You don't have to become
an expert in property values, mortgages, tax and real estate law,
title insurance, escrow, pest-control work, and construction techniques
in order to play the house-selling game well. Instead, you can hire
people who've already mastered the skills that you lack. House selling
is a team sport. Your job is to lead and coach the team, not play
every position. After you assemble a winning team, your players
should give you solid advice so you can make brilliant decisions.
probably don't have an unlimited budget, you need to determine which
experts are absolutely necessary and which tasks you can handle
yourself. You are the one who must determine how competent or challenged
you feel with the various aspects of the house-selling process.
Here's an overview
of the possible players on your team:
You are the most important player on your team. Sooner or
later, another player is bound to drop the ball or fail to satisfy
your needs. You have every right to politely, yet forcefully,
insist that this person make things right. Remember that you hire
the players on your team; they work for you.
- Real estate
agent: Because the house that you're getting ready to sell
is probably one of your largest investments, you want to protect
your interests by having someone on your team who knows property
values. Your agent's primary mission is to accurately tell you
what your house is worth and then negotiate on your behalf to
sell it for top dollar.
- Real estate
brokerage: All states issue two different real estate licenses:
one for salespeople (agents) and one for brokers. Real estate
brokers must satisfy more stringent educational and experience
standards than agents do. If your real estate agent is not an
independent broker or the broker for a real estate office, the
agent must be supervised by a broker who's responsible for everything
that your agent does or fails to do within the course and scope
of the duties of a real estate sales professional. In a crisis,
your transaction's success may depend on back-up support from
your agent's broker.
inspectors: Your house's physical condition greatly affects
its value. Smart buyers will insist on having your house thoroughly
inspected from roof to foundation as a condition of the purchase.
We recommend that you get your house thoroughly inspected before
putting it on the market so you know what to expect during any
subsequent corrective-work negotiations with the buyer.
and tax advisors: Before selling your house, make sure that
you understand how the sale (and the purchase of another home,
if applicable) fits into your overall financial situation.
Whether or not you need a lawyer on your team depends on three
things: the complexity of your contract, the location of your
house, and your personal comfort level. If you decide to sell
your house without an agent, you definitely need a lawyer who
specializes in real estate law on your team. Remember, the purchase
agreement you sign to sell your house is a legally binding contract.
If you have any questions about your contract's legality, put
a real estate lawyer on your team.
To Buyer Services
Each player brings a different skill into the game. Assemble a great
team, and they will guide you through any situation that may arise
during your transaction. Keep in mind that good players act as advisors
- not decision makers. Decision making is your job. After all, it's
your money on the line.
Next Step: The Perfect Listing Agent