Brokers can offer tips to sell your home quickly


July 12, 1998

Dear Mr. Azrael:

I am looking to sell my home quickly, and I have seen ads about real estate brokers who buy homes. Can you fax me information so I can locate a broker and what questions I need to ask before selecting a broker?

-- Nancy McDowell


Dear Ms. McDowell: An experienced real estate broker or salesperson usually can provide excellent advice and service to market a property quickly.

Here are some tips on selecting a real estate broker to sell your home:

* Contact brokers who are selling homes in your neighborhood. Ask the salesperson (listing agent) for references and check them with other sellers and buyers. Ask referral sources whether the salesperson was delinquent in representing their interests.

* Ask the broker/salesperson to give you a market analysis showing how much comparable properties in your neighborhood have sold for recently. This will help you establish a listing price for your home.

* If you want to sell your home quickly, request advice on the listing price from the broker/salesperson. The broker/salesperson may suggest that you ask for a realistic price that is not above the market. They also may suggest that you consider offering to pay a portion of the buyer's closing costs as an additional incentive.

* Discuss the broker's commission rates, and make sure you understand the broker's listing contract. Ask questions about commissions, specific services the broker will provide (advertising, open house), the term of the broker's listing (how long the broker has to sell the property), and how much notice you must give to cancel the listing.

* Give the broker/salesperson accurate information about the property's condition. Discuss whether any repairs or fix-ups should be done to make the property more desirable before you list it.

* After you select a broker, ask the listing salesperson to communicate with you regularly about how many calls have been received about your property and how many showings have been given. A good real estate salesperson should be able to generate "traffic" for a fairly priced home.

* If you are dissatisfied with the service from the salesperson handling your property, discuss your concerns with the owner or office manager.

* Some brokers offer a "guaranteed sale" program. With this program, the broker agrees that if your home has not been sold within a specified time period (for example, 90 days), the broker will purchase the property at 75 percent to 80 percent of its appraised value. The property must be listed at a price that is agreed to by you and the broker. Periodic price reductions may be established if the home is unsold. An additional fee is often charged by the broker for the "guaranteed sale" program. You may obtain a "guaranteed sale," but usually at a below market price.


The Sun invites you to send real estate questions to Mailbag. Questions will be answered by Jonathan A. Azrael, principal at Azrael, Gann and Franz, a Towson firm with a concentration in real estate law.

Questions can be sent in the following ways:

Mailing address: Real Estate Mailbag, Fifth Floor, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md., 21278-0001. Fax: 410-783-2517. E-mail:

Our Sundial audio-response number: 410-783-1800. Enter code 6170 after the greeting.

Pub Date: 7/12/98

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