Tips for Sellers

5 Things to Do Before You Sell

  1. Get estimates from a reliable repair person on items that need to be replaced soon, a roof or worn carpeting, for example. In this way, buyers will have a better sense of how much these needed repairs will affect their costs.
  2. Have a termite inspection to prove to buyers that the property is not infested.
  3. Get a pre-sale home inspection, so you'll be able to make repairs before buyers become concerned or cancel a contract.
  4. Gather together warranties and guarantees on the furnace, appliances, and other items that will remain with the house.
  5. Fill out a disclosure form provided by your sales associate. Take the time to be sure that you don't forget problems, however minor, that might create liability for you after the sale.

Tips for Pricing Your Home

  1. Estimate your home's true market value. Find the selling price of similar homes in your neighborhood. Internet databases and other services make this task easier than it might seem.
  2. Consider closing fees, other selling costs, and the amount of cash you want after the sale. Do NOT start with the amount of cash you need and work backwards to a price.
  3. Set your price based on how your home compares to similar size homes in the same neighborhood, then visit this page for help on estimating how much cash you will have after the sale. Look at financial terms that support a higher price for your home. A Buyer might be willing to pay more for your house if he or she can assume your current mortgage, or if you are prepared to provide Seller financing.
  4. Don't forget: Home prices are higher in Spring & Summer. Except in Florida, Hawaii, and a few other sunny spots, most Buyers look for homes in the Spring and Summer, making it harder to get high prices in Winter when fewer Buyers are looking for homes.
  5. For further assistance in pricing your home, please consider our Free Market Analysis services.

Understanding Agency

It's important to understand what legal responsibilities your real estate salesperson has to you and to other parties in the transactions. Ask your salesperson to explain what type of agency relations you have with him or her and with the brokerage company.

  1. Seller's representative. (Also known as a listing agent or seller's agent). A seller's agent is hired by and represents the seller. All fiduciary duties are owed to the seller. The agency relationship usually is created by a listing contract.
  2. Subagent. A subagent owes the same fiduciary duties to the agent's principal as the agent does. Subagency usually arises when a cooperating sales associate from another brokerage, who is not representing the buyer as a buyer’s representative or operating in a non-agency relationship, shows property to a buyer. In such a case, the subagent works with the buyer as a customer but owes fiduciary duties to the listing broker and the seller. Although a subagent cannot assist the buyer in any way that would be detrimental to the seller, a buyer-customer can expect to be treated honestly by the subagent. It is important that subagents fully explain their duties to buyers.
  3. Buyer's representative. (Also known as a buyer’s agent). A real estate licensee who is hired by prospective buyers to represent them in a real estate transaction. The buyer's agent works in the buyer's best interest throughout the transaction and owes fiduciary duties to the buyer. The buyer can pay the licensee directly through a negotiated fee, or the buyer's agent may be paid by the seller or by a commission split with the listing broker.
  4. Disclosed dual agent. Dual agency is a relationship in which the brokerage firm represents both the buyer and the seller in the same real estate transaction. Dual agency relationships do not carry with them all of the traditional fiduciary duties to the clients. Instead, dual agents owe limited fiduciary duties. Because of the potential for conflicts of interest in a dual-agency relationship, it's vital that all parties give their informed consent. In many states, this consent must be in writing. Disclosed dual agency, in which both the buyer and the seller are told that the agent is representing both parties, is legal in most states.
  5. Designated agent. (Also called, among other things, appointed agency). This is a brokerage practice that allows the managing broker to designate which licensees in the brokerage will act as an agent of the seller and which will act as an agent of the buyer. Designated agency avoids the problem of creating a dual-agency relationship for licensees at the brokerage. The designated agents give their clients full representation, with all of the attendant fiduciary duties. The broker still has the responsibility of supervising both groups of licensees.