As a property seller when you approach a real estate agent to sell your property you expect the agent to list your property on property portals, negotiate with potential buyers and help sell the property. Its important to remember here that selling real estate is a people business and though the role may seem simple, every real estate agent selling property requires a number of skills and have the experience to deliver results.
Any property seller in the market to sell his / her property will agree with every other seller in the market about the similar things that they want from their real estate agent. Sellers want an agent who:
- Delivers Result – You want a real estate agent who can get you the best sales price possible for your property.
- Is Low Stress – You want a real estate agent who provides you a no-nonsense, smooth and fast sales process with no surprises.
- Is Reliable – You want a real estate agent who keeps his word and does what they say they will do.
- Is Relatable – You want a real estate agent who keeps the communication lines open.
- Is Authentic – You want a real estate agent who is genuine and trustworthy.
Most importantly you want to work with a real estate agent who does what he says he will do.
The Process that The Real Estate Agent Should Follow
Every real estate agent has to complete a process to successfully complete a sales transaction. To put the process in perspective I have presented below the 3-step overview of a typical property sales process with the focus on the selling agent’s role.
- Let Go
Lets look at each of the three steps in more detail.
Step 1 – Prepare
Meeting the Agent
Firstly the real estate agent needs to meet up with you, the owner to have a look at the property, inspect it thoroughly and discuss with you the sales strategy. The points to be discussed usually at this stage between you and the real estate agent should be the presentation of the property in the market, the sales process, the price range, promotional marketing and advertising. You should also be discussing the sales and marketing process that is happening for similar properties like yours.
If you decide to appoint the agent to sell your property then you should sign an exclusive agent-seller agreement and also arrange payment for any marketing costs that the agent would like you to pay such as those for ads or production of walk-through videos of your home.
Let your Lawyer Know
Once you have appointed a real estate agent you should ideally inform your lawyer if you have one that you are selling the property and pass on the requirements for a sale deed contract. You should also inform the managing committee of your housing society if you live in a gated apartment or bungalow complex and also get an NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the society. You should also get a pen and paper or a laptop if you wish and note down all the inclusions and exclusions for the property that you are selling. For example you are leaving the furniture but taking the white goods and the paintings / works of art. It’s a good idea to have all these points in writing so that there are no arguments later.
Presentation and Fix Ups
At this stage a good real estate agent will advise you to keep a budget for property presentation and maintenance. The advice is worth following because spending a small amount in some areas will mean a better sales price. Real estate agents have experience in such matters and are also familiar with other properties in the market similar to yours. So it would serve you well to listen to the advice and do the necessary required to spruce up your property for sale. If you own a luxury property worth many tens of crores then it is all the more imperative to present your property in the best light possible.
How Everything Works in your House
If you have a high-tech house or if you have elaborate smart home systems then you will need to give your real estate agent clear instructions on the same and the security system at the property (if there is one) and also an idea of how the appliances work such as automated curtains, smart lighting etc. so that they can explain these features to any potential buyers who ask. And if you are not present on the property then you will need to give them remotes for gates, garages etc. and also hand over a copy of the keys. Also clear instructions should be provided about any pets on the property they should not let escape when they come visiting with their clients. Oh btw you should also include a warning and heads-up in advance about nosy neighbours to avoid!
Photos and Plans
As a property seller you already know that in today’s world most of the buyer’s research is done online now before they even come to see the property. So it is vital that you have great photos on hand showcasing all the rooms and other USP’s of your property. Professional real estate agents will always book a professional photographer to come and take professional pictures of the house. Most buyers also want to have a look at the floorplan of the property with dimensions of every room.
Before your property is listed by sale by your real estate agent online, what your agent will usually do is – he / she will contact the best agents in the local market who have great connects with buyers and will preview your home to these agents so that they can connect with their “hot” buyer clients. Your agent will also personally call potential buyers on the phone and send emails and Whatsapp messages to the prospective buyers on their database.
Your property is finally launched in the market for sale when photos, videos and proper descriptions of your property is published on property portals, websites and other related online marketing channels.
STEP 2 – SHOW
Open for Inspections
This is the first part of Stage 2 which is the “showing” part of the process. Your home will be open for inspection on a number of dates usually weekends and mid week when most buyers have the time to drop down to see your property. This schedule will be set up so that you can prepare to have the house in tip-top condition.
Around this time you will see your real estate agent at work and get to know what they are doing and how hard they are working to elicit the interest of buyers. The details of all the prospective buyers he has brought by now should have been shared with you. The agent will be responding promptly to all buyer phone and online enquiries. Good agents will be continuously checking back with leads and prospects to gauge their interest levels for a potential second visit. They will be responding to buyer inquiries promptly, arrange second visits and email all information that buyers may require such as floorplans, photos, videos etc. The real estate agent will also be providing feedback reports to you so that you are also aware of the feedback of your property in the market. A record such an excel sheet should be kept of calls and enquiry responses. Buyers in the market who have rejected or missed out on similar properties such as yours will also be touched base with.
Offers Start Coming In
Your agent will handle all negotiations with interested buyers and provide written and verbal feedback to the owners. The agent will personally meet with the owners to discuss any offers from buyers. A good agent will continue to advertise conduct inspections for buyers even if offers have started to come in. They will respond to online enquiries and calls to ensure that buyer inspections continue. Early offers from buyers will help in establishing a base price and negotiations with qualified buyers will help in further discovering how much the market is willing to pay for your house.
When serious offers come in from serious buyers, your agent will present them to you and also advise you on a strategy in relation to the competition and buyer feedback to date. Your agent will negotiate with buyers to extract the highest price, required settlement terms, amount of deposit or token amount, any special conditions and the date for the exchange.
The real estate lawyer appointed by the buyer may negotiate contract changes which may require more inspections. Furthermore if the buyer has applied for a loan, the bank representative will need to visit the property and conduct full valuation and due diligence in order to approve the loan. This process could take one or several days to complete. The buyer may also request a home inspection report, property survey, building approvals, certificate of occupation, past sale deeds or other documents. There also may be a price adjustment depending on the results of the home inspection or valuation reports. Which is why as a seller you need to conduct a property valuation by a professional valuer so that you know in advance what may be found.
STEP 3 – LET GO
Contracts are exchanged
Once the final agreement on price and other terms are agreed to by both parties, both sides sign and exchange contracts, including agreement on special clauses and conditions. Once all the details of the sale are agreed upon, the deposit cheque given by the buyer is retained by the agent in a trust account or an escrow account until all legal documents are checked and vetted and the seller gives the final go-ahead.
The standard settlement period is usually 42 days (around six weeks). Extended settlement period can go upto 12 weeks or upto 6 months as required and agreed upon by both parties. The buyer is likely to request access to the property again during the settlement period to measure the property by his / her architect or to have vendors provide quotes. During the settlement period the owners will pack and move out of the property thus allowing time for a professional deep clean of the property and a final inspection by the buyer on the day before settlement.
At the end of the settlement period, “closing” is handled by a third party representing the legal teams and banks of each party. The owners are not required to attend here. When this part of the process is complete, an order on the agent is issued by the legal reps which allows release of the keys to the buyer. Though this “order” to release the key to the new buyer is not really followed in the often chaotic and unplanned way most people buy and sell properties in India, the day is dawning when such tightly regulated processes are also followed during the property buying process in India. The escrow and trust monies are accounted for, the balance of funds and any interest earned during this period is transferred to the owner’s and buyer’s accounts, real estate agency fees are deducted and transferred and all accounts are finalized.
Sold Above Market Rate
Congratulations – the sale is complete and if you have chosen the right real estate agent for the job you will have sold above the market rate for a property like yours. Your real estate agent will request for a small seller’s testimonial on their Google Business Page and may give a settlement gift to the seller to celebrate the conclusion of a satisfying real estate experience!
As you can see through this exhaustive article, there are many steps in the selling process of a property and there are many variables which requires that your real estate agent be extremely capable in a broad range of skills. The agent has to be experienced and highly talented to achieve a great and satisfying result for you – the seller. With the right real estate agent on your side you can not only have millions of dollars in your bank account but also thoroughly enjoy the process.
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