What to expect from your Real Estate Agent when you decide to sell your home
When homeowners decide it is time to sell their home they begin the process by choosing a real estate agent to list their home. Often sellers ask family, friends and neighbors for recommendations. It is a very personal business relationship and many experts suggest that homeowners speak with several real estate agents to determine the best match. It can also benefit the homeowner to receive numerous listing price comparisons to better understand the current market conditions. The real estate agents will provide you with a detailed market analysis to determine the market value of your home by comparing your property with recently sold comparable properties. They will list your home for sale in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and provide marketing and other advice related to the sale.
Your agent may also make recommendations regarding repairs, staging, and other updates to assist with the sale of the home. Curb appeal is important and a professional real estate agent can view your home through the lens of a potential buyer. Their suggestions are based on what they hear when they show a home.
A Massachusetts seller’s agent (also known as a listing agent) will also inform you of certain legal obligations – such as the requirement to have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, the obligation to fulfill the requirements of the lead paint law for homes built prior to 1978, and inspection requirements for homes serviced by private septic systems.
Once the process has begun and offers are made on your property it is the seller’s agent’s responsibility to present all offers to you and negotiate offers on your behalf. He or she may also make recommendations or offer advice if the buyer requests repairs or price adjustments after receiving a home inspection report. A listing agent has a fiduciary duty to the seller to negotiate in your best interests and keep confidential your personal information.
In Massachusetts real estate agents are prohibited from providing legal advice. They may not draft contracts beyond filling in the blanks on standard REALTOR® Association forms, such as an Offer to Purchase or a Purchase and Sale Agreement. An attorney licensed to practice law in Massachusetts must draft any addenda or significant changes to these forms. In addition, real estate agents may not draft a deed or any other legal document related to the sale of a home. Real estate agents should not provide other legal advice such as your legal rights and obligations under a purchase contract, zoning advice or opinions, or advice regarding title matters.