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Home & Garden

When Should You Contact a Realtor About Selling Your House?

When you’re getting ready to sell your house, there are about a million things on your mind. 

Declutter. Fix up the front lawn. Start your new home search. Repaint the bedrooms. Oh—and contact a Realtor®. 

If you’re like many people, you probably leave that last thing until you feel like your home is ready to put on the market. But is that actually the right thing to do? 

Here’s a quick guide to help you decide when to contact a Realtor® about selling your home. 

Start early—but not too early

Timing is everything—and that’s true during the home sale process, too. 

When it comes to contacting a Realtor®, a good rule of thumb is to do your basic preparations—necessary repairs, lawn maintenance, decluttering, and cleaning—before you contact an agent. 

You want to be able to show them a home that’s relatively ready to list, and ready for improvements, so that they can see its strong and weak points without having to look past obvious issues like a leaky roof or a seriously cluttered closet. 

Once you’ve made those basic maintenance and cleaning-out efforts, a Realtor® will be able to offer you much more specific, valuable guidance. He or she can tell you what improvements buyers in your home’s price range and location are looking for, as well as which updates you can skip and save money on. 

Give yourself time to interview several Realtors®

Another consideration when deciding when to contact a Realtor® is giving yourself time to talk to several. 

You may get lucky and find the right agent right away. However, it’s always a good idea to talk to several before committing, so you can be sure that you’re working with one who’s likely to get you the best possible results. 

The right Realtor® will not only be personable and knowledgeable of the local real estate market, but he or she will also be familiar with your particular neighborhood and area, knowledgeable of your local community, and familiar with what buyers in your home’s price range are looking for. Other tips for finding the perfect Realtor® include: 

  • Use technology and crowd-sourcing by searching online and looking at online review sites of agents you’re considering.
  • Establish your goals before you begin your search. Do you need someone who can sell your home fast? Are you willing to put in lots of time and effort to maximize your home’s value? Do you need to sell and buy at the same time? 
  • Consider whether you want an agent with a specialized certification, like the National Association of Realtors® Certified Residential Specialist, Green Designation, or others.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a shortlist of three or four candidates, you should call and interview each one to see who’s the best fit. 

If you’re also looking for a new home at the same time you’re selling, you’ll want to make sure the agent can help you as a buyer as well as a seller. To prepare for that conversation, consider using tools like a home affordability calculator so you have a good idea of what your price range will be post-sale. 

Deciding when to contact a Realtor® doesn’t have to be difficult. The most important thing to remember is that you want to give yourself enough time that you’re not hurried when it comes to choosing whom you want to help sell your house. By completing your basic home preparations first, and being ready to spend another month or two completing agent-recommended improvements, you’ll be in great shape when it comes time to list.