Ask the Right Questions When Selling a Home

Before you put your home up for sale, before you set a listing price, before you even choose an agent, do your research and ask the vital questions every seller needs to consider before the home-selling process begins. This process can quickly become complicated, but if you enter into selling a home with solid information and know which questions to ask and when, the entire experience will move along much better.

How to Choose an Agent

Choosing the right real estate agent is an extremely important step. This person will navigate you through pricing, marketing your home, staging, open houses and the sale itself. Even though you may feel most comfortable with recommendations from friends, consider whether those friends live in the same area and market. Take the step to interview a few agents and ask them these questions:

1. Do they have a specialty or niche market?

2. How do they plan to market your home?

3. How many homes they have sold in your area in the past year?

4. Does the agent have an established network?

5. What is expected from you throughout the process?

Pay special attention to whether or not a real estate agent has a specialty market or niche. This agent will lead you through negotiations, and in specific cases, such as a divorce or buying a second home, an agent with experience in those areas will be very useful.

How to Set a Listing Price

Once you have chosen an agent it’s time to set a listing price. Your agent should use a comparative market analysis (CMA) in order to properly price the home. They have access to extensive resources in order to compare similar homes in the area.

In the process of choosing an agent, always ask the agent what he thinks the price of your home should be. If the agent is quoting the home way over its actual value, he may just be trying to gain you as a client instead of staying true to the real value. It may be difficult, but stay realistic with pricing. Fluctuations in the market along with changing home values in the area can affect what time of year or when you sell your home.

How to Make a Strategy

Unless you are in a market in which homes are flying off the shelves at asking price, you will need to implement a strategy for selling your home. Agents should be able to provide a specific plan of action including marketing, preparing your home, and planning for events or open houses. In any market where high cost products are sold, a marketing strategy can make all the difference. Consider these questions:

1. How are they going to create a unique image for your home?

2. How are they going to implement a marketing strategy?

3. What have other homes in the area done in order to draw positive attention?

4. How will the agent network in order to sell this home?

To Stage or Not to Stage?

This question ultimately comes down to whether or not you are currently living in the house. If you have already moved out, then bringing in staging décor is suggested. An empty house does not always make it easier for buyers to imagine their own furniture in the space. It is often better to furnish the home in order for the potential buyer to generate ideas for the space. If you are living in the home, minimize personal belongings, clutter and unnecessary furniture as much as possible.

Never underestimate the power of a clean countertop, organized closet space or a room with well-defined areas. If you give each room a clear purpose, a potential buyer has more time to focus on other features and less on worrying about whether or not they know what to do with a room.

Up With the Upgrades

Let’s talk upgrades. In the end, this is completely dependent upon individual upgrades’ costs and whether or not your timeline allows for such changes and updates to take place. Different budgets will accommodate different upgrades, but in general, fixing up the eyesores of your home will only help in the long run and add value to your final listing price. If something absolutely needs to be fixed in order to make the home safe, then do so, or expect to lower the price in order to accommodate that problem for the future buyer.

Simple fixes such as neutral paint colors are an easy way to help buyers imagine themselves in the home. Consult your real estate agent before making updates such as flooring and countertops since there may be materials more favorable in certain areas. If your budget allows, having a showcase room such as a kitchen or a stunning master en suite is helpful because it will make your home stand out.

When selling a home, the key is to ask the important questions first and choose a real estate agent who is educated in your area and niche. Once you find the right agent, the other questions and answers will fall into place as you move through the process of selling your home.

This guest post was written by Laurel Starks.


Susan Z - January 6, 2014 at 11:22 pm

It can’t be overstated how important setting the price on the original listing is. An overpriced house is not only going to take longer to sell, but it’s going to generate less interest both in the short and longterm and will end up selling for a lower price on average.

Jerry Cockrell - January 6, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Communication between all the parties in a transaction is up most important for a successful less traumatic transition.

Michael - January 8, 2014 at 11:47 am

Jerry, you’re absolutely right my friend.

So many issues can be avoided through simple, honest and effective communication.