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Be sure to check all of these items off your list before moving forward.

Key points

  • The right real estate agent could make the process of selling a home more lucrative and less stressful.
  • It is important to ask the right questions before committing to a contract.
  • Knowing an agent’s fees, time commitment, and marketing tactics are all important up front.

Selling a home can be a stressful process. Not only do you have to deal with an influx of potential buyers, but if you’re selling and buying simultaneously, you’ll have to spend time looking for homes and applying for a mortgage.

Fortunately, however, you don’t have to go through the process alone. That’s what real estate agents are for. But if you’re going to hire one, it’s important to find the best person for the job. Here are four questions you should ask a real estate agent before signing a contract.

1. What fees do you charge?

Real estate agents don’t work for free and don’t tend to charge random fees. Rather, their fees are usually calculated as a percentage of the selling price of your home.

Usually, you will pay between 5% and 6% to use the services of a real estate agent. But there’s a big difference between 5% and 6%, so find out what fees you’re considering and if there’s a margin for negotiation.

2. How long do you have to sell my house?

The last thing you want is to end up with a real estate agent who doesn’t put much effort into selling your home, leaving it on the market for months. Instead, ask your real estate agent what kind of timeframe you should commit to.

Your agent might insist on a minimum of three months to get your home off the market. This is generally a reasonable time. But in today’s seller-centric market, you might not want to accept a six-month contract.

3. What will you do to market and sell my home?

Real estate agents have different tools they can use to attract potential buyers and get a good price for your home. It’s important to find out more about the approach your real estate agent intends to take before hiring them.

Will your agent stage your home? Is your agent good at photography so they can create an engaging listing and virtual tour? And does your agent know the local market very well in order to set the right price for your house? Get all of this information before you commit.

4. Are you easily reachable?

When you’re selling a home, you want the ability to easily contact your real estate agent, so ask about their schedule. Your agent may usually be out in the evening to show homes, but be very available in the mornings and afternoons. It’s important to know what to expect so you don’t get frustrated.

At the same time, make sure your agent’s preferred method of communication matches yours. If you’re the type who likes live phone calls, you might not appreciate working with a real estate agent who prefers to communicate via text 95% of the time.

A real estate agent could help you sell your home quickly and at a price that’s right for you. Just be sure to ask all the right questions before entering into this arrangement.

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