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What, you say?  When you sell your home, YOU are interviewing the Realtor, not the other way around.  But we don’t accept every listing that is offered to us.  If you are determined to overprice, and can’t/won’t do the work needed to get your home ready to sell, a great agent may just pass on your listing.  And you WANT a great agent – that’s how you’re going to get the most money for your home.  The key to a successful listing relationship starts at the listing appointment – or even before.  SO – here’s how to ace the home listing interview.

What do you need to know?  FIRST, it is okay to call an agent even if you are only “thinking” about selling.  Making an appointment does not obligate you to list or to sell anytime in the near or far future.  Of course, if you are in a hurry to sell then you will be top priority.  So let us know your urgency when you make the appointment, and it is totally fine to consult with us even months prior to the time you actually plan to list.   Realtors are in the business of connection.  Even if you decide never to list, if you are impressed with us we trust that you will tell your friends about us.  If you are planning to list, but have some time, we can help you get your home positioned to maximize your return when you DO sell.

In fact, it is crucial that you call if you are thinking now about making home improvements in order to sell your home in the future.  Consult us first!  What you think is going to make you a lot of money may NOT be what buyers are looking for.  We agents are in the market every day with buyers in our car.  So we know what impresses buyers – what is worth spending money on and what is not worth spending money on.  We can help you choose your upgrades carefully with the future buyer in mind.  After all, if you are renovating TO sell, that is key.  If you are renovating for yourself and plan to stay, that’s a whole different ballgame.

When you call, we will ask you a series of questions over the phone to gauge your motivation and urgency, and to find out what we can about your home prior to our appointment.  We will pull your tax record and then pull comparable homes that have sold around you over the past 3-6 months.  We will send you our Seller’s Guide prior to meeting with you so you will know what to expect and can ask any questions that arise from it – but don’t feel as if you HAVE to read the Seller’s Guide prior to our appointment.  We are always available to answer questions and I will talk you through the process when we meet.

Our meeting will last between half an hour to an hour and a half, depending upon how large your home is and how many questions we have for one another.   Here is a typical itinerary:

  • I will give you disclosure forms to review while I tour your home. The disclosure forms ask you questions about your house – the age of systems, that sort of thing – and you will likely have questions about how to answer.
  • While you review those forms, I like to tour the home by myself rather than have you take me through the home. Here is the reasoning:
    • I want to view the home objectively, as a home buyer would. The best way to do that is if I simply walk through the home the way I typically walk through a home with a buyer.
    • I will take notes and take pictures. The pictures I take are NOT the ones we will use in listing your home – we use a professional photographer for the listing pictures.  The pictures I take are only for my review in advising you on staging and marketing.
  • After I walk through your home, I will sit with you and talk through the process – our marketing plan and what we do to sell your home.
  • Then we will look at the homes that are comparable to yours that I have pulled from our phone discussion. The ones that are most pertinent are the homes that have SOLD, but we will also review the homes that are pending sales and those that are active listings.
  • Together we will discuss what needs to be done to your house to get it ready to sell, the “right” list price, and the timing of the sale.
  • Most of my sellers sign a listing agreement during the appointment and we list right away (after a weekend for clearing out and staging the home).  Or I can send you the listing agreement and disclosures electronically.
  • After the appointment I will send you a recap email setting forth the repairs and staging notes we discussed during our visit.

While most sellers list right away, many consult me six months before they are really ready, and then of course there are sellers in every time frame in between.  My goal in meeting with you is to develop a relationship with you and determine how to best serve your needs.

There is no preparation required on your part prior to our meeting, however, if you are able and willing to do the following it will help streamline the process:

  • Pull your most recent mortgage statement with balance information. If you have a second mortgage (home equity line of credit) pull that statement also.  The tax records I have pulled show the mortgage amount when you purchased the home, but you have likely paid some of that off.  These statements will help us determine your anticipated net from the sale.
  • Have a survey of your property handy if you have one.
  • Similarly, if you have ever had architectural plans prepared (either for a renovation or addition that was finished, or one that was considered but not done) have those ready for us.
  • Have an extra key ready.
  • Have a list of key features of your home; details of any renovations and upgrades are very helpful.
  • Put together a list of what you love about your home, your neighbors, and your neighborhood. Be as specific and inclusive as possible.
  • Have any neighborhood newsletters, invitations, or flyers ready.
  • If you know of any property boundary disputes or potential liens (by contractors or creditors) let’s discuss at our meeting. We can have a pre-emptive title search done to be sure your title will be clear when we offer your home for sale.

So gather information, but remember to meet with us before you take action on anything.   Let’s get your home ready, price it right – and get ready to SELL!

Mary Anne Walser is a licensed attorney and full-time REALTOR, serving buyers and sellers in all areas of Metro Atlanta. Her knowledge of residential real estate and her legal expertise allow her to offer great value to her clients. Mary Anne is a member of the Atlanta Board of Realtors, the Georgia Association of Realtors, the State Bar of Georgia and the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers. Contact Mary Anne at 404-277-3527, or via email: maryannesellshomes@gmail.com.