Q: What does a real estate agent do for the seller?

A: Through his or her MLS contacts, the agent can expose the property to a great number of potential buyers. Many Brokers are tied to national relocation networks that attract transferees. They often are the most motivated buyers. The agent helps a buyer set the price by doing a market analysis, taking a survey of the house and property, and looking at recent comparable sales in the area. The agent will likely advise the seller to hire an appraiser and recommend a list of competent appraisers. The agent provides an eye-appealing yard sign, a description of the property, which includes lot size and tax information, plus an information sheet on the house including photograph. He also determines whether the property conforms to local codes, and helps the seller determine what steps to take to get the house ready to sell. The agent can provide a contract for a home warranty plan, and acts as a liaison between buyer, seller and the home Warranty Company. In the final phases of the sale, the agent oversees home inspection schedules, and keeps the seller informed on the buyers progress of the financing process.

Q: Why do people try to sell on their own?
A: Independence, spawned by fear a broker will pressure them. Or they feel they can successfully market the house and save the broker’s commission. According to nationally syndicated real estate columnist Edith Lank, fewer than 1 in 10 homes nationwide sells without a broker.

Q: How do you find a good real estate agent?
A: Look for a person compatible to your own personality, someone with training, experience, enthusiasm and a professional demeanor, someone referred by friends who have sold a home recently or an agent who specializes in your area or town.

Q: How much should I do to the house to get it ready for sale?
A: Give it good curb appeal by tidying up the lawn and planting flowers. Touch up exterior paint. Make sure the inside is spotless and uncluttered. Ask a friend or relative to store the excess from closets, attic, and basement. Repair small items such as silent doorbells, sticky doors, and drippy faucets. If major items such as the roof, carpeting or basement walls need substantial and costly repairs, get written estimates and have these available for buyers to read. Bargain accordingly.

Q: What’s the best way to negotiate?
A: If an offer meets your financial expectations and timing requirements, accept it. If the price is right but other details are wrong, counter the offer and keep the lines of communication open.