goals, finances, creditworthiness, transaction details--I keep them strictly confidential (except possibly with my broker or with our in-house closing coordinator), unless you give me written permission to disclose any of these items.

Do I have to pay your commission?

Yes. On MLS-listed properties, the Sellers pay all broker commissions. This amount is agreed upon in advance and is stated in the listing agreement. Part of the commission goes to my real estate company and to me, as your agent, to cover time spent in marketing and handling the transaction, marketing expenses, etc. In addition, normally a percentage of the commission is paid to the agent who actually sells the house and his/her company. Real estate agents in Arkansas work strictly on commission; they do not receive a salary. So when the closing occurs on the sale of your home, they finally get paid for all of their efforts on your behalf.

How do I know how much to ask for my home?

Normally, I will do a CMA (comparative market analysis), which means that I search out homes similar to yours, in your neighborhood or at least nearby, which have sold in the past six months and which are on the market now. From comparing your home to these, we can determine a price, based on current market conditions, which will make your home attractive to buyers.

What will you do to get me the highest possible price for my home?

Whatever it takes that is legal and permissible under the Realtor Code of Ethics and the laws of the State of Arkansas. However, in practical terms, I will provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), as described above. In addition, I will aggressively market your home both to the general public and to other real estate agents, principally on the internet, since that is now the way that over 90% of home buyers find the home they will eventually purchase. Some of the techniques I use are the standard ones that most agents use, such as a sign in front of your house. In addition, I periodically send out flyers to other agents reminding them about your home. I have learned from practical experience that this may spur an agent to show a home that he/she hadn't thought of showing a potential buyer. Finally, I market your home on the internet. My e-PRO designation (additional training on internet marketing) has taught me the "tricks of the trade" so to speak about how to most effectively attract potential buyers to my website. Your home will be featured there, plus listings from my website also appear on national real estate websites such as Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com, as well as on other local agent websites through broker reciprocity.

What if I think my home is worth more than the CMA indicates?

You are the seller and can ask as much as you want for your home. The CMA is a good indicator, however, of what homes like yours are selling for at any given time. Just keep in mind that the market determines what a home is worth at any given time. The buyer's lender will do an appraisal, based on recent sales of similar homes. Even if a buyer offers the price you are asking, the house may not appraise for that amount.

Why can't we list it at the higher price first and drop the price later?

We can. However, most showing activity occurs on homes which have just come on the market. If you have a lot of lookers but no offers, that may mean that your home is priced too high. The problem, which setting the price too high creates, is that if the initial flurry of activity from a new listing has already passed when you drop the price, your home is old news. It's been on the market for awhile and gets less attention as other homes come on the market. Your high initial listing price may actually delay the sale of your home. Market conditions change, and often they depend on the availability of homes for sale in your price range. If your home is priced correctly according to current market conditions, it should sell fairly quickly.

What if I need a certain amount of money out of the transaction that the CMA suggested price won't cover?

You may have to resign yourself to take a loss or wait a few years to sell your home. In some situations, the market price will be less than what you paid for your home or not much higher. After paying the commission and expenses, you may receive less money than you expected or even have to pay some money at closing. This could occur under a number of circumstances, for example: 1) if you refinanced your home at a higher price to pay off bills and other expenses, the current market may not support the higher price at which you refinanced; 2) you may have paid too much for your home, especially if you did not buy it with the help of a buyer agent who would have done a market analysis for you; 3) you may have purchased your home very recently with a very low down payment, so you don't have much equity in your home, so the natural inflation of the marketplace is not enough to cover all of your expenses if you sell now; or 4) you made expensive improvements to your home which exceed the level of other homes in the neighborhood. Normally, the longer you have owned your home, the greater the chances are of getting back your purchase price, covering selling expenses, and perhaps earning some extra money.

Why can't I try to sell it myself?

You can, but, as mentioned above, research has shown that most people who try to sell their homes themselves eventually contact a realtor to market their home. Many people think that all they have to do is put ads in the paper and put out a sign. It's not that simple. Most homes are sold by realtors who bring buyers to view the home.
The homes which realtors show are in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and if you're selling your home yourself, your home is not there. Having your home in the MLS is the greatest advantage of listing with a realtor. Your home will sell more quickly, and--studies have shown--homes sold by realtors generally bring a higher price than those sold by owners.
When you sell your home yourself, you are also limiting the times your home can be shown, namely when you're home. If you list with a realtor, you will have a lockbox on your home so agents can show it when you aren't home.
In addition, most realtors work with qualified buyers. This means that the buyers to whom realtors show your home have already visited a lender, so there is a greater possibility that the sale will succeed on financial grounds. They are serious buyers. When you sell your home yourself, you need to consider the question of who is actually looking at your home. Often you get a lot of "lookie-loos" and people who can't really afford your home or cannot be approved by a lender (the latter usually ask about owner-financing or rent-to-own). There are also security issues that you might want to think about.

What professional help will I need to make a prudent home-sale decision?

You have already taken the most important step toward professional help in selling your home, that is, to search out a real estate professional. I will negotiate on your behalf and guide you through the process so that it is as smooth and painless as possible. I can also provide you with names of other professionals you may need to protect your interests. You may want to have your home inspected by a professional inspector before the buyer brings his inspector by, so that you know what potential problems your home has before a buyer makes an offer. Many home sales fail because the buyer and the seller cannot agree on the repairs necessary. If repairs need to be done, I know people who can do them. And sometimes sellers want their own appraisal. However, an inspection and an appraisal will be done by the buyer as part of the purchase, so it is not necessary for you, as seller, to do them.