How to Actually Sell Your Home, And Not Just “List it”

By Ginny Mees

selling homeAre you deciding who to entrust the responsibility of representing the sale of your largest asset: your home? This can be a daunting decision, and when it’s made alone, it can feel even more overwhelming! Here are some valuable tools to ensure you find the right person for you.

Remember, like anything else in life, doing your homework pays off. We women are lucky because we have something called women’s intuition, maternal instinct, etc but now is not the time to trust your gut alone! When listing your home for sale, interview at least three REALTORS. Ask people you know and trust for the name of a REALTOR referral, be sure it is someone who has been in the business at least two years. As a licensed real estate agent, I know that some agents are good when they start in the business, but the truth is we learn the marketing techniques, pitfalls, how to successfully negotiate a sale, etc, not from studying for and passing our license exam, but from hands on practical experience. I also have a network of real estate professionals throughout North America who specialize in serving the unique needs of independent women, so visit our website to find someone near you:

In order to keep from wasting your time, I would ask the following three questions before meeting with the agents:

  1. How long have you been a licensed real estate agent in our state? (It should be at a minimum of 2 years)
  2. How many homes did you list and sell last year? (It should be at least five listed homes sold in the past twelve months-anything less and they are really a part time agent, and will not be able to dedicate the time or resources needed to get your home marketed and sold).
  3. Where is your office located? (It should be within a 10-20 mile radius of your home-depending on your area-I personally would like to hire someone who is in my same town, but that is not always possible-and sometimes the right experienced agent is not located in your town-but for sure they should not be an “out of area” agent).

I have to say it has been my own personal experience that the most capable, organized, multi-tasking and personable agents I have met are women, but there are some great male real estate agents-I leave this up to you. If your interest is to hire a REALTOR with whom you have rapport, you should hire a woman. Dee Dee Myers put it best in her best-selling book Why Women Should Rule The World:

Women seek friendships based on intimacy and understanding, and men’s friendships tend to be based more on shared interests. ..Men’s self esteem derives more from their ability to maintain their independence from others, while women’s self esteem is maintained in part by the ability to sustain relationships.

Plan to meet with the three REALTORS on three consecutive evenings, so you have a clear, fresh start for each of them. They should take about an hour to present to you the following things:

  1. An introduction: their experience, years in the business, number of properties sold, information about the company they work for.
  2. Their marketing plan for your home, and the timeframe for these activities as it pertains to your property. (They should include target marketing-if not see questions below).
  3. A list of references with telephone numbers or email addresses, so you can call at least three people from their lists to discuss their experiences.
  4. Their commission structure. This should include the listing commission, the amount offered to a buyer’s agent and their dual agency commission (if applicable-this is if the agent represents both buyer and seller-not recommended unless it is a husband and wife team or other team-where both the buyer and seller have their own agent-email me with any questions about this).
  5. A Comparative Market Analysis-a comprehensive list of like kind properties in your community that are a) on the market currently (your competition), b) pending-but not closed yet, and most importantly SOLD (including the date sold).

When scheduling the appointments, I would email the prospective listing agents the following questions and ask them to include this in their presentation:

  1. What percentage of their business is  listings? (Most agents will think you want to see a higher number of listings, but I believe agents are better in touch with buyers and how to reach buyers if they work with both-I have about 67% listings and 33% buyers).
  2. What is their percentage of LIST to SELL? (They should know what this means, but it is an indication of how close they are to the market: what percentage of the homes sell close to or over the list price-you want to see more than 90%).
  3. Who is your target market for your home? And what activities will they commit to in order to reach those buyers?
  4. How long is there listing agreement for? Do they have a cancellation guarantee? (We offer all our clients a cancellation guarantee that if at any time-prior to an offer coming in- our clients are dissatisfied with our performance, they can cancel our agreement.
  5. What was their toughest selling situation? How did they resolve it?

Remember that they should be putting their best foot forward, and if they are late, or disorganized, etc it is not likely to improve during the transaction! Now it is time to make a decision. Make a “Pros and Cons” list, and yes…now is the time to trust that women’s intuition, because it is an educated intuition!

Good Luck with the Sale and remember to visit our site often for ideas and solutions to selling your home:

Other SMW Articles on Real Estate

The Savvy Home Buyer in 2009

Buying a Home? Are you Ready?

The Female Face of Real Estate