In Connecticut to be entitled compensation an agent must have a contract with the seller. This contract
is the "listing agreement." The listing agreement establishes the terms under which the agent will
represent the seller. The agency relationship is a fiduciary relationship, which means that the agent
owes certain duties to the client (in this case the seller). These duties are established by the common
law of agency.
The duties owed the seller by law are five in number: care, obedience, accounting, loyalty and disclosure.
For a more detailed explanation please our article on agency.
In Connecticut sellers are required by law to furnish to potential buyers a "Property Condition
Disclosure Report" or credit the buyer with Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00) at the closing. The seller should prepare this report
honestly as undisclosed material defects can result in a law suit and possible damages. An agent should
not complete this report. The agent may only furnish the seller with a blank form.
Correctable physical defects in a property should usually be fixed prior to placing a property on the market. Most lenders require a home inspection. The home inspector is hired by the buyer to point out defects in the property. Condition affects the price and marketing time of a property. It usually pays dividends to place a property in top condition before offering it for sale. An effective agent can give advice on what repairs will enhance marketability.
In addition to placing a property into good physical condition, each showing should be done in a way
that the property shows to its best advantage. The house and grounds should be clean, there should be
no accumulated debris. When you move you will get rid of a lot of "junk." Instead of waiting for the
move have your tag sale and get rid of junk before placing the home on the market.
Keep the house clean at all times, showing may come on short notice. Make the beds when there is no one in them. Kitchen and baths are especially important. For evening showings, make sure each room is well lighted in a flattering way. Leave the showing to the agent. Agents know what features the buyer is looking for and what to emphasize. Your listing agent should be present to look out for your interests but it is not always possible. When your agent is not available it is better for the showing to take place than to lose a possible buyer. You should never show the property. The buyer's agent is capable of showing the property without any help. In fact, it is probably best if the family is not at home while the house is being shown.
Dogs and cats should be removed from the house during showing if possible. Be sure the house is odor free. Pet odor or a musty smell can turn off a buyer quickly. One way to make a house smell good is to bake some cinnamon rolls in the oven.
Houses seldom sell because of an open house. Generally, they are an unproductive use of the agent's time. Genuine buyers are working with an agent and do not attend open houses. Open houses attract people looking for decorating ideas for their own home and inquisitive neighbors. Only have an open house if your agent advises one.
You will need an attorney to help you transfer ownership of your property to the buyer. Your real estate agent cannot carry our that function as agents are not permitted to practice law. Make sure the attorney you select specializes in real estate. Do select an attorney specializing in real estate transactions. You can check several attorneys to find out what they will charge to represent the seller at a closing. If your transaction is involved with multiple loans or liens, expect to pay more. You may also want the attorney to check over the sales agreement before you sign. In most cases the standard form sales agreement is sufficient and the attorney will not have to draft a special agreement. If you need to know about your tax position you may want to consult an accountant as well. Don't expect your agent to be expert in legal or tax matters.