Advice to Sellers

Today’s buyers are smarter, savvier, and have lots of tools at their fingertips to research their purchase. There is no doubt that sellers need to prepare their homes for sale much more carefully, inside and outside.

It is well known in the real estate industry that the largest number of showings will take place in the first two or three weeks. The reason is simple: knowing that the local MLS system and the internet will show the house for sale as soon as it is listed, a majority of buyers will get a pop-up notice the moment the house is listed. Yes, you probably might have other people interested that will look later, but your efforts should be focused on those crucial first weeks.

Do the homework with your realtor’s help to price the house right from the start. Pricing it higher than the market suggest based on some decent comparative analyses, is simply foolish and an incredible time waster. Any half-way decent buyer today will do the minimal research to determine how much your house is really worth – do not underestimate buyer’s skills. Make sure quality comps are being used to price your property.

And when it comes to showing a clean house… it does not matter how much the seller can rationalize why it does not have to be really clean and neat – it has to be done. The statistics are simple – houses that are clean, neat and organized sell faster, with better offers. Just do it. And have someone else take a look at the end result – your realtor sees a lot of places, quick feedback can be provided.

Do not forget kitchen and bathroom countertops. Messy, disorganized countertops are simply uninviting to buyers. The more the house looks like it is ready to move-in, the better. It is human nature, people want to do the least possible when moving to a new place. Which means… take the time and spend the money to repair and fix whatever needs to be repaired and fixed – just about any buyer does not want to spend time and money fixing things – reducing the price a bit because something needs to be repaired does not replace the ‘put-off’ feeling buyers get when things are just not right. The least expensive things you can do for the house, to get the most benefit out of it, without a doubt is painting and carpeting. If you can afford it, focus on those two. It pays off. Seldom do you encounter a buyer that falls in love with the house when the carpet is obviously in need of repair.

Last couple of comments: Google your address (does it come up correctly?) – keep track of significant improvements – make sure the doorbell rings – clearly identify what items are not included in the sale – do not get emotionally involved in the sale process – make sure the house looks the best it can be from the outside – and keep an open mind when it comes to negotiate, common sense applies.

And last: the real estate agent you choose is far more important than the brokerage. The agent is pretty much the only contact with that company; agents are independent contractors who choose where to hang their license, and they will do a good job for you regardless of what brokerage company is involved.

Content adapted from various real estate blogs and websites


The Selling Process

Hire a professional real estate agent to list your home

Remember that the individual is more important to the process than the real estate brokerage with whom they are associated.

Find out how much your home is worth

Work with your agent to arrive at a logical price – avoid over pricing!
Be realistic – do you wish to sell your home or ‘inflate’ your ego?

Disclose everything that affects the value of your home

Generally, property inspectors are very skilled at what they do. The chances they will not notice that small ‘tell’ sign that your roof is about to cave in… well, good luck.

Get your home ready for sale

You have heard it a million times… clean, organize, stage if possible, no clutter – walk and see your home from room to room as you were seeing it for the first time – ask your realtor for feedback!

Marketing your home

While you can certainly tell whoever you wish that you are selling your house, leave the professional marketing of your home to the real estate agent. That’s his/her job. Trust that they have the means and savvy to make it happen right.

Showing your home

Follow all the advice you receive from your real estate agent. Understand the restrictions and impositions created when you allow your home to be shown. And following on the comment above, keep the house clean more often than – well, ever. You do not know when the ‘right’ buyer will walk in.

Navigating the negotiations

Just keep in mind that the first offers you receive are the most realistic and practical – sure, that is not always the case, and there are so many factors involved in your decision to accept any given offer (is it a cash offer? Is there financing involved? Is 100% financing involved?) – And working together with your agent to identify reasonable offers will go a long away.

Prepare for, and cooperate with the home inspection

This one should not be too complicated… it would help if everything described in the offer to sell the house is present (no missing chandeliers, blinds, security systems, kitchen hoods – you get the idea) and certainly, everything that has been disclosed in the initial disclosure documents is as described – no big surprises wanted at this stage…

Negotiate requests for repair

Reduce the price instead of fixing something? Is it reasonable and convenient? Common sense and good judgment should be the guides when it comes to this topic. It would be silly to lose the sale because a ‘reasonable’ request becomes a point of contention.

Be advised of buyer’s financial progress

Nothing worse than ‘spending’ ahead of time the money you expect to receive from the sale of the house, only to find out at the 11th hour that in fact the buyer did not qualify for the loan… painful and very stressful. Know as much as you can upfront, and have your realtor keep you abreast of any hiccups that might come up with the buyer’s financial process.

Buyer’s final walk-through

Do you have to be there… not necessarily, particularly if nothing has changed. However, in some situations, when there are a lot of variables (size of the property, various requests for repairs, etc.) it might make sense to be there with your realtor. Rule of thumb, always be present, or at a minimum, your realtor should be there to make sure things just go as smoothly as possible.

Attend closing

Sounds basic, but these days, there are so many option to conduct this final process… just be on top of it to make everything turns out just the way you wanted it. Closings are notorious for bringing some interesting traits from sellers and buyers alike – be prepared, read everything that has to be read and understand it before you sign.

Content adapted from various real estate blogs and websites


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