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Putting a condo on the market:: questions to ask

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zoebartlett

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My husband and I may be trying to sell our condo soon, and we''ve asked a realtor to do a market analysis this weekend. This is the first place we''ve owned, so we''re unfamiliar with the process of selling property. What are some things we should keep in mind and ask the realtor? Thanks!
 

Loves Vintage

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Things I''d want to know are:

How do they plan to market the property? How many open houses do they plan to do? It''s a tough time to sell, as I''m sure you''re already aware, so it could be on the market for a while. I''d look for any out-of-the-box thinking on the agent''s part in terms of marketing.

Have any units in your complex sold recently? I''d take a look at what the prices are in your market right now, so you can see how the agent''s numbers compare to what you''ve seen.

I also wouldn''t plan to agree to a commission above 5%. Six percent is standard in my area, but I''ve always negotiated down to 5% (4% if she rep''d both myself and buyer). I''ve used the same agent for 4 transactions in the past three years, so it''s worked out okay for her. (She sold my condo in 7 days, but that was 3 years ago.)

How did you find the agent? Will you be using the same agent to buy your next home (if you''re buying, that is?) If yes, then 5% should not be an issue.
 

Loves Vintage

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Other than that, I''m not sure what else I''d ask specifically. I met my agent at an open house, when I owned my condo, and was wishy-washy about buying a home on my own. She is good, high energy, but not in an annoying way, and a real people person. I knew I wanted to work with her. I''d trust her to sell any home, big or small.

I will say that I''ve gone to quite a few open houses, over past three years, that I''ve been selling, buying, marrying and then buying again, and agents are not all the same. I''ve run into some agents that did not seem all that interested in selling the properties they were showing. So, I guess I''d also look to see how comfortable you feel with the person because if they could build a good rapport with you quickly, then they can do the same with potential buyers.

Good Luck!
 

ilovedogs

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I am an agent in Chicago and honestly you can ask about marketing, etc but what really sells you property is price. It is vital to price it right initially. Most sellers think their property is worth more than it is, completely normal. What you don''t want to do is over price and then do price drops. Then you look desperate. Take an honest look at the price and make sure you price it to sell.

Agent bonuses, or incentives to buyers do not sell houses. Nor does traditional marketing, like mailings, newspaper ads, etc. It is a different era. Open houses are for the neighbors to see how your house is decorated and people who are nosy. Trust me on this one. Agents do open houses to appease their sellers and to pick up buyer clients, the only reason. They do not sell houses.

Ypu want an agent whom you mesh well with, someone who is honest and who personally shows your property. not someone who throws it on a lcokbox. You want an agent who can advise you on staging as this is more vital than advertising. Someone who is not afraid to tell you what changes you need to make, etc.

Hope this helps....
 

ilovedogs

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Oh, one other thing about commission. Do not go below the standard in your area. This is the one sure thing to avoid getting showings from buyer''s agents. Sad but true. If 6 is standard then do 6, etc. 5 is standard for our area but if an agent sees anything below a normal split many times they will just overlook the listing. Happens all the time.
 

zoebartlett

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Thanks so much for your help LV and Ilovedogs! I appreciate it a lot.

The realtor who sold us our condo is no longer doing real estate, otherwise we''d use him again if possible. I''m trying to contact a few agents so we can compare that each one of them says and what price they''d list our condo at. I called up one agency and spoke for a while with an agent who seemed very knowledgeable about our complex (she''s sold a few other units here in the past). She was extremely friendly and we got along great. I''m looking forward to meeting her. She did mention that we''d discuss how she plans on marketing our condo, so we''re looking forward to hearing her plans.

There are two other units in my building on the market. One is priced lower than what we paid for ours a few years ago, and the other one is listed above what we paid. It''s your basic garden style apartment type of place, so there''s not a lot of character throughout, unfortunately. Very cookie cutter. The good things are that we''re on the first floor in an end/corner unit, and we''re on the quieter side of the complex (one side borders the highway and we''re on the opposite end). It''s a farily small and very quiet complex, which is a plus.

LV -- we''re not in a position to buy another place at this point. We may need to sell quickly (my husband lost his job three months ago). We''d most likely either move in with my parents for a bit or rent an apt.

I have no idea what the standard is here, as far as commission goes.

Thanks again for your help!
 

April20

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If there is a realtor that "farms" your area, i.e. has a ton of listings, I would start with them. It is a huge advantage to have a realtor that knows the ins and outs of all your competition and will help you to really price your home correctly from the get go. I''ve watched homes in our neighborhood be priced incorrectly and then drop their prices and they are still sitting unsold. The houses priced correctly from day one have been selling quickly, even in this market.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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I have nothing to add as I''ve never bought a house before, but Zoe, I''m so sorry to hear of your troubles. We went through a similar situation a few months ago when FI was unemployed. We contemplated putting our house on the market then. Good luck!!!
 

Loves Vintage

Ideal_Rock
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Zoe,

Oh, I didn't know about your husband's job. Sorry to hear that.

Unfortunately, nothing was moving in the neighborhood where I bought my house three years ago. Still hasn't. I put my house on the market in August and decided to rent it in November. The rent covers mortgage and expenses. Oddly, none of the houses that were on the market at the same time as mine have sold. And, they are still on the market, and the prices have been dropped. One was a short sale that was under contract and priced significantly lower than mine, and it never closed and is back on the market again. Potential buyers for the neighborhood that I was in can't seem to get financing. It is very strange.

So, that could be something else to ask your potential realtors. Are properties getting sold? How long is it taking on average?

And, another thing for you to consider -- is renting your condo an option? If people cannot get financing, then they must be renting instead of buying, right? Of course, renting is not always easy. Our agent did credit checks for us. The first person who wanted to rent our place outright lied on her application even though she knew we would be pulling a credit report. So, be careful on that front, but also good to keep your options open. You could probably find a renter sooner, but will it be worth the potential hassle of having a tenant? Would rent cover your mortgage, insurance, expenses, potential repair costs?

Good luck and let us know how things are going!
 
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