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