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Selling a house/finding a realtor


TechWife
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Hello everyone! 

 

I have to sell my parents house and will be looking for a realtor next week. I have the names of three different realtors that I am contacting (references from friends). The house is not local to me and I am the executor of the estate so I will be dealing with cleaning it out and getting it ready for the market as well (my siblings will help with the clean out). 

 

I will be relying on the realtor to advise me as far as repairs, etc.. The house needs a lot of work and I have no interest in flipping it, although I realize we will probably need to replace the roof and repair the siding before we put it on the market. However, I will not do a kitchen or bathroom remodel. Within the last five years it has a new heat pump and a new hot water heater, so those will be good things when it comes to a sale. 

 

So, now to my question - what questions should I ask a potential realtor? 

 

 

 

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I did exactly what you are doing and wanted top dollar, because it wasn't just for me (there were heirs).   I tried an auction first, but got offers far below value.  I was not obligated to sell so I didn't. 

 

The Realtor was terrible and I hope you have a better experience. 

 

But what did help me sell at the right price was repainting the entire house, and removing the carpet over hardwoods.  I did replace a damaged bathroom vanity too.   These are all handyman type jobs.  Everyone wants hardwoods.  But if you can do nothing else, even if you just paint, that really helps it seem fresh. 

 

Questions I would ask: 

 

How many listings did you have in 2016?

How many of those listings did you close?  How many did not sell?

 

What is the ratio of sales price to listing price on your listings (Did the Realtor get 98%, 88% of listing price?  What?)?

What are your recommendations for a fast sale with the least amount invested? [state that you are the Executor, which will mean you do not have to fill out the Statement of Condition form since you were not in a position to know.  You can just sign it and state "Do not know" across the board (or however that is done in your jurisdiction).    You can't be held liable for not revealing conditions about which you are unaware.   Also, as Executor, you do not have to give your mortgage information (they will ask anyway) or ANY mortgage information or personal details other than identifying details like name and address.  It isn't your mortgage, if one still exists. ]

 

How many listings do you have right now? 

How many listings in the (name area) do you have? 

 

How many Buyers did you represent last year? 

 

What do you do above simply listing the property in the MLS system to get it sold?

 

When do you recommend we go on the market?

 

What is your commission rate?  (This will be pretty fixed, though they all say it isn't). 

What price do you recommend for this house, and why?  Can you show me the comps? 

 

Stuff like that.  I've been singularly unimpressed with Realtors and their posturing, but I did find a fabulous flat fee realtor who does an amazing job.  I only pay a fee to her up front and then the Buyer's half of the commission.   I've sold every house that way in the last decade and two of my neighbors used her too, on my recommendation, and saved thousands of dollars.  You might check to see if there is anyone like this in that area.  She was the best decision I have made is selling my houses (own houses and rentals). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I did exactly what you are doing and wanted top dollar, because it wasn't just for me (there were heirs).   I tried an auction first, but got offers far below value.  I was not obligated to sell so I didn't. 

 

The Realtor was terrible and I hope you have a better experience. 

 

But what did help me sell at the right price was repainting the entire house, and removing the carpet over hardwoods.  I did replace a damaged bathroom vanity too.   These are all handyman type jobs.  Everyone wants hardwoods.  But if you can do nothing else, even if you just paint, that really helps it seem fresh. 

 

Questions I would ask: 

 

How many listings did you have in 2016?

How many of those listings did you close?  How many did not sell?

 

What is the ratio of sales price to listing price on your listings (Did the Realtor get 98%, 88% of listing price?  What?)?

What are your recommendations for a fast sale with the least amount invested? [state that you are the Executor, which will mean you do not have to fill out the Statement of Condition form since you were not in a position to know.  You can just sign it and state "Do not know" across the board (or however that is done in your jurisdiction).    You can't be held liable for not revealing conditions about which you are unaware.   Also, as Executor, you do not have to give your mortgage information (they will ask anyway) or ANY mortgage information or personal details other than identifying details like name and address.  It isn't your mortgage, if one still exists. ]

 

How many listings do you have right now? 

How many listings in the (name area) do you have? 

 

How many Buyers did you represent last year? 

 

What do you do above simply listing the property in the MLS system to get it sold?

 

When do you recommend we go on the market?

 

What is your commission rate?  (This will be pretty fixed, though they all say it isn't). 

What price do you recommend for this house, and why?  Can you show me the comps? 

 

Stuff like that.  I've been singularly unimpressed with Realtors and their posturing, but I did find a fabulous flat fee realtor who does an amazing job.  I only pay a fee to her up front and then the Buyer's half of the commission.   I've sold every house that way in the last decade and two of my neighbors used her too, on my recommendation, and saved thousands of dollars.  You might check to see if there is anyone like this in that area.  She was the best decision I have made is selling my houses (own houses and rentals). 

 

These are great questions. There are also other heirs, so I'm trying to strike a balance. I don't want anyone to get shorted, but at the same time, I don't have the energy for a big house remodel, plus we would have to front the money for that out of our personal account and get it back at closing. The estate doesn't have enough cash on hand. 

 

I'm not looking forward to the process at all! 

 

As far as the statement of condition form - do I have to disclose things I absolutely know? My dad finished the basement as a DIY project, but didn't get any permits or inspections done. I was thinking I'd have to disclose that. I was living there when he did that, so I absolutely know it happened. 

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We found a good realtor on our fourth try. Not kidding. Things that stood out about him that maybe is what made him the right fit.

- his other listings were priced at a range in which ours fell in the center. He wasn't listing mansions or low end fixer uppers.

- his listings were not all in one tight geographical area. My ils found out (the hard way)that those types often have inside business going on that favors the insiders.

- great online reviews

- not a clearing house, he didn't sell hundreds of houses a year, but enough to make a pretty nice living for himself an his family.

- he was young and questioned some of the common talking points about real estate. (I.e. Real estate season: since he closes more houses in October than any other month)

 

That might help a bit? We sold out of state too.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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These are great questions. There are also other heirs, so I'm trying to strike a balance. I don't want anyone to get shorted, but at the same time, I don't have the energy for a big house remodel, plus we would have to front the money for that out of our personal account and get it back at closing. The estate doesn't have enough cash on hand. 

 

I'm not looking forward to the process at all! 

 

As far as the statement of condition form - do I have to disclose things I absolutely know? My dad finished the basement as a DIY project, but didn't get any permits or inspections done. I was thinking I'd have to disclose that. I was living there when he did that, so I absolutely know it happened. 

 

Well, if there are heirs, put them to work. My nieces and nephews showed up to clear out.  They were pretty happy when I showed up with a check later (though they did not anticipate this).   If you think they can do an excellent job, have them remove carpets over hardwoods (carefully - so many gouge the floor with the utility knife!).    Tell them if you all work together, the house brings in more money so you are going to assign some jobs. 

 

Make a list of everything that needs to be done and put in a couple of long weekends, if you can.   It is really worth it to clear thousands more. 

 

Did your dad actually tell you specifically that he got no permits, or did you just not see him do it?   Actually, here there are three options about what you know, "yes", "no", and "do not know".    I would first check and see if a permit was even required for what he actually did.  Unless you are moving plumbing, gas,  or electricity, you don't need permits for most do-it-yourself jobs in my state.   I don't know what the project was, but I would be honest on the statement and simply say I had no knowledge of whether a permit was drawn or necessary for (installing a floor, or building a workshop table or upgrading a room), in vague terms.   You need to know what the state requires before you can know if he even needed a permit.   Most homeowners don't get or need them for simple projects not involving gas, water, or moving electrical lines.

 

  Don't get too specific about the project on the form. 

Edited by TranquilMind
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Plumbing for a bathroom was studded - he added the bathroom. Electrical was in the basement (there were overhead lights), he ran wires and added outlets, light fixtures, etc.. 

 

My family is not able to help with physical work, sadly. 

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Also ask if the agent has any experience with estate-owned house sales. Depending on where you live, the laws surrounding a sale by an estate can impact how the sale goes and the time-line. You may have a fiduciary duty to maximize the proceeds, which can mean that even after accepting an offer, you have to be open to other offers, and the p&s should reflect this. I also often see estate sales offered "as-is," so there is no potential recourse back to the heirs after the deal closes. Again, laws vary by location, so it is helpful to have a real estate agent and/or attorney familiar with the rules.

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Plumbing for a bathroom was studded - he added the bathroom. Electrical was in the basement (there were overhead lights), he ran wires and added outlets, light fixtures, etc.. 

 

My family is not able to help with physical work, sadly. 

 

So a professional studded the bathroom plumbing and your dad only added fixtures to the structure?  Am I reading that correctly? 

 

You can do that in your own home.

 

 

If this is the case, he didn't need a permit for simply finishing what was there.  You could have an electrician check out the electrical and give you a receipt that it is done to code.   

 

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So a professional studded the bathroom plumbing and your dad only added fixtures to the structure?  Am I reading that correctly? 

 

You can do that in your own home.

 

 

If this is the case, he didn't need a permit for simply finishing what was there.  You could have an electrician check out the electrical and give you a receipt that it is done to code.   

 

 

He pulled the wires for the outlets and for additional light fixtures. They would have to open up the walls to see that it is up to code. 

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He pulled the wires for the outlets and for additional light fixtures. They would have to open up the walls to see that it is up to code. 

 

I don't know why they can't just check both ends, and that power is running appropriately to each outlet.  My electrician just redid all of my outlets at a house and he didn't have to open walls to find problems. He found some while checking in the box and at both ends.  I mean I guess he can't guarantee someone didn't do a stupid thing somewhere but if it is measuring appropriately at both ends, that's all they normally check, in addition to basements, crawls, or attics. 

 

The guy who inspects the house isn't going to open walls either.

I would just reveal what you know for sure.  You didn't do the work, so you really don't know what Dad did, though I'm sure you can check to see if your state law requires permits for what he did do.  Here, he would be ok, except for the electrical and I would just have my electrician check it out and state that all seemed to be done to code. 

 

 

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