Boston Real Estate for Sale

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Forgotten questions sellers should ask a downtown Boston condo broker before listing a property

Are you thinking of selling your downtown Boston condo this year? Whether you were recommended to a Boston real estate agent by a friend or you found the Realtor online via Google Reviews, the next best step is to interview the agent at your home. Yes, you could interview the Realtor online or on the phone, but we recommend the first step (as long as everyone is comfortable) is to schedule an appointment at the home you are considering selling. This will help you gauge the Realtor’s reaction to your property and help you know if the agent is a good fit for your home sale.

1. What are the Exact Terms of your Cancellation Policy?

Okay, I know that sounds like a strange place to start, but it will tell you a lot about the Realtor you’re talking to. The Realtor’s response can be tricky too, so let me help you with that.

Realtor: Oh, you can cancel anytime, we don’t hold anyone’s feet to the fire.
Seller: But what is the term of your contract, how long does it go for?
Realtor: We have 90-day contracts.
Seller: So what happens if I cancel on day 5, can I sell it with another Realty company or by myself on day 6?
Realtor: No it doesn’t work like that, you can cancel, but then you have to wait until the contract expires before you can sell it by yourself or with a different Realty company.
Seller: Oh, so I can’t really cancel anytime then can I?

Realtor: Oh, you can cancel anytime, we don’t hold anyone’s feet to the fire.
Seller: Is there any fee if we do cancel?
Realtor: Yes, it is customary for you to pay for our expenses if you cancel, we spend a lot to hire professional photos, order the yard sign, print material, etc.
Seller: No, actually that isn’t customary in the industry.

Realtor: Oh, you can cancel anytime, we don’t hold anyone’s feet to the fire.
Seller: What happens if a buyer who visited the home when you listed it for us, comes back after our contract with you is cancelled and makes an offer later on?
Realtor: Well, in that case, we’d be due our commission, up to 120 days after the initial term of our contract expires.
Seller: Oh, so then it really isn’t a cancel anytime policy, is it?

As you can see from the above example, not all cancel anytime policies in the Boston real estate industry are equal. In fact, what you’re reading above is common (not standard) practice.

Ford Realty Policy

If a seller cancels with us they can list the home with another Realty company 24 hours later or sell it by the owner if they want. There is only one exception to our cancelation policy, if our seller’s home is current pending (they accepted an offer) from a buyer, then the seller can’t unilaterally cancel, it is a multi-party contract at that point and the seller has to follow the rules of the signed home purchase contract. However, if that deal with the buyer falls apart, then we go right back to our cancel anytime, no charge policy with that client.

What are my total Sellers Closing Costs, what is my Net?

Any professional Realtor should be able to calculate a net for you on the spot, at the appointment, based on the sales price. Sellers closings costs are not as simple as they might first appear. It depends on what state you live in for sure, but it also typically depends on what county and sometimes what city you live in. There is nothing worse for a home seller than to get an offer at your desired sales price and then find out right before you’re about to close on the sale, that you’re getting less money than anticipated. This is also a way to start up the real estate commission question, which we’ll get to next.

 What do you charge in commission? Does your commission rate change for any reason?

All real estate commissions are negotiable and there is no set standard. That’s good for the industry, but it also means you’ll want to be aware of what your sellers agent is offering the buyers agent if they bring an offer. Many sellers assume the commission is split 50/50, but that would be wrong! More often than not, there is no 50/50 split happening. If you can, find out what buyers agents are offered in the MLS in your area.

Commission rates can also change based on circumstance. In fact, it is a good thing if they do so! Let’s say the seller brings a buyer, will the commission be less? What happens if the buyer represents themselves and there is no buyer’s agent to pay? Will the sellers agent take the full commission amount for themselves? What happens to the commission rate if the sellers agent represents both the buyer and the seller (if that is something you want to allow as the seller)? If the real estate agent you’re interviewing has one set commission rate that doesn’t change no matter what circumstances might arise, that’s a red flag. It means they want full commission no matter what, and personally, I don’t think that is fair to the home seller. Our commission rates change (only go down) depending on certain circumstances.

How will you market my Boston downtown condo for sale?

This is another question all real estate agents will be ready for. Best thing I can do here is to point you to NAR, National Association of Realtors, Research on how homes actually sell every year – what makes them sell. Here is a quick summary:

97% of home buyers search online. 51% of buyers identify the home they will end up buying online. 28% of the time real estate agents send them a house the buyer looks at online first, then they buy it.
6% of home buyers purchase a home because they saw a yard sign or open house sign.
2% of home buyers purchase a home because they already knew the sellers.
1% of home buyers find the home they purchased any other way.

The reason the above adds up to over 100% is because everyone basically shops online for their next home. The 6% that found the home they bought because of a yard sign or open house event – also looked online.

Looking at the research, you’ll quickly want to know and somehow be able to gauge the effectiveness of that Realtor’s online marketing efforts on behalf of your home.

Know what works and what doesn’t.

A lot of what real estate agents do to market your home, other than putting it on the MLS (and providing proper media like professional photos, 3D, drone, etc.) exists to have something else to say in a listing presentation and has no material effect on the home sale itself. I’ve spent many years as a sellers agent specialist, trying to figure out what actually moves the needle for my clients.

Three Common Mistakes Home Sellers Make when Picking a Sellers Agent

  1. Going with a friend’s or family’s recommendation without vetting the Realtor for themselves. Any real estate agent can get lucky in one transaction. Perhaps they had easy to work with home buyers on the other side of the market conditions were so far in the seller’s favor the home sale had no hurdles to overcome. You want an agent that didn’t get lucky that one time. You want an agent with a consistent, extensive success record.
  2. Going with the agent that emotionally appeared to love their home the most and told them the highest sales price. As a home seller, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the emotions of a home sale and picking the agent that seems the most excited about selling the home. Emotional excitement over the home is not the same thing as a valid sales strategy. Many agents will list your home at any price tag because they know their contract will lock you in and isn’t really cancel anytime.
  3. Going with the agent who answered the phone first. Do not assume all real estate agents are the same and will give you equal advice, an equal home selling experience, and an equal chance to sell your home for a good price. Real estate agents are more experienced than one another, have differing levels of customer service, and have differing marketing strategies (and different commission rates).

Boston Real Estate for Sale

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Beacon Hill Condos for Sale

Ford Realty Inc., Charles Street, Beacon Hill

Click Here to view: Google Ford Realty Inc Reviews

 

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