30 Secrets Your Real Estate Agent Isn’t Telling You
From throwing an open house to listing your home at the right price, these real estate secrets can help you sell your home faster in any market.
Empty houses can look smaller
“I recently went to list a home and the seller had gotten rid of his furniture in advance since he figured he was going to move,” shares real estate agent, Alyson Silverman. “If he had called me a week prior, I would have told him to keep the furniture as most buyers cannot mentally visualize where the couch or table would go. Vacant homes do not sell as fast.” But it does help to arrange your furniture in the right way.
Clear the counters
“If you’re selling your home and don’t feel confident in your kitchen’s counter space, be sure to tidy it as much as possible for showings,” writes Lucas Real Estate Blog. “Remove all unnecessary appliances and decorations to show off as much as possible the counter you do have.” Selling your house or not, these are the 10 things that don’t belong on your kitchen counters.
Don’t trust realty websites to price your home
“A big problem with Zillow’s database is that it is based off comparable sales,” writes Sam Dogen of Financial Samurai. “Feel free to pull up estimates around the entire neighborhood to educate yourself, but if you have only one or two sales in the past six months to a year, they are hardly reliable.” Here’s the best day of the year to sell your home.
Ask about my history
In order to impress you, an agent might inflate the number of transactions they have done recently. You can easily research an agent and their experience through an online search or a search on a realty website. “Checking your realtor’s current license status is a must too,” says Snezhana Conway, an agent for Keller Williams Capital Properties.
Watch out for my references
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Find out what other buyers and sellers think about an agent before hiring them. “Asking for the last three transactions’ references is a smart idea,” adds Conway. “Not just the best references but the last three transactions’ references.” Don’t miss the top 13 things every homeowner should know.
I can’t tell you about the local crime rate
“The key for consumers is to know that agents can’t tell you some things—legally,” says Pierre Calzadilla, a former licensed New York City real estate agent. “They can’t tell you if a neighborhood is safe or not, or if a school is good or not, as this was historically a way of red-lining or steering.” However, you can search for school ratings and check a crime map at CrimeReports.com.
And I might not tell you if someone passed away in the home
“Since most states don’t demand agents to disclose that information, it isn’t disclosed,” says Jaquetta Ragland, agent and owner of the website Young and Finance. “However, if the client asks, the agent must tell the truth.”
The commission is always negotiable upfront before you sign a contract
Until you sign a contract, all commissions on the seller’s side are negotiable. “There is a myth that the listing commission for listing a home is 6 percent and that has become custom in most markets, but this is not true,” says Kukwa. “Always try to negotiate the commission based on the services offered by the agent/broker in order to compare what one offers over the other.”
I am being paid more than you think
“I think by far the number one thing a buyer’s agent doesn’t tell their client is how much they’re being paid,” James McGrath, licensed real estate broker and co-founder of the NYC real estate brokerage, Yoreevo. “Commissions vary on each property, so if I was a buyer and a few properties are on the table, I’d want to know the commission on each. If a buyer is is on the fence and one property is offering 3 percent and another 2 percent, you can guess which the agent would prefer you buy.”
I might also be getting a kickback
“Every house listed on the multiple listing service (MLS) has a place to put confidential agent comments and what the buyer’s agent will receive in commission,” says Robert Taylor, The Real Estate Solutions Guy. While meant for alarm or gate codes, it can sometimes be used to offer more incentives. Taylor says, “If a house is difficult to sell, for example, the commission may be more. In addition, this section may also include an additional bonus to an agent if they bring the seller a full price offer and close by a certain date.”