Whether you’re buying or selling a home, it makes sense to hire a real estate agent to help. However, many people are not fully aware of what the agent’s market knowledge or what goes on behind the scenes, so sometimes they inadvertently begin working against their agent, making their job more difficult. Here are 5 things your real estate agent wishes you knew.
1. Pricing matters. So does length of time on the market.
The longer a house is on the market, the less likely it is the seller will get the market value for it. If you’re selling a house, it is important to heed your agent’s guidance when deciding on a list price because they are pricing it to sell. Likewise, if you’re buying a house, it pays to find out how long the house has been up for sale. If it has been longer than a few months, your agent may be able to negotiate a lower price.
2. Cleanliness matters (including smells.)
Your agent is looking at your house from the perspective of an interested buyer. What may look “lived in” to you will look “messy” to a visitor. Also, your nose has likely become accustomed to the combined smell of last night’s dinner and the cat box, but prospective buyers will notice the smell immediately — and bad odors are an instant turnoff. Your agent may or may not be too polite to tell you, but don’t make your agent ask. Take the time to make sure your home is clean and uncluttered, and be generous with the steam cleaning and deodorizers.
3. Big purchases and loans can affect your closing.
That pre-approval letter you received is not a guarantee of a loan. It is contingent on whether your finances and credit score remain relatively stable during the buying process. If you make an impulsive decision to apply for three credit cards or buy a car, you could erase all the work your agent has done to help you find the perfect home. Save those bigger purchases until after you take ownership of the home.
4. Patience is a virtue.
Your real estate agent can help you list and stage your home to sell — or if you’re buying, he can help you make an offer that is likely to be accepted — but beyond those variables, the agent has pretty much zero control of what is actually going to happen. Nothing is definite until everyone signs the paperwork at closing. Be patient with your agent through the process. If a deal falls through and you have to start over, roll with the punches, and don’t blame the agent. Remember, your agent has a lot riding on this sale, too!
5. Your agent isn’t getting rich off this deal.
Commission rates on home sales are not set in stone, but they are fairly standard. Even if you are selling or buying an expensive home, you need to remember that your agent is an independent contractor with expenses of their own. Your agent will have to to split the commission with the other party’s agent, cover their travel costs, time spent doing research and negotiating deals. Don’t begrudge your agent their commission. Not only are they earning it, but you’re more likely to walk away with a better deal because of their involvement.