Here’s why you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to contact a realtor

Summer is here and just like the sizzling hot weather associated with the season, the housing market also is hot, with homes selling at all time highs. As HomeLight discusses in their Top Agent Insights for Spring 2021 report, 94% of real estate agents report that bidding wars are on the rise or at their peak in their markets, and that 97% report that low mortgage rates are fueling buyer demand.

While much of the uptick in the demand for homes was triggered due to shelter in place orders across the nation due to the coronavirus pandemic and the shift to companies allowing remote work many agents believe that the rollout of vaccines will cause even more people to relocate, freeing up additional inventory on the market. 

If you own a home and have had any thought of putting it on the market, you can’t afford to wait until the last minute to speak to a realtor. Doing so means you’ll miss valuable time to prepare your home so you can secure a better sale price. That in mind, here’s some information to help you determine when to contact a realtor and how to make the most of the working relationship.

Planning should begin at least a few months in advance

Since making your home attractive to prospective buyers takes time, it’s generally best to contact a real estate agent about three months in advance of your ideal sale date. You don’t want to contact an agent more than six months in advance, however, because the real estate market is constantly changing and you don’t want to end up having to continuously change your home throughout the selling process.

Before contacting a real estate agent, you should review your finances to ensure the sale price is enough to cover the remaining portion of your mortgage and additional expenses such as repairs and renovations, closing costs, and moving costs. Declutter and deep cleaning early also is helpful since both those steps can significantly increase the value of your home.

Don’t let misconceptions on costs scare you away

Of the costs associated with selling a home, the real estate agent’s commission is one of the largest. While most agents take a 6% commission on the home’s selling price, 92% of home sales in 2019 were done with an agent’s assistance. The reason for this is because selling a home is a complex process, and trying to DIY the sale can easily turn into a full-time project. While you may think you’re saving money by avoiding the commission, you’ll spend hours on the project, plus your final selling price will likely be much less than what an agent would’ve gotten.

It’s also worth noting that agents generally don’t keep 100% of their commission. Real estate agents also have to use the commission to cover costs such as real estate broker charges, MLS membership fees, and marketing costs.

When an agent works on commission, they’re only successful if your home sells at a solid price. While the commission can be high, it’s not much when you take a holistic look at the value provided.