It’s time to move on. Whether your house’s upkeep has become too much for you, you are ready to move to a place with more support, or you just need a change of scenery, one thing is certain: You want to get the right price, with the right terms, in the right amount of time. You may think selling a house is easy, but ask yourself: How many houses did you look at before you bought the one you own at present? How many other people do you suppose went through those homes before a buyer was found? Get the picture? You may think that the first person who walks through your door will fall in love with the place, but perhaps you need some distance, and a good real estate agent.
Your home will probably be the most valuable possession you will ever sell. I takes skill, experience, and an understanding of the market. Licensed real estate professionals have the training and marketing tools to maximize your return. They also abide by a strict code of ethics.
Most professionals would advise you to look for an agent with a background of success in your area and type of property. Carefully calculate his or her level of preparedness. There are actually real estate agents who specialize in selling homes for seniors. They have earned advanced skills by completing a rigorous training program offered by the National Association of Realtors® and are known as Senior Real Estate Specialists (SRES). An agent with an SRES designation won’t cost you any more to use, but their level of knowledge can make a big difference. For more on engaging an SRES agent see the next page.
How to Find a Senior Real Estate Specialist
Fewer than 2% of Talbot County Realtors have earned a SRES designation. While more are making the effort to better serve our Seniors by gaining this knowledge, the supply remains limited. For up-to-date information on Senior Real Estate Specialists serving Talbot County feel free to call the Senior Services SourceBook at 410-443-2369.
It has been said that there is a buyer for every home. But if you don’t have the experience and resources to properly position your house for the sale, that buyer can be elusive. That is why many prospective sellers work with real estate companies, to become part of the real estate community buyer pool.
One of the first things an agent will do is help you price your home effectively. Sometimes Sellers mistakenly believe that they should price their house higher knowing that they can come down in price if it doesn’t sell. But this practice can backfire on the seller. Buyers usually shop around before buying; they often recognize value in a specific price range because of this comparison shopping.
Using the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a real estate agent will conduct a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). This involves a survey of homes that are on the market, or have recently sold, that are similar to yours. The agent will then advise you on the additional value (or deficit) of your home’s unique features, and factor that into the equation. Depending upon how anxious you are to sell (and how rapidly you need to close), they can suggest a slower strategy that may fetch top dollar, or a barn-burner that is designed to sell immediately.
Once the Listing Agreement is signed, your agent will develop a comprehensive marketing plan. But first he or she will tour your home and suggest ways to make it show better (for tips, read “Making Your Home Look Its Very Best,” page 99).
Your agent will put your home in the MLS so that other agents can become aware of the property and may bring prospective buyers to view it. Ask an agent to prepare “cooperative agent showing instructions” and highlight and fact sheets. These will help colleagues to communicate the unique characteristics of your home.
Agents also will network between offices, perhaps conduct open houses, and suggest ways to stimulate activity. Advertising is of vital importance.
Your agent also may recommend incentive programs, such as assistance with the down payment or closing costs, that motivate buyers. In addition, seller’s inspections and home warranties may give the buyer the confidence to offer more, or agree to a fast settlement.
Your agent will help you screen buyers. He or she is trained to recognize a high level of interest, and can probe to find out if prospects can afford the house, whether they can meet your contingencies, or have any of their own. This can save you a lot of exasperation.
Ideally, your agent will be your intermediary with buyers, and will convey your response to any offer (he or she must submit all). This may help to avoid unpleasantries. When you accept an offer, your agent will stay with you through the close and settlement to make sure the documents are in order. He or she can help the buyer locate professional services, as well.
Finding the Best Realtor to Sell Your Home
Selling a home that you have lived in for years is an emotional experience and has financial implications and elements, such as downsizing, that make this process different from that faced by most home sellers. Because your needs are different, and because, frankly, you are not as active as you once were, it can make a world of difference to use a real estate agent who has expertise in this field.
The National Association of Realtors® has recognized the need for senior specialists by creating an advanced training program for real estate agents who focus on serving Seniors and selling their homes. Graduates of this program earn the designation of Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) and they have the tools to help you navigate the process without charging you more. Think of a SRES designation as a Master’s Degree in Senior Real Estate Services.
Just as you would go to a dentist for a toothache rather than the family doctor, selling your long-time home is best handled by a specialist.
In addition to providing the services you would normally require, a Senior Real Estate Specialist will be able to help you with the following:
- Finding 55+ buyers who may have a special affinity for your home – this is the market SRES specialists serve;
- Assembling a team of experts who serve 55+ clients and customers;
- Working with Downsizing Specialists to sort through
a lifetime of possessions;
- Consulting with Move Managers to facilitate the transition;
- Helping you find an age-appropriate residence, whether locally or far away.
- Sharing their experience and knowledge of the emotional, mental and physical stresses this move involves.
The Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation is indicative of a higher and more senior-focused level of training, which most Talbot County real estate agents have not earned. Having an SRES agent on your team can make a real difference as you consider what, in all probability, will be your largest undertaking in years.