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More Selling 101: What Your Broker Will Be Doing and FSBO

Curbed University: We guarantee it to be the most non-boring expert advice you have ever gotten about buying, selling and renting a home in the Hub (not a guarantee). Additional questions welcomed through the ever-trusty tipline.

So you're selling your Hub home and you've found the perfect broker for hit, and you want to understand exactly what he or she might be doing on your behalf (you'll be paying his or her commission, after all).

How long will me and the broker be working together?
Months at least. While some Hub homes fly off the proverbial shelf, most take an average of 100 days or much more. Even after a buyer is found, it can take weeks to close the deal (more on what happens at a closing tomorrow).

What's the broker doing, then, during this time?
Well, the big thing: showing your home. You should be prepared to keep it in reasonably tip-top shape. The broker might even suggest "staging" it—that is, placing furniture, sometimes new furniture, just so; storing away (a.k.a. hiding) extraneous things like cribs; just generally making the home look like what you'd want it to look like for the types of buyers you're trying to draw. Staging costs can be covered by the broker and his/her brokerage, or shared by you and them (work it out ahead of time); or, as is more typical, covered by your entirely (note: you don't have to stage a darn thing—just run a vacuum over the rugs).
Other than staging and showings, the broker will be marketing your home through his/her brokerage's website and other marketing materials. The broker will be working contacts on the buyers' side; will be keeping up with comparably priced and sold homes in your area; and will be relaying this all back to you on a regular basis, per a schedule you might want to work out ahead of time.
One more thing: Beware the broker who puts out random feelers, especially through Craigslist. Brokers should be working established contacts or targeting the marketing of your home to particular buyers (within the law, of course). They should not be simply tossing your listing into the wider pond, hoping somebody bites. More on choosing a listing broker can be found here in an earlier Curbed U. lesson.

Speaking of buyers' side, what about those agents? Do I need to worry about them?
No. Brokers for prospective buyers' will seek out your broker. The onus is on them, in fact, to do the running around and to generally see the home on your schedule (it's up to you if you feel the need to be present at each showing; it might not work out like that). You will be paying their commission, though.

Suppose I forgo a broker and sell the thing myself? Suppose that?
Fine. It's your property and your right; and you will not have to pay anyone a commission. “For Sale By Owner”—FSBO or FIZZ-Bo—has always been a rarity in Greater Boston. The obvious benefit to the seller is the option of not having to that broker's commission, which is usually set at that standard of around 6 percent (3 to the buyer's broker, 3 to the seller's). That can add up to tens of thousands of dollars saved.
If you go the FSBO route, you're totally responsible for marketing the property with a correct and enticing price, holding open houses, making and printing your own glossy marketing sheets, and going through all the motions that brokers make the (potential) big bucks to organize. This can be a trying process (or maybe you really have a deep desire to be a broker).

· Our complete Curbed University syllabus [Curbed Boston]
· Rookie Roosts Week 2012 [Curbed Boston]