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    Do I Really Need an Agent?

    With the advent and continual evolution of online search, you can access significant amounts of information within seconds. What the internet doesn’t offer, though, is provide detailed knowledge of the countless intricacies that go along with selling. Nearly nine in 10 sellers use an agent or broker to help them sell their homes — and you’d be wise to hire one as well to ensure the process goes smoothly.

    Market Expertise

    From understanding the local school system and new tax laws to researching community home values and past sales history, real estate agents stay on top of all of the essential details they need to know to move your property expeditiously and for the right amount of money. Sure, you can research your neighborhood and general area to discover what your neighbors have gotten for their homes for sale and how much properties in your town have appreciated in value over time, but given agents are already embedded into the community in which they work, they’ve already done that work for you.

    Negotiation Skills

    You may know how to make your home look appealing and pitch its best features to prospective buyers, but a certified agent has a thorough understanding of the average buyer’s mindset — meaning they know the tricks of the trade that can secure plenty of buyers to show up at your open houses, call to set up personal home tours, and check out your listing online. Add in the fact that agents have skin in the game regarding the sale price (hint: commission), and it’s evident they have the knowledge and motivation to ensure you get the best price possible for your home for sale.

    Law and Contract  Knowledge

    The amount of laws, rules, and regulations that have to be dealt with throughout the course of selling a home are seemingly innumerable. No home seller should have to deal with complicated legalese and documents while trying to stage their residence and find a new home to purchase. Instead, they should leave all of that in the hands of their real estate agent. The right agent knows how to structure home contracts so they’re not only correct, but lead to quickly and productively close deals.

    Professional Network

    The best of the best agents are not only knowledgeable and accomplished, but also well-connected. Expert agents spend much of their time building their networks and gaining new relationships with fellow agents and home vendors: everyone from plumbers, electricians, and contractors to appraisers, inspectors, and attorneys. So, when you sign on with an experienced agent, you get much more than their sales and marketing expertise. You also get a comprehensive network of professionals who can help move a sale along speedily.

    Time

    The internet offers a wealth of information for home sellers, but with much of their time dedicated to their day-to-day — working a 9-to-5, picking up the kids at school, etc. — it can be difficult for them to find a few hours each week to research agents who can help them put their property on the market. That’s why hiring an agent is essential: They’re completely dedicated to spending countless hours combing over data on local home sales, identifying buyer leads, and performing a variety of other sales and marketing tasks (online and offline) to broaden awareness of your listing.

    Price

    Assuming you price your property appropriately, your home for sale should start to gain awareness and leads within hours. But what exactly goes into setting a list price? Let’s delve into the primary factors that affect the specific dollar amount you ask for your residence.

    Market Analysis

    Your real estate agent has considerable intelligence regarding the market in which they work, so leave it to them to source data and create reports that paint you an accurate picture of what others have done with their listings price-wise.
    In turn, this information can inform your own price-setting. In addition to what others listed and sold their homes for, though, you need to take into account factors like home style/type, square footage, age, condition and how long their homes sat on the market.

    Professional Appraisel

    Hiring a professional appraiser, which usually runs a few hundred dollars, can tell you about the condition of every last detail of your home. These certified and licensed professionals conduct thorough searches of residences to gauge their worth and, as with a market analysis your agent performs, compare homes to those of others nearby in terms of quality, newness, and amenities.

    Repair

    Once you’ve taken care of some slight refreshing of certain corners of your residence, you can turn your attention to more substantial restoration projects. Inspect your kitchen and bathroom for broken cabinetry and handles. Look for cracks in your walls, ceiling, and floor. Determine if you need to re-tile your roof or siding. There are often dozens of small components of your home that need addressing, so carefully investigate your interior and exterior for things to fix.

    Presentation

    You’ve settled on a solid list price, you’ve made updates to your interior and exterior — now, it’s on to staging. Making your home look both functional and beautiful and marketing your revamped home to the right audience takes some skill. Luckily, your agent can help you find the right designers and photographers to ensure your residence looks brand new and appealing.

    Marketing Basics

    Promote Online.
    First and foremost, develop a presence online with your agent by posting your listing on their site and other real estate portals. Assuming your agent has a modern, mobile-optimized real estate website, you’re in good hands. Also, use social media to alert friends, colleagues, and other connections about your new listing.

    Create print collateral, too.
    Despite the growing preference of home buyers to search for properties online, it’s worthwhile to have offline marketing tactics in play. Yard signs, open houses, and flyers can help spread word that your home is on the market. It’s harder to measure the effectiveness of offline marketing, but it can still help with word-of-mouth promotion.

    Photography

    Work with a professional.
    You may have a friend or family member who’s pretty good behind the lens, but a home sale is too important to leave in the hands of amateur photographers. Hire a pro with a well-documented history of snapping and editing beautiful shots of listings for real estate clients. Ask to see portfolios and get contact information of past clients to see what they have to say about potential candidates.

    Get plenty of beautiful shots.
    It should go without saying that your photographer should take hundreds of photos of your home’s interior, exterior, and surrounding property. Just to be sure you’re on the same page, though, speak at length with the pro you employ to let them know what you’d like to showcase in the photos (e.g. certain areas of the home, shots at certain angles). They certainly know how to get the right pictures, but giving them some guidance isn’t out of the norm.

    Power of Persuasion

    When it comes to marketing your location, you can never be too specific. Honing in on the nitty-gritty details of your neighborhood and community — like noting how many grocery stores are located in the town and relaying the best places to get a pizza— helps home buyers visualize themselves living in the residence and surrounding area. Your agent can write plenty of marketing copy to promote your community, but if you know of any good selling points, let them know so they can spotlight them accordingly.

    Bottom Line

    Conducting all of these tasks and working with various professionals, including your agent, is all a part of the home selling process, but at the end of the day, the best way to help sell your home is to be proactive. If your agent wants to show your home early in the morning to a possible buyer, let them come over to give them a tour. If you think a more neutral living room wall color would be more appealing to buyers, set time aside to re-coat them. In other words, be ready at all times to help your agent market your residence and, in turn, close a deal on your terms.