When you sign a listing agreement with the Realtor you have chosen to represent you in the sale of your home, you are creating an agency relationship. Under Illinois law, your agent must act in your best interest. In addition, they owe you the duties of confidentiality, disclosure, and accountability as outlined in the 5 duties below. You can and should expect your agent to:
- Prepare a Comparative Market Analysis
Your agent should be very familiar with your local market area and be able to provide you with a comparative market analysis, or CMA, which provides you an overview of homes similar to yours in the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, condition, and square footage. This analysis should include both a list of comparable homes that are currently for sale and a list of similar homes that have sold in the last 3 – 6 months. The current homes for sale will be your competition when your home hits the market. The recent home sales will give you an idea of what your home might sell for in the current market.
- Advise on Pricing
While the CMA your agent prepared will give you an idea of what similar homes have sold for recently, there are a variety of other factors that go into determining a list price for your home. Your plans for moving, home’s condition and current market conditions all need to be considered in your pricing strategy. Your agent should be able to provide context for you and help you decide on a list price based on this information.
- Expose Your Home to the Market
At a minimum, exposing your home to the market includes putting a for sale sign in your yard and listing it on the MLS which, in turn, populates consumer sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. But an excellent agent knows those are just first steps. They will do much more to make expose your home to active buyers including holding public and broker open houses; Facebook advertising; identifying agents working with buyers looking at similar homes in the area; responding quickly to phone or email inquiries; and reaching out to their database of potential buyers.
- Negotiate Offers on Your Behalf
One of the most important services agents provide is that of brokering the sale. That means accepting and negotiating offers on your behalf and ensuring that you are in an equal bargaining position as the buyer. In an arm’s length transaction, your agent represents your interests above all others and protects confidential information, such as your bottom line price or the date you need to be at your new job a state or two away, which might, if disclosed, give the buyer an unfair advantage in negotiation.
- Manage the Deal from Contract to Close
Finally, your agent should act on your behalf during the time between the time you have an accepted contract through to the close. They should ensure that contingency dates in the sales contract are being met. They should be in regular contact with the buyer’s agent, lender, and attorney, as well as your attorney, to monitor the progress, identify and communicate any potential hiccups in the timeline to you quickly, and counsel you concerning issues as they arise.