Logo, Bacon McClain & Associates - Real Estate Company
(540) 370-8601
306 Westwood Office Park
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

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Frequently Asked Questions


We try to anticipate questions you might have about our services and provide the answers here. If you need additional information click on the Contact Us tab and complete the short questionnaire. One of our knowledgeable team members will assist you within one business day.

 

1.

When should I list my house if I want to sell this year?

Several sellers have asked us recently about timing the listing of their home to sell in Spring or early Summer.  Our answer is – As soon as possible!

We actually have quite a few buyers looking in earnest right now.  Mortgage rates are at historic lows, inventory is low, and prices are rising – this info is in all the national news. For those planning to buy, this is not lost on them.  Motivated buyers are getting into the market now!


2.

What is the difference between a real estate sales agent, a broker, and a REALTOR?

In Virginia, a person must be licensed by the state in order to assist others in buying or selling real estate.   A real estate sales agent has taken the required classes, passed a state exam, and has earned a professional license.  An agent cannot work independently but must work for and be supervised by a licensed broker. 

A real estate broker has been and may still be a sales agent, but in addition he/she has acquired a required level of transactions, taken additional training, and passed the state brokers exam.  A broker can work independently and can also supervise sales agents who work under his/her broker’s license.  

All sales agents and brokers are required by The Virginia Division of Real Estate to complete 30 hours of continuing education every 3 years (including legal, ethics, and fair housing courses) in order to maintain a professional state real estate license.

A REALTOR (actually a trademarked term by the National Association of REALTORs) is a sales agent or broker who belongs to the local, state (VAR), and national associations of REALTORs, and who has taken required ethics training, and adheres to the national code of ethics.


3.

What is the MLS?

MLS is an acronym for Multiple Listing Service, which is a marketing database set up by a group of cooperating real estate brokers. Its purpose is to provide structured data about properties for sale, and is also a way for listing brokers to offer compensation to buyer brokers who bring a buyer for their listed property. This allows an agent to show a buyer not only his/her own company’s listings, but ANY listing that is advertised for sale through the MLS.


4.

I’m a buyer. Who pays for the services of the agent who is representing me?

When a property is listed on the MLS, the seller typically offers compensation to the buyer’s agent. In this way, the representation that you will get from your agent is essentially free and your agent will be paid when the property eventually closes, typically from the seller’s proceeds from the sale.  Another way of thinking of it is that the seller is agreeing up front to pay a commission to the agent who brings a buyer to the property.  Some real estate agents require that a buyer sign a contract that will “bind” the buyer to work exclusively with that agent.   Other agents operate more on a handshake basis–i.e., if the buyer feels comfortable with the agent’s style and temperament, and thinks that the agent is providing expert guidance through the process, then the buyer will simply continue to work with that agent without a signed contract.   This relationship is negotiable in the beginning, and a good agent will clarify that potential range of agency relationships at the very first meeting.


5.

What is a “closing”?

A closing is the formal act of executing the final sale of the property. For the seller, this means that all liens against the property have been satisfied and that the property is deeded over to the buyer with clear title. For the buyer, it means that the deed has been accepted in exchange for some consideration–usually money.   In Virginia, closings are usually held “roundtable,” which is a visual metaphor that means that the closing agent, the buyer, the seller, the real estate agents, and sometimes the lender, all meet together in one location (and at a literal table) to “close” or complete the real estate transaction.   Many states practice closings “in escrow,” but in Virginia, roundtable closings are the norm. 


6.

How Long Will it Take to Sell My Home?

That is THE QUESTION, isn't it! There are three main factors that affect a property's time on the market: location, condition, and price.

Location is the one thing that you cannot control in the home selling process. In conjunction with condition and price, people choose a home based on the location and accessibility of the property. In many cases, homes will sell faster in desirable neighborhoods because the demand is high. Take into consideration what the demand is to live in your neighborhood. Your REALTOR® can provide information on yours and surrounding neighborhoods to help you assess this factor.

The condition of your property is also a major contributing factor to the time it will take to sell. When evaluating a home, buyers will first assess the structural condition of items such as walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows. They will want plumbing and electricity to work efficiently. They will then consider paint, carpets and floor coverings. The front and back yards should be in reasonably good shape. If there is major damage or deterioration to any of these items, buyers will likely hesitate in making an offer. Discuss ways to cosmetically improve your home for a more rapid sale with your REALTOR® professional.

Pricing your property to sell in the current market is absolutely crucial. Obviously, the condition and location of your property should be major considerations when deciding on a price. If your home is priced too high, it will likely remain on the market longer, resulting in a lower final sales price. Your REALTOR® can guide you on appropriately pricing your property for the shortest listing time with maximum profits.

There are several additional factors that can affect the speed of a sale including:

Local supply and demand

Marketing

Closing terms

Is there a surplus of homes for sale in your area? Are technology tools and networking resources being utilized to market your property? Are your closing terms favorable to buyers? The right REALTOR® will be able to coach you in dealing with each of these things to ensure the quickest possible sale.

Unfortunately, there is no magic time frame when it comes to selling real estate. Some properties sell before a sign hits the front yard, and others may sit for months before the first offer comes in. Your REALTOR® can provide you with the average days on the market for properties that have recently sold in your neighborhood; however it is important to remember that the variables affecting this data are not detailed in these comparables. Your REALTOR® will most likely have viewed a majority of the properties included in the comparables and can give you a better idea of why a specific property sold in the time frame recorded.

Do not to get discouraged if a sale takes longer than you anticipated. Instead, try to analyze the reasons your property is not selling and ask your REALTOR® what you can do to facilitate the process.