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I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

Old Jul 30th 2007, 6:09 am
  #1  
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Question I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

OK within the next week, we'll be putting our house on the market.

Is it 'normal' to get more than one estate agent over to talk to?

What questions do I need to ask?...

How much %age they charge?
Whether or not it's a "no sale no fee" contract?
How much notice they'll give us before showing up for an impromptu viewing?

Gosh... really not too much idea, to be honest?

What should we be able to expect them to do for us? I mean, apart from pop the house on the MLS and get us to closing?

Who takes care of dealing with our mortgage company?

Ugh... way too many questions, sorry!
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 6:45 am
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Default Re: I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

Originally Posted by Maz View Post
OK within the next week, we'll be putting our house on the market.

Is it 'normal' to get more than one estate agent over to talk to?

What questions do I need to ask?...

How much %age they charge?
Whether or not it's a "no sale no fee" contract?
How much notice they'll give us before showing up for an impromptu viewing?

Gosh... really not too much idea, to be honest?

What should we be able to expect them to do for us? I mean, apart from pop the house on the MLS and get us to closing?

Who takes care of dealing with our mortgage company?

Ugh... way too many questions, sorry!
Depends what state you're in I think. Realtors in my experience are expensive on the whole, if you have one in your area look for one that works through assist2sell.com they are normally much cheaper than hte rest and work for one flat low fee.
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 1:27 pm
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Default Re: I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

Originally Posted by helens View Post
Depends what state you're in I think. Realtors in my experience are expensive on the whole, if you have one in your area look for one that works through assist2sell.com they are normally much cheaper than hte rest and work for one flat low fee.
Hi Helen, thanks for replying. I'm in Illinois (see location). Does assist2sell.com put your house on the MLS though?...
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 2:13 pm
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Default Re: I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

Originally Posted by Maz View Post
Hi Helen, thanks for replying. I'm in Illinois (see location). Does assist2sell.com put your house on the MLS though?...
Absolutely, when we used them, they were independant realtors that belonged to this group, they acted just as any other realtor but for a fraction of the cost. They were very good.
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 2:14 pm
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Default Re: I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

Originally Posted by helens View Post
Absolutely, when we used them, they were independant realtors that belonged to this group, they acted just as any other realtor but for a fraction of the cost. They were very good.
Not sure where Aurora is, but click on http://www.assist2sell.com/officesg....state=Illinois
It shows the agents in Illinois
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 2:44 pm
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Default Re: I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

Originally Posted by Maz View Post
OK within the next week, we'll be putting our house on the market.
ooh... getting towards that time when the big move becomes more "real"

exciting and disconcerting all at the same time huh?

if you don't mind me asking btw - whats the kinda price range you're in?
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 2:51 pm
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Default Re: I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

Originally Posted by helens View Post
Not sure where Aurora is, but click on http://www.assist2sell.com/officesg....state=Illinois
It shows the agents in Illinois
Above and beyone the call there, thank you so much! Karma coming your way.

Originally Posted by USBound View Post
ooh... getting towards that time when the big move becomes more "real"

exciting and disconcerting all at the same time huh?

if you don't mind me asking btw - whats the kinda price range you're in?
I don't mind at all, and please thank your missus for calling yesterday! Sorry we're a tad busy this week. Got another interview tonight, and just arranged to have the wee one in pre-school for 3 days a week instead of 2, that'll give me some breathing room!

Well, next-door neighbours have the same type of house, ie. 3-bed, 2-bath, and they went to market at 275, but are now down to 265 as there have been zero takers in the 2 months it's been on the market. Without speaking to an estate agent, we're probably going to price to sell at 250 or 255, which for the location is an absolute steal, with a natural lake (OK it's not there right now as it's dried up! ) at the back of the house, and a west-facing back garden with patio. You interested?
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 3:00 pm
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Default Re: I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

Originally Posted by Maz View Post
Above and beyone the call there, thank you so much! Karma coming your way.



I don't mind at all, and please thank your missus for calling yesterday! Sorry we're a tad busy this week. Got another interview tonight, and just arranged to have the wee one in pre-school for 3 days a week instead of 2, that'll give me some breathing room!

Well, next-door neighbours have the same type of house, ie. 3-bed, 2-bath, and they went to market at 275, but are now down to 265 as there have been zero takers in the 2 months it's been on the market. Without speaking to an estate agent, we're probably going to price to sell at 250 or 255, which for the location is an absolute steal, with a natural lake (OK it's not there right now as it's dried up! ) at the back of the house, and a west-facing back garden with patio. You interested?
lol - we won't be in a position to buy for another... 12 months ish... Jackie wants something along those lines tho. Being a geek all I need is a large living room (for the TV + stereo) and a den for my geek toys.

Does the lake cause issues with mozzies?
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 3:11 pm
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Default Re: I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

Originally Posted by USBound View Post
lol - we won't be in a position to buy for another... 12 months ish... Jackie wants something along those lines tho. Being a geek all I need is a large living room (for the TV + stereo) and a den for my geek toys.

Does the lake cause issues with mozzies?
Damn shame.

We have an open plan living room / dining room so it's big. We also have a full basement... still unfinished ... that has a 9' ceiling, so that's quite the blank slate for someone to do with what they like.

Zero mozzies this year due to the winter we had! But usually there are as many as anywhere else. The lake's very shallow, so when there is water (9 months of the year), the frogs like it, and are out there 'singing' a lot of the evenings. Really quite lovely.

Last edited by Maz; Jul 30th 2007 at 3:13 pm. Reason: one sentence made no sense d'oh!
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 3:54 pm
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Default Re: I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

Originally Posted by Maz View Post
OK within the next week, we'll be putting our house on the market.

Is it 'normal' to get more than one estate agent over to talk to?

What questions do I need to ask?...

How much %age they charge?
Whether or not it's a "no sale no fee" contract?
How much notice they'll give us before showing up for an impromptu viewing?

Gosh... really not too much idea, to be honest?

What should we be able to expect them to do for us? I mean, apart from pop the house on the MLS and get us to closing?

Who takes care of dealing with our mortgage company?

Ugh... way too many questions, sorry!
The "standard" in the industry is 6% of the sale price for the seller's realtor, with 3% going to your realtor and the other 3% being passed to the buyer's realtor as commission. Above this, you will often need to pay some of the selling costs (e.g. escrow fees, title insurance, home warranties, etc).

You should be able to find a minimal service at 4% (1% +3%) whereby your realtor puts you in the MLS, hangs up a sign, negotiates on your behalf at contract time and facilitates the close of escrow -- but nothing else.

There are generally two options for realtor contracts -- an exclusive right to sell (where the realtor gets the commission even if you sell the house yourself!) and a less restricted one. It's often difficult to find anyone offering anything other than the exclusive right. Your only hope is to negotiate a fixed and short period for the right -- 90 days is normal -- in case you have a duffer. There is no fee if they it doesn't sell.

The final option is FSBO (pronounced fizz-beau) where you go grab the Idiots Guide and do it all yourself, paying nowt. Not impossible but there's a steep learning curve. Even so, you may need to decide whether you will pay the 3% commission to realtors who bring buyers to you -- your option. You will also have the normal closing fees regardless.

From what you've written, sounds like you're in a buyer's market up there so expect a hard slog. Whichever option you use, stage your house yourself by watching HGTV for a week or two and taking their advice -- clutter and personal crap out and packed up in boxes (you're moving anyway!) and furniture chosen to make the most of rooms. Do any minor maintenance and/or decorating now.

The mortgage will be taken care of by the escrow/closing entity. You'll get a check (or charge!) at close of escrow and they will file to remove the lien in your name and post a copy to you later on. Check there is no pre-payment clause in your current mortgage -- can be a nasty shock!
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 4:24 pm
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Default Re: I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

An absolute wealth of information there, thank you so much! Karma definitely coming your way.

Our next-door neighbours supposedly went with one of the best realtors in the area, but 2 months later, and no interest. The market is pretty dead, but at a certain price, it'll sell regardless.

I've already checked with our mortgage company and know how much this month's payoff quote is, so I have a good idea how much we'd get out of it after all costs. Plus there's no early payoff fee, hurray!
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 5:09 pm
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Default Re: I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

Originally Posted by Maz View Post
An absolute wealth of information there, thank you so much! Karma definitely coming your way.

Our next-door neighbours supposedly went with one of the best realtors in the area, but 2 months later, and no interest. The market is pretty dead, but at a certain price, it'll sell regardless.

I've already checked with our mortgage company and know how much this month's payoff quote is, so I have a good idea how much we'd get out of it after all costs. Plus there's no early payoff fee, hurray!
Lower the price and it'll definitely sell. Just depends how desperate you are!

So which method of selling are you thinking of using: full realtor, cheap 'm cheerful realtor or DIY?
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 5:17 pm
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Default Re: I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

I think we'll probably go the full realtor route. Desperation depends on a potential job offer in NZ that I have in the works, eeek! And how long they're willing to wait for me/us to get there. We've been decluttering for months now (scary!) and I've done those little bits of pesky touch-up paintwork. I know most people say to repaint the house in neutral colours, or just white, but we're not doing that. We have a light/medium blue in the bedroom with a dark blue accent wall (behind the bedhead), looks great. We also have a goldish-yellow great room, with oak floors, and another accent wall, this time in spanish red, behind the piano. We had an estate agent friend over for a party recently and he said to *not* repaint as the accent walls were selling points. I'd like to think so as it brings great character to the house and looks fab! (plus we paid a lot to get it done!)
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 5:29 pm
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Default Re: I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

Originally Posted by Maz View Post
I think we'll probably go the full realtor route. Desperation depends on a potential job offer in NZ that I have in the works, eeek! And how long they're willing to wait for me/us to get there. We've been decluttering for months now (scary!) and I've done those little bits of pesky touch-up paintwork. I know most people say to repaint the house in neutral colours, or just white, but we're not doing that. We have a light/medium blue in the bedroom with a dark blue accent wall (behind the bedhead), looks great. We also have a goldish-yellow great room, with oak floors, and another accent wall, this time in spanish red, behind the piano. We had an estate agent friend over for a party recently and he said to *not* repaint as the accent walls were selling points. I'd like to think so as it brings great character to the house and looks fab! (plus we paid a lot to get it done!)
So make sure the realtor earns their money. You want:

1/ Flyers to the local neighbors with open house date -- a lot of properties sell through neighbors telling family/friends. The open house will be full of the local nosy parkers -- but they'll pass on their findings to all and sundry.

2/ A lock box so other realtors showing buyers can easily access the property without anyone else being there. Tell 'em to put in the MLS that visits can be at one hour's notice between sun up and sun down. Inconvenient for you, I know, but if you want it to sell... Keep the place tidy at all times and remove all valuables from view now.

3/ Regular open houses at the weekends -- at least 2.month. Know a lot of realtors actually use these for finding buyers rather than selling your home. But even so, the more you get going through the better.

4/ Ask them about their advertising. They should be advertising for you and this should be included in the 6%.
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Old Jul 30th 2007, 6:20 pm
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Default Re: I've never sold a house before... what do I need to ask an estate agent?

Originally Posted by fatbrit View Post
So make sure the realtor earns their money. You want:

1/ Flyers to the local neighbors with open house date -- a lot of properties sell through neighbors telling family/friends. The open house will be full of the local nosy parkers -- but they'll pass on their findings to all and sundry.

2/ A lock box so other realtors showing buyers can easily access the property without anyone else being there. Tell 'em to put in the MLS that visits can be at one hour's notice between sun up and sun down. Inconvenient for you, I know, but if you want it to sell... Keep the place tidy at all times and remove all valuables from view now.

3/ Regular open houses at the weekends -- at least 2.month. Know a lot of realtors actually use these for finding buyers rather than selling your home. But even so, the more you get going through the better.

4/ Ask them about their advertising. They should be advertising for you and this should be included in the 6%.
Wonderful, thank you ever so much!
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