At What Point Should You Contact a Realtor About Selling Your House?
What You Will Read In This Article
Selling your home is an experience that will bring you a range of emotions and one of them is uncertainty as you scramble to get everything in order. That’s why you’re going to need a professional to guide you.
Fix the garage door, paint the dining room, replace the light fixtures that’s been an eyesore for years—At what point should you contact a realtor about selling your house?
It turns out you should contact a realtor 30 to 60 days before putting your home on the market. About 90 to 120 days can be too premature, as the markets shift and volatility can change your home selling plan.
This guide will go through all of the steps you need to do before contacting a realtor, your responsibilities as a seller, and finding the right realtor for you.
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Make Sure You Are Prepared Before Contacting An Agent
When you’re getting the urge to sell your home, there is a list of things you should do before contacting a realtor about selling your house.
It starts with assessing your finances: can you cover commission fees, hidden costs, repairs? Are you aware of any home improvements that need attention?
Get Your Finances In Order
These extra costs can be:
- Closing costs: The most significant hidden expense is the closing costs, which can include a 6% or more real estate agent commission fee. This is why we recommend you negotiate realtor commissions when selling your home.
- Renovations: Depending on your home’s size and age, what you’re repairing can be $500 or $5,000, or more!
- Extra help: During the renovation process, you may find you need a contractor to help you. Instead of repairing the kitchen sink for yourself with $100 in parts, you realize you need new pipes and will have to pay $1,000 to $3,500 in labor costs, which becomes the installation fee you did not plan to spend.
Moral of the story so far is that your finances must be in order before contacting a realtor to sell your home to avoid surprises.
Declutter 1/3 Of Your Belongings
Removing unwanted items and tidying up your home before the buyer’s walkthrough can increase the value of your home.
Five tips for decluttering include:
- Spruce up every room that looks claustrophobic.
- Clean the kitchen and bathroom.
- Depersonalize by having minimal family and personal photos.
- Hideaway kids belongings and pets toys.
- Stage all rooms and areas with a minimalist mindset—less is more.
When the buyers walk into your home, they need an easy pathway. When they turn the corner, it needs to be easy on the eyes, giving them the impression that there is more space.
Once you declutter, change the lighting to exaggerate the room’s best qualities and dim the lowest points.
Make All The Repairs You Have Put Off
Zillow’s Consumer Housing Trends Report revealed that a quarter of sellers said their home improvements took longer than expected. The kitchen, bathroom, redecorating, replacing or repairing the roof, and replacing appliances extended more than the seller anticipated.
The report also states 73% of sellers make at least one improvement before selling, and the average is 2.7 improvements. It means there is a high possibility making repairs will occur, no matter what.
A vast majority of sellers, about 95%, state their experience was stressful. Regarding the same 95%, 53% from the report stated that making improvements or preparing the house for sale contributed to the stress and the bigger the fixer upper the higher the stress levels.
With this in mind, you must not allow repairs and improvements to finish at the last minute, making the experience worse.
Do The Deepest Clean Ever
You could be in your home all day, but a client may see something you haven’t noticed that turns them off during an open house.
Clean your hardwood floors, vacuum your carpet, power wash the driveway—deep clean anything the buyer’s eyes will come into contact with to give that new home look. To save time, hire a service to clean your home for a professional, clean finish.
Removing items that look out of place, changing curtains, and removing dusty objects are welcomed too. The main goal is to make the home look brand new.
Make a List of the Best Agents in Your Area
Finding an agent is not the hard part. Finding the right one is. If you do not know something personally, the easiest way to find someone is online. There are several directories to go through on several websites, such as:
If you are on social media, Facebook and Linkedin are also ways to find good realtors.
Sometimes there are user comments on profiles of realtors and ratings. Take note of them, and if you want, you can direct-message someone who left a comment, asking how their experience was.
Ask for Referrals From Friends and Family
Most people know a real estate agent, and close friends or family may know some good realtors with experience.
On sites like Facebook and Linkedin, those who are mutual friends with realtors show on the platform. It will give you the confidence to contact the realtor in the future, and also ask your friends or family more about the realtor.
However, be careful because sometimes a family member or friend themselves may not be the experienced realtor you want. It can get messy, but be determined to find the right realtor for you and don’t end up stuck in a contract with a bad realtor.
Ask for Referrals From Neighbors
You know those flyers, letters, or newsletters everyone gets from realtors who say they’ve sold a house in their area?
It’s possible your neighbors have indeed met that realtor and had a good experience. It would be a plus if they did sell a home in the area because it makes it easier for both you and the realtor.
Most neighborhoods have a realtor who is an expert in the area, meaning a neighbor may know someone has found success buying and selling in your neighborhood.
If you see realtor signs in your neighborhood or on a neighbors yard, inquire about them.
Do Your Internet Research (Google, Facebook Groups, Nextdoor)
After you’ve found potential realtors, begin searching for other homes they have sold and feedback past clients have left. Usually, the most prominent realtors have a strong presence on real estate websites. They’re also the most experienced in selling a house online and that’s a good reason to use them as your realtor.
Entering a realtor’s name in Google after you’ve inquired about them will show your real estate brokerage and business. From there, Google reviews should come up if they have a strong enough presence on the search engine.
Facebook Pages and Groups are popular to find information on a realtor and more reviews. A promising sign about a realtor is their strong internet presence, meaning they would be on all these websites and social media pages.
NextDoor is an app where neighbors can interact, including realtors. Those who have spent time in the neighborhood buying and selling homes will have a profile with reviews and recommendations.
When You’re Ready to Contact Your List of Agents to Interview
After you’ve gathered a list of realtors you want to contact, their phone number and email show on their profiles.
For them to contact you, an option is to mass email the realtors telling them you want to sell your home, put your phone number, and say you prefer to speak on the phone.
To get a better feel for the realtor, a conversation on the phone is more personal. Also, phone conversations are quick, as opposed to waiting for a text or email.
However, the best option may be to contact them during certain hours if they have them on the website or social media page. If not, send them your name and number.
Interview at Least Three Agents
Once you get a hold of three realtors you are interested in, conduct a small interview on the phone.
Questions to ask may include:
- Have you sold homes in my neighborhood before? City? County?
- How much experience do you have?
- Do you have any team members who will assist with the home sale?
- What kind of properties do you sell?
- How soon can we get started to sell my home?
- Are you working with any other clients? Would you have time to help me sell my home?
- What’s the average length in days it takes you to sell a home?
Most realtors are ready to answer these questions and more. However, consider if they may be with a client, at work, or even on a lunch break. Realtors are always on the go and appreciate the considerations.
How to Decide on the Agent That Is Best for You
After you have conducted interviews, go with your gut instinct on the best one. Usually, it’s the realtor who is eager to help you. It can be heard in their tone of voice and urgency to contact you or get back to you.
Also, assess how well they have answered the questions. Were you satisfied? Was there left to be more? After, choose your realtor who fits the criteria you desire.
List and Sell Your Home With Your New Agent
After contacting a realtor about selling your house and choosing the right one, it’s time to work together.
Your realtor will now meet you are the home you’re trying to sell and go through various assessments, which include:
- Comparative analysis: Checking out the prices of homes around your neighborhood and zip code, then comparing it to your home. A comparative analysis will show if your asking price is above or below the market. Realtors tend to have an MLS account and other tools that do this for them, saving you a lot of time.
- Critique your home: The realtor will do their walkthrough and make an assessment. They will gather what needs fixing, changes, if the house has any severe issues, is it sellable right now, and so forth. They may suggest a pre-inspection, which will tell you which repairs you need to do before listing your home if any.
- Connect with contractors: If the inspection comes back saying you need new plumbing, the realtor can connect you with someone they know who has done an excellent job, enough to sell the house.
- Staging perfection: For professional-looking home staging, some experts or services provide top-notch interior design. Your realtor may know someone who can both stage and improve the interior design desired.
There may be ups and downs during the process, but you and your realtor will find solutions with selling your home the top priority.
About the Author: Kris Lippi is the owner of ISoldMyHouse.com, the broker of Get LISTED Realty and an official member of the Forbes Real Estate Council. He actively writes about real estate related topics such as buying and selling homes, how-to guides for around the house and home product recommendations. He has been featured in Inman, Readers Digest, Fox News, American Express, Fit Small Business, Policy Genius, Lending Tree, GoDaddy, Manta as well as other major websites. Read more about us here.