If you’re reading this, you either were or are currently trying to sell your home without the aid of a Realtor. If you’re like most FSBOs, you decided to go this route to either save money by eliminating a commission and/or you wanted more control over the marketing and showings. Either reason, you have decided or are considering listing it with a Realtor and want to know how things will change now that you are no longer the main point of contact.
First off, all marketing now falls on the shoulders of your Realtor. This is good for you, because you are no longer paying those upfront costs; however, it may make you a little nervous. After all, you’re relying on them to represent your home in the best light possible. Here are some things to be aware of when marketing with a Realtor:
1. Just because they are the gatekeepers to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) doesn’t mean you don’t have any say. If you feel certain features should be highlighted in the MLS description, discuss it with your Realtor. You’ve lived in the home (in most cases) and know it better than anyone.
2. Realtors are governed by a Code of Ethics and must abide by Fair Housing Laws. There are certain things that can’t be said in marketing. Most of these are common sense. Some you may not realize infringe on any laws. All in no way will prevent your home from selling.
3. Technology has its limitations. There are character count restrictions, photo restrictions, branding restrictions…and they’re different for each website. The biggest pain for us is the character count restrictions for the MLS. In order to maximize exposure and feed a listing to other websites, we have to stay under a certain number of characters. This really limits the features we can bring to the attention of buyers, but this restriction is the same for everyone in our company, as well as the other companies in our area that distribute to third party websites (Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Individual Agent Sites, etc.). Our advice is to trust that the Realtor and his company know what they are doing.
4. Not all Realtors market the same. They choose to do what they think works. Some will pay for a professional photographer, others will take pictures themselves. Some believe open houses work, others think they’re a waste. Some will pay for expanded features on popular websites, others feel it’s fluff. That’s why it’s so important to interview agents before you hire them.
5. Generating marketing materials takes time. Flyers can take two days or more from the time the pictures are received. Professional booklets can take a week or two. Even websites can take 24-48 hours to display a listing from the time it’s entered into the MLS.
Before you start marketing with a Realtor, you’ll need to remove any advertisements you’ve posted for your home. If you’ve gone on to third-party websites like Zillow and claimed your home as a FSBO, you may need to surrender it to the Realtor so they can control how the home displays. It’s not always clear how the site handles listings when they’re fed from the MLS, so it may be a case-by-case situation.
Second, showings will now be handled by the Realtor. How this is done depends on the Realtor. We have a call center whose primary purpose is to take showing requests and confirm them with the sellers. There’s a myriad of ways communication can be handled. Sellers can confirm appointments by call, text, email, or the showing app. They can even deny showings and suggest a better time. Agents can enter time restrictions, as well as specific instructions for accessing keys and handling pets that may be in the home. This has made the whole process much more efficient and streamlined.
Third, all offers are made to the Realtor. They then present the offer to you. Realtors are required to present ALL offers, no matter how low they are. So, don’t feel offended. It’s your right as the home owner to know all of your options. The Realtor is there to remove emotion from the negotiating and provide facts to aid you in getting the most money for your home. They are not allowed to reveal any details of the deal to anyone outside of the transaction until such information becomes public knowledge the day the property closes and records. For more on this, we recommend reading “Working with Real Estate Agents”.
Fourth, once an offer is accepted, the Realtor will handle all of the closing details – scheduling contractors, hiring the attorney to prepare seller documents, arranging for the title search, etc. They will negotiate repairs and make sure all necessary forms are filled out and signed. There are a lot of moving parts at this point and it’s their job (along with the buyer’s agent) to keep everything on schedule and your best interests protected. Expect a lot of communication at this point.
With something as large as selling a multi-thousand dollar property, it can be stressful to have another person handling so much for you. You have to put a lot of trust in them to handle things with honesty and integrity. If you find a situation like this daunting, make sure the agent you hire has an easy-out clause. For example, if you hire The Cameron Team and are not happy with the services we provide, you can cancel the listing contract any time prior to receiving an offer. We provide that in writing. There are other Realtors that have similar offers. Don’t hesitate to ask when you’re interviewing agents.
If you have any questions about selling your home in the Wilmington area, give us a call at (910) 202-2546 or send us a message through our Contact page.
You may also be interested in reading “Representing Your Best Interests” – how the results of selling For Sale by Owner compares to using a Realtor.