Thursday, March 19, 2009

4 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Real Estate Agent

After you get your home appraised and have a good idea of how much you can expect to receive for the sell of your home, it is time for you to start deciding how you are going to go about selling the home. Of course, you might decide that you want to represent yourself in the sell of your home. But, if you prefer to hire a real estate agent to help you through the process, there are several key questions you should be sure to ask. This way, you can be certain to get the right agent for the job and to achieve the best possible results. To that end, here is a look at a few of the key questions you should be sure to ask when interviewing potential real estate agents.

How Long Have You Been in the Real Estate Business?

Ideally, you want to work with a real estate agent who either has many years of experience in the field or who has a mentor with a great deal of experience in the business. One benefit to working with a newer agent is that they tend to provide their clients with a great deal of attention. Just make certain the agent has a competent mentor that he or she can contact if problems should arise.

What Strategies Will You Use to Sell My Home?

Your real estate agent should have a solid plan in place for successfully marketing your home to potential buyers. This may include implementing a direct mail campaign, creating flyers and using the Internet to advertise your home. Ask the agent to explain the methods that he or she plans to use and why using these strategies should be an effective method for selling your home.

What Makes You Better Than Other Real Estate Agents?

In addition to helping you learn more about what you can expect from the agent, asking this question also helps you can gain a better understanding of the qualities and characteristics the real estate agent thinks are important. Obviously, you will need to pick an agent who exhibits the characteristics you find to be most important as well. For example, is it more important for the agent to be an excellent negotiator or are you looking for someone who is friendly and easy to reach by phone or email? Choose the agent who best suits your personal needs.

What is Your List Price to Sales Price Ratio?

The agent’s list price to sales price ratio represents the difference between the price you are asking for the home compared to the price at which the agent sells the home. As a seller, you are looking for a real estate agent with a high list price to sales price ratio, as this indicates the agent does a good job selling properties at the price the owner is asking.

About the Author: Shannon Kietzman is a well known author and trusted resource. Shannon regularly writes for, which is a leading provider of on-line home appraisals and offers a nationwide personalized instant informational report about home appraisal. For more information, please visit .

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Deciding How Long to List Your Home

Are you considering hiring an agent to help you with getting your home sold? If so, there are many things you will need to take into consideration when negotiating the services you would like the agent to provide. One of these is how long you want your home to be listed. Remember, it is up to you to determine the listing length of your home. Therefore, it is important for you to have an idea of the pros and cons of various listing lengths so you can determine which length is best for you.

The 30 Day Listing

If your home is in a hot market where most other properties are selling in less than 30 days, a 30-day listing may be your best option. This way, if your agent fails to sell the home within those 30 days, you can hire the services of another agent who can get the job done more quickly. Before giving your agent the boot, however, you should take a closer look at your property and what you are asking for it. It is possible that you are asking for more than the property is actually worth, which could be the reason why it has failed to sell in such a short time period.

The 90 Day Listing

The 90 day listing is one of the most common in the housing market. Nonetheless, you should have a pretty good idea of whether or not the property is priced right within the first 30 days. With a 90 day listing, however, you can get an idea of whether or not your property is priced right and then you can work with your agent to determine what changes might need to be made in order to make your home more desirable to potential buyers.

The 180 Day Listing

The 180 day listing makes more sense when dealing with a buyer’s market, such as what most markets are currently facing. If you go with a 90 day listing within a buyer’s market, the listing might expire while it is still in escrow. If this happens, you may need to extend the listing anyway. Therefore, it is often easier to simply start off with a 180 day listing when in a buyer’s market. When agreeing to a 180 day listing, however, it is a good idea to ask the agent to provide you with a written guarantee that you can cancel the listing after 90 days if you are not happy with the service. If the agent refuses to provide a guarantee, you are better off hiring someone who will.

The One Year Listing

If you live in a more remote area or in a market where homes move slowly, a one year listing contract may be your best option. The same is true if you are selling an unusually large or unique property, vacation homes and private islands as these homes tend to take longer to sell because there are less potential buyers for these homes.

About the Author: Shannon Kietzman is a well known author and trusted resource. Shannon regularly writes for, which is a leading provider of on-line home appraisals and offers a nationwide personalized instant informational report about home appraisal. For more information, please visit .

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Understanding the Difference Between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent

If you are looking for a real estate agent, you may be surprised to learn that there is a difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor. Although many people use the term "Realtor" as a general term to describe a person that helps individuals buy and sell homes, a Realtor is actually a specialized type of real estate agent that has met certain criteria in order to earn that title.

What is a Realtor?

In order to be designated as a Realtor, a real estate agent must be a member of the National Association of Realtors. Therefore, any real estate agent claiming to be a Realtor who does not belong to this organization is purposely misrepresenting his or her licensing. You can identify a real estate agent who is a Realtor by looking for the Realtor logo on the agent's business card, sales literature or other marketing documents.

How is a Realtor Different from a Real Estate Agent?

In order to become a member of the National Association of Realtors, a real estate agent must adhere to a strict code of ethics. For example, a Realtor may not deliberately mislead a homeowner regarding the market value of the property and is required to subjectively submit offers and counter-offers as quickly as possible. In essence, the code of ethics requires Realtors to treat buyers and sellers fairly and honestly.

Realtors are also required to maintain a certain level of knowledge regarding the buying and selling process. This way, you can make certain the Realtor is knowledgeable and up-to-date when it comes to real estate transactions.

What Can a Realtor Do for Me?

While you can certainly bypass the Realtor and buy or sell a home without the help of one of these professionals, there are many benefits that come with working with a Realtor. These include:

Getting help with finding the right lender
Providing you with information about properties that are not actively being advertised on the market
Assisting you with obtaining information about the neighborhood, including zoning information, school information and utility information
Providing you with negotiating power to help you get the best price
Assisting you with finding experts to conduct necessary inspections, including dry rot, termite, roof condition, termite and septic tank inspections
Providing you with information about your various financing options
Guiding you through the closing process
Providing you with up-to-date information about current market trends
Knowing where and how to advertise your property effectively
Helping you evaluate the proposals of potential buyers

Obviously, the most important consideration when selecting an agent is to find someone you can trust and who has a solid reputation. Nonetheless, you might want to first consider hiring someone who is a licensed Realtor in order to get the added peace of mind that hiring one of these professionals provides.

About the Author: Shannon Kietzman is a well known author and trusted resource. Shannon regularly writes for, which is a leading provider of on-line home appraisals and offers a nationwide personalized instant informational report about home appraisal. For more information, please visit .

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Friday, April 4, 2008

How to Choose the Real Estate Agent That is Right for You

If you are planning to hire a real estate agent to help you with selling your home, it is important that you take the time to find someone that is well qualified and that will look out for your best interest. Therefore, there are several things you should keep in mind when searching for a real estate agent in order to guarantee the best results. These include:

• Checking credentials
• Finding out more about the real estate agent’s procedures
• Confirming who the agent will be representing
• Learning about fees

By evaluating all of these areas, you will have a better chance of hiring a real estate agent that will best suit your needs.

Checking Credentials

Ideally, you should hire someone that is a designated Realtor. Real estate agents are actually different from Realtors, as Realtors have to complete extra steps in order to achieve this designation. Realtors are also held to a higher standard than real estate agents because they have to adhere to the Code of Ethics as established by the National Association of Realtors.

In addition to dealing with someone that is a Realtor, you should also check to make certain the agent has an active license that is in good standing. It is also a good idea to find out the designations the agent holds. This way, you can make certain You can easily check on the Realtor’s license by checking with the governing agency in your state.

Finding Out More About the Real Estate Agent’s Procedures

Before you pick a Realtor, it is important to find someone that uses procedures you are comfortable with. For example, you might want to work with an agent that will put your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database or you may prefer one that will keep the sale more private. While most agents will be flexible and will work within the terms you prefer, others may have an established procedure that they are unwilling change. Make certain you and the agent are a good match before you sign a contract.

Confirming Who the Agent Will be Representing

There are two major types of real estate brokers to select from: buyer’s brokers and seller’s brokers. A buyer’s broker represents the best interest of the person buying the house while the seller’s broker represents the person selling the home. This is an important differentiation because the agent is bound to the person he or she represents, which means the agent does not have to maintain confidentiality for the other person in the sell. In other words, if you are dealing with an agent that represents the buyer and you tell the agent you would be willing to go as low as $130,000 on your price, the agent is obligated to share this information with the buyer. Make certain you are dealing with an agent that will be representing your best interests.

Learning About Fees

You also need to discuss fees upfront. You should have a clear understanding of how much you will have to pay the agent for his or her commission. You should also find out whether or not the agent is willing to reduce the commission amount if you are having trouble selling the home for the price you are trying to get.

In exchange for the fees you pay, the agent should clearly describe the services that will be provided. Don’t assume that services such as advertising your home are automatically part of the deal. After all, you don’t want to be caught by surprise by extra fees that pop up down the road.

About the Author: Greg Sullivan is the President of, a leading provider of home appraisals offering a nationwide personalized instant information about house values. For more information, please visit

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Question: Why use a Realtor®?

Answer: …..The Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

Access to real estate information: Realtors® have many resources to turn to in assisting you in your home search that public web sites lack. The web has changed the way we all search for information. Many publications are now quoting that up to 80% of home shoppers initiate their search on the web. This is up from 0% about 10 years ago.

Real estate is one of the most commonly search subjects on the net. Every web portal from Google to Yahoo, to Earthlink, to MSN has a real estate tab or sub-site to simplify real estate search. The amount of real estate data on the web will blow your mind. To make things more complicated, every week new real estate sites come online. Realtors® have these public options available along with their local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). MLS as defined by Wikipedia as:

Multiple Listing Service (MLS) (also Multiple Listing System or Multiple Listings Service) is a group of private databases which allows real estate brokers representing sellers under a listing contract to widely share information about properties with real estate brokers who may represent potential buyers or wish to cooperate with a seller's broker in finding a buyer for the property. There is no single authoritative "MLS", and no universal data format. The many local and private databases--some of which are controlled by single associations of realtors or groupings of associations (which represent all brokers within a given community or geographical area) or by real estate brokers--are collectively referred to as the MLS because of their reciprocal access agreements. .

Full use of an MLS system is generally only available to its members, Realtors®. MLS information is very time sensitive. Once a new listing is obtained from an broker and placed into their MLS system, it is immediately available to its members. A resourceful Realtor® can find a “hot property”, a price reduction or brand new listing by searching their MLS and immediately calling you to set up an appointment. These can be homes that may not be anywhere else on the net. It can take several days for property to go from an MLS system to where it will be viewed by the rest of the world. Don’t get me wrong can be a great place to start, but it gets its information from the local boards of Realtors® and the MLS.

A Realtor® armed with the knowledge of how to efficiently search the MLS system will be able to narrow your search with ease. How many times have you gone to a web site looking for a home and your results were in the hundreds or even thousands? It’s time consuming going through that many properties. MLS searches get very granular, giving your Realtor® the ability to input your criteria, save the search, and have it email them anytime a property match is found. A search could be as complicated as: Condominiums (in your favorite building) with only east facing exposure, between $300,000 and $339,900, that allow pets, come with owner financing, and include the window treatments. Try doing this search on

Once you employ the help of a REALTOR®, he or she will have access to the MLS. If you are a seller your home will be immediately exposed to the community of agents who also belong to the same MLS. If a buyer, your agent will have up to date information of available homes that meet your discriminating taste; even if your dream home is a concrete home, only two stories, in your favorite zip code, built between 2000-2004, includes a finished basement, 4 bedrooms, 3 bath rooms, at least 2500 square feet on a ½ acre lot and a new roof. Try this one on…..

About the Author: Greg Sullivan is the President of, a leading provider of home appraisals offering a nationwide personalized instant information about house values. For more information, please visit

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