Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about home selling:

How much is the commission?

In the Real Estate business, this is one of the most asked questions. The answer is as important to the home seller as it is to the listing agent. An important consideration when establishing commission is to find out what level of marketing your agent is willing to provide. Will it be on MLS, or will it be exclusive? It is imperative that your home is listed at a competitive rate of commission so that it is attractive to the agents that may bring in the buyer. Instead of asking what the rate of commission will be, ask yourself “How much do I want to ‘net’ from the sale of my home?” If you receive the money that you need from the sale of your home at a competitive rate of commission, everyone will be happy.

What is the MLS?

The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is a service provided to real estate professionals whereby they can market your home to agents everywhere. The information on your home will be available on the MLS database and syndicated to subscribers via the Internet. If your home is not listed on the MLS, then a buyer may not find out about your home until after they’ve purchased another.

How long will it take for our house to sell?

This is a question that your agent can never answer. There are many factors involved in the length of time it will take for a home to sell. The most important being price. Most people have an idea as to what their home is worth to them, and it can be tough to decide on the right price. Often people look at what they paid for their home, or what they have spent on the house while they’ve lived there. Your home must be priced according to what other homes comparable to yours have sold for. This is where the comparative market analysis becomes the most accurate way to determine the value. Your Real Estate agent will provide you with the information necessary to price your home according to the current marketplace. The best way to see that sold sign go up quickly is to make sure that your home can compete with the other homes on the market as far as appearance and price.

Can other Realtors show people our home?

Surprisingly, many people don’t know that usually, any agent can show any home that is currently on the market. Often times people will jump from one agent to the next during their home search, not realizing that they can look at all of those homes with only one agent. Once you have your home listed on the MLS, you are allowing every agent the opportunity to bring clients in. When people choose to have their home listed on an exclusive listing agreement, their agent is able to co-operate with the other agents in the area so that they may bring their homebuyers to see your home as well. There are cases where a seller wishes to deal with only one agent during the sale of their home, but more often all agents can show all homes. Realtors have a moral obligation to their purchasers to show them every home currently on the market that may suit their needs, including the listings of other agents.

It is important to remember that the seller, the buyer, and both the listing and selling agents all have one common goal, and that is to have the sales transaction proceed as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

How is a home’s value determined?

There are several ways to determine the value of a home:

  • An appraisal is a professional estimate of a property’s market value, based on recent sales of comparable properties, location, square footage and construction quality. This service varies in cost depending on the price of the home. On average, an appraisal costs about $300 for a $250,000 house.
  • A comparative market analysis (CMA) is an informal estimate of market value performed by a real estate agent based on similar sales and property attributes. Most agents offer free analyses in the hopes of winning your business.
  • You also can find comparable sales information available on real estate sites such as Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. 

What is the difference between market value and appraised value?

The appraised value of a house is a certified appraiser’s opinion of the worth of a home at a given point in time. Lenders require appraisals as part of the loan application process; fees range from $200 to $300.

Market value is what price the house will bring at a given point in time. A comparative market analysis is an informal estimate of market value, based on sales of comparable properties, performed by a real estate agent or broker. Either an appraisal or a comparative market analysis is the most accurate way to determine what your home is worth.

What standards do appraisers use to estimate value?

Appraisers use several factors when estimating a home’s value, including the home’s size and square footage, the condition of the home and neighborhood, comparable local sales, any pertinent historical information, sales performance and indices that forecast future value.

What’s my house worth?

A home ultimately is worth what someone will pay for it. Everything else is an estimate of value. To determine a property’s value, most people turn to either an appraisal or a comparative market analysis.

An appraisal is an estimate of the value of a home at a given point in time. Appraisers consider square footage, construction quality, design, floor plan, neighborhood and availability of transportation, shopping, and schools. Appraisers also take lot size, topography, view and landscaping into account. Most appraisals cost about $300.

A comparative market analysis is a real estate broker’s informal estimate of a home’s market value based on sales of comparable homes in a neighborhood. Most agents will give you a CMA for free.

You can do your own cost comparison by looking up recent sales of comparable properties online at the county property appraiser's Website, Zillow, Trulia, and other real estate venues or just submit the form below to get an instant home value estimate (we will also send you a detailed report).