1) What is the #1 reason to use a Realtor?
Access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is the single best reason to use a realtor. Through the MLS your house is at the fingertips of 30,000 dedicated qualified buyers agents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Any other form of advertising is a hit or miss attempt to find the one person that is hopefully reading your ad at that exact moment in time. Through the MLS, your property gains the maximum exposure to people who are specifically looking to buy a house. People who have already thought out what they want in a house. People who are ready to buy and agents who know how to put a transaction together. People who have already started their financing process and know how much house they can afford.
2) What is Buyers Agency?
Buyers Agency is a relatively new concept in Illinois. It is not used throughout the entire country. Buyers agency says that if an agent is working with a buyer, that agent has a fiduciary duty to the buyer. In other words, When I am working with a buyer, it is my duty , by law, to put that buyers best interest first. Anything that you, as a buyer, tell me will be kept in complete confidence. For instance, a buyer offers $170,000 on a $200,000 house. He says that he can go as high as $195,000. If the seller asks how high my buyer will go, I will say $170,000. (BTW, in the old days, I was obligated to tell the seller $195,000.) As a buyers’ agent, your agent can actually help you negotiate a better deal. It was a long overdue law. With Buyers Agency, now each party is fully represented. Everyone wins. The reason Buyers Agency was enacted was very simple. If it wasn’t for the buyer, there would be no money at the closing table. Plus, the clients assumed the agent was working for them anyway.
3) Do all Realtors really just work for the seller?
NO! Actually, just a few years ago, in Illinois, they did. We used to be under a law called sub-agency. Under sub-agency all the agents had to put the best interest of the seller first, even if they were working with the buyer. Back then, if a buyer told their agent a secret that would help the seller, the agent was legally supposed to tell the seller (see above faq #2). Also, If the buyer wanted to offer a lower price, they were on their own. But, as we just learned, Illinois now has Buyers Agency. So, One agent represents the seller, and one agent represents the buyer. It is hard to believe that in most of the country, the law is sub-agency. And with sub-agency, it is caveat emptor, (buyer beware).
4) If the seller is paying the commission, how can a Realtor represent the buyer?
Simple. If it wasn’t for the buyer, there would not be any money at the closing table to pay commissions with. Sure, the seller is paying that commission but, without the buyer the seller couldn’t pay anything. So now each party gets full representation. It’s the way it should be!
5) What is Sellers Agency?
Sellers agency is very similar to the way real estate has been sold for many years. The agent that is working with the seller fully represents the seller and owes the seller a fiduciary responsibility. In other words, when I am working with a seller, it is my duty, by law, to put the best interest of that seller first. If the seller tells me anything confidential regarding the transaction, I must keep it confidential (unless the secret would cause me to break the law). Even if that information might help the buyer. For example: A seller lists his house for $200,000 but says he will go down to $170,000. If a buyer then asks me what is the lowest my seller will go, my answer will be, $200,000. However, once a contract is written, my seller can except any price that he chooses.
6) Who benefits from an open house?
I do. Most residential transactions are initiated through the MLS, Multiple Listing Service. The best reason to hold an open house for the agent is to get more buyers and gain exposure for the company. A lot of the people that walk through an open house are really just lookers: curious neighbors, young couples looking for decorating ideas, or other realtors sizing up the market. A few are genuine buyers looking to buy a house. Very rarely, in my experience, does a person buy a house because they walked through an open house. On the other hand, I have gained several clients by holding an open house.
7) Is there a “standard” commission in the industry?
NO! Let me repeat that just to make sure you fully understand. NO! Every real estate commission must be set independently by each individual office. At 4 sale Realty, Inc., each agent can negotiate any commission structure that works well for the agent and the seller. There is no such thing as a standard commission. Everything is negotiable. That is the law. It is not just a policy of 4 Sale Realty, Inc.
8) Is there a “standard” length of time for a listing?
NO! (See above, faq #7). Everything about the real estate transaction is negotiable including the commission structure and the length of listing period.
9) Why is my commission worth it?
How much money do you make if you can’t sell your house by yourself? How much money do I make if I can’t sell your house? The answer for both is nothing. The only way for either one of us to make any money is for the house to sell. The single biggest advantage I have is the MLS, Multiple Listing Service. That one tool places your property in front of 30,000 dedicated buyers agents. It is my job to make the MLS write-up appealing enough to get their attention. Then, it is my job to follow up on each and every lead to get feedback and to remind the different buyers agents why your house is right for them. I will convey all of the feedback results back to you the seller. Then, once a contract is signed, it is my job to ensure that each step of the closing process is completed at the right time. If everything is not done exactly when it needs to be done, the closing will be delayed. A delayed closing means waiting for your money. Yes, All the Realtors have access to the MLS. So, I offer reduced commissions to sellers that only want the advantage of the MLS without all the extra fluff. And, if you really don’t see an advantage to my services as a sellers agent, I offer a program specifically for people that want a hybrid between for sale by Realtor and for sale by owner. Go to my sellers page or FSBO page for all the details.
10) Why not strictly “for sale by owner”?
Two reasons. First, MLS. When you sell by owner. You are on your own. When you sell through a Realtor using the MLS, you have immediate access to 30,000 fully trained and dedicated buyers agents. Access that is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Second, Paperwork. Unfortunately America has become a litigious society. The mound of paper work associated with the sale of real estate is always growing. As a trained real estate professional, I am constantly kept abreast of the current laws. Each form must be completed correctly to properly protect the buyer and seller. Also, as a real estate professional, my sales volume is not one house every 5 years. Therefore I know what to expect at each junction along the path from contract signing to closing. I keep track of every step so the closing goes smoothly. At 4 Sale Realty, Inc., we offer a hybrid commission structure that is a combination of “for sale by owner” and “for sale by Realtor”. We call it our FSBO special. You can follow this link to read all about it.
11) Why does 4 Sale Realty, Inc. want to list my home?
Exposure. Buyers. Advertising. Yes, I also will make some money when I sell your house. However, I also hope to acquire more buyers that view your house. If 10 people look at your house I can only sell your house to one of them. It is my goal to find a house for all 10 of them. I do not want to appear greedy. I just want to point out that my sign in your yard is a great form of advertising and an excellent source of new clients.
12) Will 4 Sale Realty, Inc. personally sell my home?
I certainly hope so! Otherwise, I am in the wrong business. It is my goal to sell your house. By connecting you and a buyer, everyone wins. If I do not sell your home, I do not get paid. Unfortunately, I cannot guarantee that I will sell your home. But, I will guarantee that I will do my best to sell it. Also, to specifically answer the question….While I do work with buyers and sellers….most likely, the buyer will be represented by an agent from another company. In 9 years of being a Realtor, I have never had a case where I represent the buyer and seller on the same transaction (The technical term for that is dual agency). Of course, I have worked with buyers and sellers, just not on the same transaction.
13) Will my agent do anything I ask him/her to do?
NO! Your agent will not follow your instructions if your instructions are against the law. Specifically when issues of discrimination, or public safety are involved. See below #14 for specifics. However, beyond that, we strive to meet all of your requests.
14) Is it against the law to discriminate in real estate?
YES! It is against the law for any licensed real estate agent to discriminate against anyone on the basis of: Race, Creed, Color, Religion, National Origin, Familial Status, Handicap, or Sexual Preference. I can explain any of these if needed. However, do not ask me to discriminate. Not only is it against the law, it is wrong. The golden rule applies here.
15) Does it hurt if I price my house too high at first?
The short answer is yes. Of course, you want to receive as much as possible for your home. I understand that. But, if your house is over-priced, the buying public will know. Todays’ buyers have the same information to them that the sellers have. So, they also know what the comparable properties have sold for. Another downside is the chance that your home will sit on the market and become ‘stale’. Recently the MLS people revised the rules on how market time is calculated. So now, even if you cancel and re-list your property with me or another agent, your market time will carry forward. You want to price your house so you get the most exposure within the first two weeks. After that, in this hot market, the buyer will wonder what is wrong with the property. Also, if the price is too high they might not look at because they feel that their option of negotiating it down to a reasonable price is improbable.
Email us with your questions or wish list. We will get back to you as close to immediately as possible. Usually, we answer all emails within minutes. Sometimes, it may take us up to a day.