Responsibilities of a Seller's Agent
A sellerís agent is a person who represents the interests of the seller in a real estate transaction.
The real estate property owner, or seller, is the client of the sellerís agent (or ďlisting agentĒ). The sellerís agentís duties to the seller are:
- undivided loyalty
- reasonable skill and care
All duties are fiduciary. This means that by law, these duties are owed exclusively to the seller Ė NOT to the buyer.
During the listing process, the Seller's agent:
- Prepares a competitive market analysis of the sellerís home or property
- Develops and implements effective marketing strategies for the seller, including helping to establish asking price, staging, and positioning of the property
- Informs the seller what prices other homes and properties have sold for in the area.
During the negotiating process, the Seller's agent:
- Presents all offers and counsels seller on what price to accept
- Negotiates exclusively on the sellerís behalf
- Updates the seller on market conditions
- Suggests that the seller contact an attorney for an estimate of closing costs
During the closing process, the Seller's agent:
- Works closely with the seller to assure a smooth closing
- Monitors all dates, events and requirements for the seller
- Represents the Sellerís interest at the buyerís walk-through inspection
- May attend the closing with the seller.
Things to know about working with a Sellerís agent:
- If you choose to work with a sellerís agent, you will be signing a legal contract that holds you and the agent accountable to each other on specific terms and conditions. Be sure you are very clear about everything you sign.
Whatever terms you settle on, be sure you understand exactly what you will be getting in return for that commission. If you negotiate a lower commission for the agent, the agent may want to exclude some services that he or she would normally provide. Make sure you will be entitled to the agentís services that are most important to you and be sure these are in writing.
How to choose a Sellerís agent
- Ask for recommendations from people who have just sold a home in your area, or call a local real estate office and ask the manager to recommend an agent who specializes in your type of property and community.
- Visit a few offices. The real estate office itself can tell a lot about the agents you may end up working with. Is the office attractive and organized-looking? Is it easily accessible and open 7 days a week? Is the agency a member of a multiple-listing service - that is, are its listings available to all other agents and their buyers?
- Invite the prospective agent to your home for an introductory meeting. Since you will be spending a lot of time with this person, it's a good idea to establish trust and a solid working relationship early on.
- Put together an information sheet that lists your home's features and best qualities, especially those that people might otherwise overlook. Give this to the agent, who, if hired, can later use the information to write an attractive listing to help sell your home.
- Interview several prospects, and ask each to clearly outline to you in writing what their marketing plan will be for your property. Ask the agent how he or she would establish a price and promote your home. Compare the analyses and get a realistic range for your selling price. Donít fall for overenthusiastic, inflated estimates.
- If you interview an agent and are unsatisfied with his or her plan or personality, merely thank the agent for taking the time to meet with you, and repeat the process with another agent.
- Choose the agent who can offer you the services you need, and with whom you feel comfortable. In general, the more experienced the agent is, the better knowledge and tools theyíll have to sell your house.
- Discuss and be clear about what is expected of you and what is expected of the agent as you begin the joint process of selling your property. Get everything in writing!
Content Last Modified on 9/23/2008 11:20:42 AM