The Arizona Real Estate Market:
6 Questions to Ask a Realtor When Selling Your Home
For most of us, our home is the single biggest investment of our lives. It’s the place we raise our kids and celebrate the most memorable occasions. The money we pay into it, and the value it builds over time is often critical to our long term financial security. That’s why when the time comes to sell your home you need a trusted expert.
We get it, everyone has a relative or a friend in real estate. This can be a huge help as trust is a key ingredient when hiring a Realtor. However, a relationship isn’t enough when you are dealing with this kind of financial decision and what if things go wrong?
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Questions to ask when selling my home?
No matter who you choose to guide you through this journey, consider asking these 6 questions before you begin. This will ensure you have the right person for the job and will provide you cover to protect your “relationship” if you don’t.
1. How long have you been an agent in this area?
Real estate requires a vast body of local experience. Home prices can fluctuate by literally hundreds of thousands of dollars within a few blocks. A home with unique features can bring far more money than its local counterparts if those features are really hard to find. An Agent who has been around the industry in general and your area in specific will be able to help you maximize your sales price.
A local Pro is familiar with the demographic that is moving into your area and the type of buyer that will be interested in your home. This allows them to customize a marketing strategy specifically to the most likely buyer pool.
Local experts have a team of contractors, title companies, lenders, signage companies, and marketing firms that will solve any problem you face in a timeframe that ensures your success. In real estate, time is of the essence. Hiring a local pro gives you the ability to adapt and overcome obstacles that could otherwise jeopardize your transaction.
2. How many homes do you sell a year in this area?
It is important to gauge the size of a firm as well as learn if your agent works closely in the neighborhood you are selling your home in. The size of an agency is important because the agent will have a stronger network of partners, more legal and technical support from their brokerage, as well as overall marketing resources allotted to them.
In terms of knowing the neighborhood, familiarity will help them gauge the overall market accurately while emphasizing certain strengths of the location to prospective buyers. Similarly, there are aspects of a home that will be more valuable in certain neighborhoods than others. For example, in a hot climate, a pool can bring a premium. In rural areas, large out buildings for parking RV’s and equipment can bring all the money. In the downtown corridors, access to light rail and entertainment venues could push values unexpectedly high.
3. What type of marketing does your firm do?
Information overload requires creativity to garner attention. We live in an area of unprecedented information flow. To sell your home fast you need to stand out from the noise. Ultimately, the marketing for selling your house is a combination of time, resources, and creativity. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but we have found larger real estate firms to be better at all elements of marketing for home sales.
Large firms provide their agents with additional resources rather than simply relying on the MLS. They often employ experts in social media and have access to video production crews. In addition, they will have a large network of other agents who will work together to market your home.
Choose an agent who represents a trusted brand. Selling your home is about exposure. Ask about the monthly web visits their brokerage site receives. Visit their social media pages to see their reach. You are looking for a pro who has the best of both worlds. You want a local expert with a global reach.
4. Can you recommend other professionals to assist us?
Selling a home requires a team. You never really think about the variety of professionals needed to successfully perform a real estate transaction until you are in the middle of one. You need an Agent who has a professional network of lenders, appraisers, real estate attorneys, contractors, Escrow Officers, photographers, and marketers. They will likely have personal relationships with these people, as their experience in the field predicates knowing how to get the most reliable service at the right price.
Estimating repair costs and understanding return on investment is critical. When selling a home it is inevitable that you will need to perform repairs. But what kind of budget will you need? Will the repair provide a return on your investment or at least help the property sell faster? Is the work being done by qualified personnel who stand by their quality? This is the job of your Agent. Ask them if they are qualified to do their job?
5. Will you explain all the paperwork and filings?
An expert Agent doesn’t just explain the documents they are signing. They prepare you for what is coming next at each step of the process. You will be issued a settlement statement showing how much money you’ll receive when the transaction closes in the final few days of the transaction. But, your Agent should have already prepared you for what that statement would show far in advance.
The Agent’s job is to prepare you for what’s to come. The same can be said of all the documents you will encounter. Whether it’s the listing agreement, sales contract, disclosure documents, HOA documents, appraisal, homeowners insurance records, well and water agreements, title insurance policies, or settlement statements, you should know in advance what is coming your way.
6. What will all my costs be for selling my home?
Nobody likes surprises. Discuss in advance what all of the costs will be to sell your home. The bottom line (literally) is that you are trying to maximize your return on this critical investment. You should have a clear understanding of everything you will be pay. Also ask about how competitive these rates are in the market.
What are the selling costs? Selling costs are those costs attributable to preparing the property for sale, the marketing of the property, the customer acquisition, contract negotiations and drafting, managing buyer requested repairs etc. These are the areas that the Agent is typically responsible for and many of them are included in the commission you agree to pay them. Go through any costs that are variable on their end and what these rates are based on.
What are the Escrow Fees? These are fees associated with the legal transfer of the title from you to the buyer. They include documentation fees, notary fees, title insurance, escrow fees, currier fees, and property taxes due at the time of closing. Your Agent should help you budget these fees well in advance of listing the property and can help you with closing costs in Arizona.
And to recap – questions to ask when selling your home:
- How long have you been an agent in this area?
- How many homes do you sell a year in this area?
- What type of marketing does your firm do?
- Can you recommend other professionals to assist us?
- Will you explain all the paperwork and filings?
- What will all my costs be for selling my home?
Century 21 Northwest is the Home of Trusted Local Agents
At Century 21, we encourage all of our potential clients to interview our agents before working with them. We understand that having a personal relationship with an agent you trust is integral to a stress-free home selling process.
We also have been one of the largest and most successful agencies in Arizona for decades now, and our team has the track record to back it up. If you are interested in having a conversation about how to get started with one of our agents, reach out today – there’s never been a better time to take action.