Listing Your Home
When you choose a REALTOR®, you will most likely enter into a listing agreement, a contract in which you agree to allow the REALTOR® to sell your home during a given period. The agreement defines the fee that you will pay the REALTOR® when your home sells. The amount of compensation you pay a broker is negotiable, but the REALTOR® will generally follow the company's policy regarding compensation. The amount of the fee will be spelled out in the listing agreement. Make sure you understand how the fee will be paid before signing.
Most REALTORS® are independent contractors who work for a company operated by a licensed real estate broker. (A salesman is licensed by the state to sell real estate through a broker. A broker is licensed by the state to sell real estate to others for a fee and employ salesmen and other brokers.)
A REALTOR® is worth the commission many times over. When you hire a REALTOR®, you receive assistance in three primary areas: property evaluation, marketing and contract negotiation.
The REALTOR® will assist you in determining the proper list price for your property, as well as inform you how to prepare the property for showing. This would include suggesting minor repairs and cosmetic fix-ups, which would be important in attracting a buyer.
The REALTOR® can determine how to best advertise the property, pre-screen buyers and qualify them financially. This frees the seller from being housebound, waiting for the prospect who fails to keep an appointment. It also assures the seller that only qualified buyers are touring the property. When the offer is made, the REALTOR's® services really pay off.
The REALTOR® will help the seller evaluate the strength of the buyer and the offer, analyze the terms and conditions of the contract and bring the sale to a successful closing.
If you're confused about which of the many brokerages would be best to sell your house, screen several with these questions: Have you sold properties like this before? Will you provide a marketing plan so that I will know what to expect? What steps do you take to make sure that prospective buyers are pre-qualified and prepared to buy?
Most REALTORS® will ask for an exclusive right-to-sell listing. This means that you will owe the broker a commission regardless of who finds a buyer during the listing period. In other words, if you decide to sell the house to your cousin, your broker still gets a commission. The advantage of this kind of arrangement is that the broker is motivated to work harder to sell your home.
It's possible that a REALTOR® from another company will find a buyer for your home. In that case, your broker is the listing broker, and the second licensee is the selling or cooperating broker. Many times your listing broker will agree to pay the cooperating broker a fee from the amount you pay the listing broker. Your listing broker cooperates with other brokers who procure buyers interested in your property and offers to compensate the other brokers for procuring a buyer.
Length of listing
The listing agreement will specify how long you agree to list your house with a company. Your REALTOR® will probably suggest an average time that homes like yours are on the market. You want a period that's long enough to motivate your REALTOR® to advertise your home and respond to buyers. Remember that the listing agreement is a contract. You should get a copy for your records. Your REALTOR® is bound to the terms just as you are.
A REALTOR® is a professional that not only belongs to the industry's largest professional trade association, the National Association of Realtors and its state and local affiliates, but is a salesperson who agrees to adhere to a professional Code of Ethics.