When you’re about to put your home on the market, opting to for the “for sale by owner” or FSBO route might be tempting. Perhaps you don’t think hiring an agent is worth the cost, or maybe you’re just confident in your ability to get the job done without needing assistance.
It’s understandable. After all, many people have succeeded in selling their homes on their own, and there are a lot of videos, articles, step-by-step guides, and other resources online that can show you exactly how you can do the same. You should be fine. Right?
The truth, however, is that trying to sell a home on your own can often turn out to be a very stressful and time-consuming process, especially for inexperienced sellers. You may even end up spending more money than if you decided to work with a real estate professional in the first place.
It’s because there are a lot of different factors that goes into selling a home which you might not be aware of. Real estate agents are experienced when it comes to dealing with the various facets of the home selling process, and do way more than simply bring in prospective buyers and assist in signing the necessary documents. They are skilled and knowledgeable professionals who know all the ins and outs of the real estate transaction.
In case you’re trying to list your home in the Billings, MT real estate market, putting all available options on the table to ensure a successful sale – including working with a real estate agent – is always a smart move.
In this article, we’ll give you a closer look at the key benefits you can get when you hire a real estate agent to help you sell your home. We’ll give you a few helpful tips as well on how to find the right seller’s agent to help you achieve your goals.
Benefits of working with an agent when selling a home
Experience and expertise
Many first-time sellers who opt to sell a home on their own are often taken aback by how complicated the home selling process is than it seems. The showings, appraisal and inspection process, endless negotiating, reviewing contracts, mountains of paperwork, and much, much more can all make the transaction a handful to deal with. With a real estate agent at your side, you essentially have a guide who will be there to help you navigate the whole process, from start to closing.
Selling a home can become an emotional process for some people. Working with an agent helps you stay one step removed from the transaction, so you’re less likely to commit crucial mistakes such as overpricing your home, declining a low but reasonable offer just because you’re offended, or giving in to negotiations easily once you’re past your selling deadline.
In addition, a real estate agent will be able to follow up with prospective buyers without coming off as eager or desperate – it’s their job, after all. When you’re trying to sell your home by yourself, repeatedly checking with buyers might be interpreted as a willingness to accept a lower price, putting you at a disadvantage during negotiations.
Opting not to work with an agent also means you’ll have no choice but to deal with rejection each time a potential buyer decides to move on to other options. Hearing negative comments from buyers and their agents can be upsetting for homeowners, especially when the house has become more than just a simple piece of property for them. Although there’s no way to completely get rid of the emotional attachment you have with your home, it’ll be easier to take constructive criticism from an agent who you know is there to get you the best results possible.
Objectively identifying your home’s flaws
Agents know what makes homes sell. They’ll provide detailed information on key changes that will make your home attract more buyers and get top dollar offers. They’ll be able to point out flaws in your home which you might have overlooked, due to the fact that you either see them every day or you don’t consider them as flaws, or both. An agent will also know which feedback from prospective buyers to take seriously once your home’s listed on the market in order to improve its chances of selling.
Someone to handle the heavy lifting
Putting a property on the market is basically a full-time job. It involves fielding calls from prospective buyers, figuring out a strategic marketing plan, hosting property tours, and a lot of other little things leading up to a completed transaction. Chances are, you already have other stuff on your plate (including going through your own house hunt or relocation), so dealing with everything involved with a home sale can get pretty overwhelming, to say the least.
A real estate agent will be there to handle all of these exact things for you. They won’t be too busy to respond to interested buyers, create a marketing and advertising plan for your home, accompany potential buyers who want to see your home in person, and so on. In short, they’ll cover everything else that could otherwise be tedious and stressful for you to deal with on your own.
Filtering out unqualified buyers
Real estate agents are able to tell whether someone viewing your home is a qualified buyer or a just curious passerby. Remember that it takes a lot of work to make your home presentable each time you want to showcase it to prospective buyers. The goal is to limit those to only showings that have an excellent chance of resulting in a sale, which is something your agent will be able to do for you.
A real estate agent will know all of the right questions to ask in order to gauge each prospect’s motivations and qualifications. They’ll ask key closing questions as well, such as how long a buyer has been searching for a home, whether they’re already considering other options, if they’re prequalified, and so on. Real estate agents are trained to seek out the qualified and motivated buyers, and then bring them to the point of purchase.
Real estate agents will help you understand contracts
At one point, selling a home on your own wasn’t as challenging compared to today, simply because there wasn’t as much paperwork involved and closings were pretty straightforward. Nowadays however, closing paperwork is more complex, especially with state and federal regulations involved, which can make closings overwhelming for the inexperienced.
An agent will be at your side during the closing, and will look out for your best interests. They’ll be especially helpful in case anything unexpected pops up right before someone is ready to sign on the dotted line, which can often turn out to be deal breakers.
Real estate agents know all about contracts and the closing process. They’ll provide information on anything that needs to be disclosed, and know exactly what to do in case something comes up as you’re signing paperwork. Having an agent guide you as you’re going through closing contract signing situations will pave the way towards a successful sale.
Expert pricing advice
As a homeowner, pricing your home can also be something that’s difficult to separate emotions from. It’s mainly because you might be aware of all the time and effort involved when preparing your home for sale, as well as all of the work you’ve put in during the years you’ve spent living in the home. Suffice to say, it’s hard to simply forget about all of that when you’re trying to decide on a reasonable yet competitive price.
Agents are able to provide expert pricing advice because they know the market, the neighborhoods, and the prices of comparable homes. They take into account all of these factors to help you set an ideal price for your home. While the seller ultimately makes the final decision when it comes to pricing, the knowledge and experience provided by an agent is invaluable when it comes to setting a competitive price.
Once you’ve had a discussion with your agent regarding the price range you have in mind, they will provide information on what other comparable homes in your area are selling for. In case the price you’re planning to set is way off, the agent will then discuss other options for you, so you come up with the right price together as a team.
Billings, MT real estate market update
Whether they’re buying or selling, those currently looking to enter the Billings, MT real estate market may discover low inventory, homes quickly locked under contracts, and increasing prices. During the past several months, Montana has turned into a sought-after home buying destination for people from other states.
Although there’s no way to tell how long the housing boom will last, it’s definitely a signal for consumers to act as soon as possible. A large part of what makes Montana such a desirable place to live is its relaxed atmosphere and Western charm. Many people see it as a place where they can enjoy a lifestyle that isn’t as affected by congestion, air quality, and social interaction compared to other places in the US. Those looking forward to a laidback lifestyle will surely be able to find it in Montana.
This is what’s causing the low inventory in recent months. Billings, MT had eight months of inventory in 2020, but during the first several weeks of 2021, Billings only had a month of available listings. There’s an increasing number of buyers entering the market, and there isn’t enough available housing to accommodate the large volume.
In fact, most of those who are unable to purchase a home are looking to build instead. Although the market is booming however, there are some problems when it comes to the supply and demand of building materials, not just in Montana, but across the US. While the demand of lumber is increasing, supply is unable to keep pace due to transportation and workforce backlogs caused by the pandemic. The supply and demand issues of building materials has caused skyrocketing prices for new homes.
How to find the right seller’s agent
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a home seller is to choose an agent simply based on the highest list price possible for your home and the lowest commission rate available.
It sounds like a smart strategy at first when you’re trying to sell a home. Of course, you want to get the best possible price from a sale while paying the lowest commission. But the truth is, these two factors are irrelevant if you want to hire a reliable agent who’ll help you get the job done.
There are a lot of listing agents to choose from, so it can be difficult to identify who you can trust. In this section, we offer some helpful tips on how you can find the right agent to help you sell your home.
Interview at least three candidates
Meet with at least three listing agents (in person, if possible) so you can get a good feel of their personality, the way they present themselves, how they communicate, and how they’ll be able to help you achieve your goals.
Search for reviews online to see what previous clients have to say about their experience working with the agent. One or two bad reviews are acceptable, but any more than that could be a cause for concern.
You might be able to get good leads from family, friends, or coworkers, but remember that not everyone who recommends a particular agent has actually experienced working with that agent. That said, keep an open mind, but don’t rely too heavily on referrals, as they don’t accurately represent an agent’s communication style, working relationship with clients, and overall quality of work.
Look into their experience
You can verify whether a listing agent is properly licensed by looking for your state’s online real estate licensing database and typing in their name. You can also check the agent’s website to view previous listings, see the neighborhoods and communities they specialize in, and whether they’ve sold similar homes in the past.
Ask key questions
Prepare a list of questions before you meet with a potential listing agent. Your goal is to determine whether a candidate is qualified, and has the experience and skills necessary not only to put your home on the market, but to help it attract the highest offers as soon as possible.
Here are a few examples of questions to ask an agent:
- What do you specialize in? – If you’re trying to sell a luxury home in an exclusive gated neighborhood for example, hiring an agent who specializes in first-time home buyers is probably not a good idea. It doesn’t mean that the agent won’t be able to handle the job of course, but you want to work with someone who’ll be able to get the best results.
- How much do you think my home is worth? – In a typical listing presentation, agents will request a walkthrough of your property so they can gather information on it. This will help them determine a reasonable asking price that’s in line with both your goals and current market conditions. While you may already have an idea about pricing, an agent might disagree for some reason, so find out why.
- Can you provide any references? – Ask a prospective agent for information on homes which they’ve successfully sold in the past year or so, including contact details of clients they’ve worked with before. Try to get in touch with these clients to inquire about their experience working with agents, and if there’s anything they liked or disliked about the service offered. Ask them whether they’re open to working with that same agent again in their next real estate transaction.
- What are some of the comparable homes in my area? – Comparables, or “comps” are an important factor in determining a home’s value and asking price. Find out whether the agent will be able to provide you with an in-depth comparative market analysis that shows current available listings and properties sold within the last several months that are similar to yours in terms of size and features.
- How do you plan to market my home? – Experienced and skilled real estate agents will have a strategic marketing plan prepared to help generate more interest in your listing and attract the attention of buyers. Listing agents have various tools and platforms that go into their marketing plans such as open house tours, broker tours, professional photography, virtual tours, and so on.
Work with top Billings, MT Realtor Tana Lee today
If you’re planning to list your home in the Billings, MT real estate market, I’m ready to take full advantage of the opportunity to help you navigate the home selling process.
I was born and raised right here in Billings – nothing gives me more satisfaction than helping others discover what makes our town such a special place to live in!