Some real estate brokers have a lot of tricks up their sleeves. Learn to beat them at their own game.
Step 1: Do your own research Before you hire a broker, do your own research about what comparable houses have sold for in your area. That way, you’ll know if your broker is giving you good advice or just trying to make a quick sale.
Step 2: Don’t be pushed into accepting a lower price Don’t be pushed into accepting a lower price than you feel your home is worth. Just remember that brokers keep their own homes on the market significantly longer than the average, yielding a higher sale price.
TIP: Keep in mind that holding out for an offer of $10,000 more gives the broker a measly $150 in commission – hardly worth her time to work for the extra $9,400 you’ll yield.
Step 3: Don’t be bullied into an open house Don’t be bullied into holding an open house. Only two percent of houses are sold this way, so the real winner is the broker, who makes all kinds of contacts.
TIP: Negotiate a lower commission. With so many people selling their own homes on the Internet and using discount brokers, most real estate agents are willing to accept a lower fee than the once-standard six percent.
Step 4: Make them run all offers past you Stipulate in your contract that your broker has to run all offers past you. An unethical broker might not tell you about an offer from a buyer represented by another agency—so that she doesn’t have to split a commission.
Step 5: Don’t use the broker’s inspector For obvious reasons, it’s wiser to hire your own inspector than one who may be in cahoots with a broker to rubber stamp a property.
Step 6: Be leery of their renovation suggestions Don’t assume that because a broker is waxing poetic about the lucrative renovations you can make she knows what she’s talking about. Check with zoning laws before assuming you can make substantial changes to the house or property.
Step 7: Consider selling your home yourself Consider selling your home yourself. There are plenty of books and websites that will walk you through the process, saving you thousands of dollars.
FACT: Over 50 percent of house hunters look on the Web for potential homes.