Be HonestYour Realtor can’t provide important advice if they don’t know the truth. There are some things you think you may be able to hide, but the truth is you can hide very little these days. If there is a problem you think will harm the value of your property, let your Realtor know about it. They can help you develop strategies to get it fixed. It is terribly unfair and frustrating to Realtors to have the problem revealed by a home inspector after a potential buyer has made an offer. They also need to know if you have realistic expectations about the sale price. It is impossible to know what the property will ultimately sell for, but if you conceal your assumptions you will not be able to have an honest discussion about asking prices. And you may unfairly become angry when your Realtor persuades you to reduce the asking price after it has been on the market for awhile.Understand Their RiskRealtors are entrepreneurs. Real estate is not a job. It is an extremely difficult business to succeed in. And most Realtors do not make a fortune as is commonly assumed. They risk a great deal of time and money finding new clients and getting their home ready for sale. And at the end of the day they may not be able to get the home sold for reasons that can be beyond their control. And some of those reasons only the home seller can control. So it is wise to understand the burdens they face daily. The right way is to do your homework before you contact them and invite them out to your home. And it is best not to call several agents and use them to get a free comparable market analysis on your home. You can only hire one of them. So the others will be wasting their time with you. Do a little research on the agents your interested in hiring first. Then do a little market research on your own. The Internet has some free tools that will help you get an idea of the current market trends in your area. When you have compiled your data then you will be able to eliminate most agents from your list, and you will have some facts to be able to talk with a few Realtors over the phone and have them give you an idea of what they think your home’s asking price should be. Now you will have the information you need to decide which agent is probably best for you. Now you can call them and schedule a personal appointment because you are now far less likely to waste their time and your own. This will establish a relationship of trust and you will be on your way to getting the best offers on your home and selling it more quickly.How motivated are you to sell? If you are just testing the market then your Realtor may quickly learn that you are not serious about selling your home. Why would an agent spend a great deal of time and money marketing a home at a price that is too high to sell? If you’re not motivated to sell, you are unlikely to set a realistic selling price. If you are unwilling to drop the price, your Realtor will quickly catch on and realize that you may be wasting their time and money. Then your home may sit on the market and become stale. Other Realtors will also learn that you are not a serious seller. And your home will develop a poor reputation among good agents. Another problem Realtors face is with home owners that do not clean, de-clutter and prepare their home for sale. It becomes very difficult, if not impossible, for a Realtor to sell a messy, cluttered home. They will stop showing your home because it is a waste of time. High quality buyers that are qualified to make a purchase are a hot commodity for Realtors. They are going to show customers’ homes that have the highest likelihood to sell. Your home will not receive traffic from the best customers. So it is important for you to clearly define your level of motivation. Are you willing to risk developing a bad reputation among local Realtors just to test the market? There may come a day when you really want to sell. And the best Realtors in your area will then be reluctant to risk working with you.Will you be negotiating from a position of weakness?Is there something wrong with your home that will cause buyers to negotiate a much lower price? It is better to talk this over with your Realtor before you put your home up for market. Some Realtors are afraid to know what is wrong with the homes they sell. They are afraid they will have to disclose a fatal flaw that will prevent the home from selling. But not all agents share this philosophy. The best agents and brokers will recommend a home inspector that specializes in pre-listing inspections. If you are going to get your home pre-inspected, then you need to be very careful about the inspector you hire. Not all home inspectors are created equal. Your inspector will need to have a superior inspection report that lists every component and is able to give a certification score to each component. Not only will this prevent disclosure liability, but the report will then also highlight the other aspects of the home that are in good shape. If the report only highlights the negative aspects of the home, then the report makes the home look worse by default. Go to my web site and down load a sample of my reports. You will see how each component is listed and how the good components get an “A” rating. The defects then are clearly defined and a contractor can then use the report to give you an estimate over the Internet. Real estate agents that have the greatest ability to market and sell homes are not afraid of the truth. They are not so desperate that they will try to hide every flaw just to get a home listed under their name. These agents can approach every problem with a solution and they often have a very good network of qualified vendors and consultants to repair most problems for a fair price. Not all home owners can sell their home for a good profit. And a few homes will lose money on the sale. A good Realtor can provide the best advice for informing you of what to repair and what to sell as is. But you need to allow your Realtor to know and understand your position going into negotiations. Only then can they truly act as your agent and not just a used home salesman.What is your bottom dollar? It is a good idea to know in advance what your bottom dollar is going into negotiations. But is that price realistic? And how long are you willing to wait to get an offer? Talk this over with your agent before hand so that you have a clear understanding between you.What are the neighbors like?Is there a sex offender living down the street? Guess what? Some buyers and especially investors are smart enough to research this question and also get a police report on the neighborhood. Many naïve home buyers will never consider this. But you may discover that your best customer may be an investor looking to buy a home to rent it out. They will often do the most research. If you are prepared they can buy your home quickly when no one else will. So let your Realtor know what you know so you can develop strategies to overcome these objections.Does your home have pests?Do you have mice or insects that suddenly appear inside your home?Put yourself in your Realtor’s shoes for just a minute. Your Realtor spends several weeks or months finding a qualified buyer, an hour lining up a showing and a couple of hours driving the buyer out to your home for a private showing. Every thing is going well enough when a giant rat runs across the floor and catches a large cock roach left over from the dinosaur age and begins to eat it in front of the potential buyer! How do you think that is going to make your Realtor feel? Let alone the potential buyer. Let your Realtor know if you have pests so they can advise steps to correct the problem.Write down questions before you call.Most Realtors that are worth their weight are extremely busy professionals. You need to respect their time and organize your approach so that you can make the most efficient use of their time. By writing down your questions, not only will you do a better job directing the conversation, but you will get the information that is important to you. When you organize your thoughts, you will be able to more clearly think through your own needs and values. Then when you communicate these interests to your Realtor, they will be able to more efficiently direct your search for the right home for you. And if you are selling your home, then you will be more likely to identify the agent that matches your needs.Research your location first.If you are selling your home in the Lake Minnetonka Area of Minnesota, then you need to go on line and look up other homes selling in that area. When you take the time to do this, you will learn what properties are selling for that are similar to your own. For example, if you live in the Orono MN area, you will not just want to research the zip code 55356, you would also want to search in an area surrounding that zip code such as 55391,55447,55331,55345, 55305, and 55364. The reason for this is that home values can change significantly from one zip code to the other. And sometimes they can change from one neighborhood to the other. So get a good feel for the values surrounding your area so that when your realtor suggests an asking price, you will already have a good idea of what other homes are asking for. You can use the MLS on-line and also Google maps to search for home values in your area. One complaint among Realtors is that there is always the slick Willy agent that buys a listing by telling the home owner they can get a better price than their competitors. All too often they can’t, and they will then come back a month later and ask the home owner to reduce the price. This is not only unethical, you can lose favor among other Realtors that understand that age old trick. And you can’t sell your home without the combined effort of many real estate agents in your area. So you don’t want them to become disenchanted with you and your home. It is wise to hire the agent that will list your home at a price that is just a little above current fair market value.Research the difference between asking price and selling price.Just because a home has a high asking price does not mean they will get it. You need to do some research so that you have a realistic understanding of what your home may ultimately sell for. There are a number of web sites that will give you information on comparable market values. The reason it is important for you to understand the selling prices is to prevent your home from becoming an old and stale listing that no longer gets any attention from other Realtors. If you are unrealistic and stubborn about your asking price, Realtors will quickly learn not to waste their precious time showing your property to prospective home buyers. You also need to keep in mind natural market fluctuations that affect price. There are seasonal adjustments in any industry. Your Minneapolis Minnesota home is likely to sell for a little more in the spring and early summer than it is in November and December. The reason is simple. In Minnesota the winters are cold and snowy and the holidays keep people indoors and concentrating on other things. Like Santa Clause and hanging stockings by the fire. The other market fluctuations that will affect your selling price is whether the market is on the way up or down. If the market is crashing, then all bets are off. What you think your home may be worth has nothing to do with what other people are willing to pay at that given time. So do your research and you will then be able to identify the agent that is on target with an appropriate asking price. Not too high and not too low. That is the agent that you should be searching for.What else is in the neighborhood?Let’s say you are going to sell your home in Minnetonka Beach, MN. This is a very exclusive community with the marvelous Lafayette Country Club as a center piece of the city. This is going to influence property values. This attraction will not only raise the property values for the 55391 zip code but mat very well raise it for communities close by. By making a list of local attractions, your Realtor can quickly develop marketing materials and a strategy for finding the right buyer for the right price. If you need to sell your home fast, then doing your research up front and compiling a list of valuable neighborhood features, your Realtor can get right to work creating a compelling advertising campaign and website for your home.Invite them to your home only after you have pre-qualified them.Once again you should be respectful of a professional Realtor’s time. Not all Realtors are the same. Some specialize in niche markets. Some specialize in certain income brackets. And others sell by geographic location. Learn as much as you can about several agents and then narrow your list down to a few. Define your values and learn which agents have the most listings and sales in your area and income bracket. Once you find an agent that is a very close match for your needs, then you can call them to invite them out to your home. Because you are already clear about their qualifications, now you just need to get a personal feel for how that agent will market your home. Set up a meeting with the agent that appeals to you the most first. If your meeting goes well and they answer your questions to your satisfaction, you may discover that you don’t need to call the other agents on your list.If you follow this advice, you will be a long way to developing a trustworthy relationship with a good Realtor. And they will be able to help you get your home sold more quickly at a better price and with far less hassle.