Step 1: Find a Realtor
Many home owners 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 in an effort 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 such as pocket listings or For Sale By Owners will be missing.
- The information on the online sites is often out of date or not accurate as not every Realtor has to manually change their listing from Active to Sold in many of the online sites. Unfortunately, most Realtors are not good about updating this information regularly. 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 which have sold within the last 90 days.
- Many properties don’t list the square footage so it’s hard to know if you’re comparing similarly sized homes, which makes a big difference when determining value.
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 312-600-7510 or firstname.lastname@example.org so we can see if we would be a good fit. Remember, not all Realtors are right for all people. You need to find 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 (click here). Go over the CMA (click here for tips on reading a CMA). Ask them not only what they think your home is worth, but what the average days on 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 homer 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 came 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 agreement (click here for an example of a listing agreement and disclosures) 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 shay(at)buyselllovechicago(dot)com or 312-600-7510.