13 Facts You Need To Know When Listing Your Home
Let's face it. Time is valuable to both of us. You want to get your house sold for the highest possible price in the least time on the market with the least inconvenience to you - we get it. We want to make that dream come true - so let’s be honest with each other right from the start. This article won’t be for the faint of heart as I am being brutally honest.
“All Real Estate Is Local” - Know Your Local Real Estate Market.
Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Your local real estate agent knows more about selling your house than any national brand. Ask your Realtor to support his/her value opinion with recent closed sales data. Your neighbors asking price is a good source of humor but it is not something upon which to base an informed decision. If your Realtor can’t support their value opinion with closed sales data then find yourself another Realtor who can (and will).
A clean, uncluttered home sells.
I love your spoon cabinet and your collection of old newspapers but Your penchant for collecting is knocking cost time and knocking thousands of dollars off the market value of your home. You will realize a huge return on an investment of elbow grease. You want prospective buyers looking at your home, not your tchotchkes.
Sweat the small stuff.
Today's Buyers pay a premium for “turnkey” situations. They are not, for the most part, paying the big money for “fix-uppers”. Today’s buyers hate surprises. Have your house inspected by a licensed Home Inspector at the time of listing. Fix the sill plate, window cracks, cosmetic issues, etc.. Disclose the big stuff (dead HVAC, dry well, etc.) There is no bigger deal killer than undisclosed defects.
Don’t Discount Your House
Position your home to sell right from the get-go. The buyer for your home has been on the internet every day for months if not years. Your Buyer has saved “searches” on multiple sites. Your buyer is empowered with as much information as your listing agent. From the very first day that you list your home for sale, you will attract the most qualified, the most knowledgeable, and the most interested Buyers. At any given time there are a finite number of buyers “in” your local market. Your house is competing against similar listings to find one of those buyers. The first few weeks of your listing are critical to achieving your goal of achieving the highest possible price. A fresh new listing draws the attention of Buyers waiting for a new home. Buyers will swarm to a well-priced listing. A speculatively priced listing that stagnates on the market for months on end and slowly becomes stigmatized. Buyers assume something is wrong with the home or that it’s priced too high. If Buyers think that something is wrong, they’ll want a discount. Don’t discount your house! Price it right, and increase your chances of having multiple offers.
Don’t Pad The Bill
I’ll bet it's tempting, once you and your agent have priced your house, to add the costs of sale (commission, transfer taxes, closing costs totaling say 7.5%) and a “negotiating premium” (say 10%) to the asking price. Resist that thought. Adding 17.5% to your asking price may just price you right out of the market. You will do far better generating multiple offers today than you will wait months or years for an offer that you can “negotiate”. Selling your house is not a game.
Do you want your neighbors to love you?
Then first overprice your home and then pad the asking price. You will help your neighbor Picture this. Buyers are qualified to buy a certain price range so they’re looking at homes that they can afford. This includes your neighbor’s house. If your home is priced speculatively, these buyers will never see your house in the home search. It will be coming up in a higher price range competing for eyeballs against larger houses with more amenities This price range of home Buyers will look at your home but will skip over your home because they can buy a larger home with the same features for the same amount of money; why would anyone pay more for less space?
Never, Ever Turn Down a Showing Request
If your agent hasn’t already done so, I am going to do it for you: set your expectations up front. This will make the home selling process a lot easier. Selling a home is an unpleasant task. Even if you have a great agent who mitigates the inconvenience, you’re going to have to get your home ready, you're going to have to keep it ready; and, you’re normal everyday routine will be interrupted by showing requests. Knowing and accepting this up front will go a long way towards achieving your goals and can make the process a lot less painful.
Repairs left undone will cost you more money than the repair itself
Repairs that you’ve been meaning to do will be a lot less expensive to complete if you do them BEFORE you sell your home. Consider that washing machine that doesn’t work properly. You can get it fixed for $300. If a Buyers home inspector finds it, the buyer will, in their mind, see a $1,000 repair and may look more closely at all of your appliances. As you have worked so hard to get to this point you don’t want to lose this sale. In this case, your inattention to detail has granted the buyer negotiating “leverage”.
Buyers love to negotiate the home sales price after the home inspection
Remember the negotiating leverage you granted the buyer in the last paragraph? The inspection period will always welcome a skilled negotiator. Make sure the Realtor you hire, is an effective negotiator as they’ll be worth their weight in gold here.
Get out of the house now!
You are justifiably proud of your house. You have lived there for years, watched your children grow-up there, and see happy memories in every corner. Who better to “sell” this house to a prospective buyer? Your house is worth a fortune (to you). Buyers love to grill sellers who are present at home showings – it’s important for you to leave during showings for more reasons than one. First, you want prospects to be able to stroll through your home and feel comfortable - without you breathing down their necks. You want them to see themselves - not you - living in your home. Even more importantly, you don’t want to inadvertently give them any leverage A favorite tactic for Buyer’s Agents and Buyers is to try and find out valuable details that indicate you “need” to move. Don’t put yourself in that position.
We live in an age of instant gratification
Once the decision has been made to sell your home, it’s critical for your communications to be prompt and timely. Buyers demand instant response or they are off and running to your competitor. Respond to all offers promptly and in writing. Don’t look for shortcuts. Don’t respond verbally. Use digital ink (DotLoop, DocuSign, etc...) to sign and initial offers. Delays can kill deals and irritate all parties resulting in lower sales prices. Be available, prompt and courteous when selling a home.
How does your house look through a three-inch window?
Next time you are at the grocery store, watch what the people in front of you are doing in the check-out line. That’s right, they are surfing real estate listings on their hand-held devices. Their eyeballs are glued to well-framed high-def pictures and video - not words. Poor quality photographs homes will have Buyers snubbing their noses at your home.
Experience sells – Hire a skilled Real Estate professional.
This is why you pay brokerage fees. Experience gets homes sold the most amount of money in the shortest time on market for the least possible inconvenience to you. Your choice of a real estate broker & agent matters.