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For sellers

3 questions to ask your real estate agent when listing your home for sale


By the time you’ve chosen a real estate agent, you’ve hopefully asked them dozens of questions about their track record, their local knowledge, how they plan to market your home and—very importantly—how they plan to keep you in the loop throughout the upcoming sales process. Those questions all have to do with what your real estate agent will do for you. The next three questions are all about what you can do to help your agent make the sale.

1. Is my asking price right?

When you look at your home, you may see years of wonderful memories you’ve made there, as well as all the time and money you’ve spent maintaining and improving it. How can that history not color your opinion of your home’s worth?

A good real estate agent won’t have that problem. He or she can provide an unbiased assessment of your property’s value, based on comparable homes and recent market trends in your locale. Only you can decide whether your agent’s suggested price will meet your family’s needs and goals, but if time is a factor, you may want to keep an open mind. A realistic asking price could be the difference between a reasonably quick sale at a price point you feel ok about versus one that drags on for months—and may end in price reductions anyway.

2. What work do I need to do on the house before we put it on the market?

Sometimes small changes like a fresh coat of paint, driveway repairs or decluttering with an eye toward home staging can make a home easier to sell. Ask your agent for honest advice about your home’s strengths and weaknesses. If they recommend larger projects than you’re willing to tackle—like replacing the roof or updating the plumbing—discuss how that will affect the property’s marketability, including your asking price and expected time on the market. You may find that extra work is worth the investment, or it isn’t.

3. What feedback are you getting from potential buyers?

Once the home showings start, your agent will start hearing what potential buyers have to say about your property. Everyone’s tastes are different, but if you start to hear a pattern of objections from otherwise qualified buyers, you may want to act on it.

“Dark” = Need more effective lighting or a lighter color palette?
“Cramped” = Time to put some furniture in storage?
“Dated” = Does your carpet, wallpaper or cabinet hardware need to go?
“Not my style” = More neutrals or fewer knickknacks needed?

Ask your agent to keep you in the loop and try not to take criticisms personally. Remember your goal is to sell your house, not your own personal tastes and style.

Looking for more home-selling tips? Check out these resources:

Home Staging Tips: How the 5 Senses Help You Sell
3 Ways to Keep Your Home Realtor® Ready
Kick up the Curb Appeal: 5 Ways to Give Your Home a Great First Impression
Real Estate Photography Tips