What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Selling Your House
If you haven’t sold or bought a house in the last several years, you are in for a shock in todays’ market. In days gone by home owners put their house on the market and they would have two or three offers and often time there would be a bidding war. Although bidding wars do occasionally happen in todays’ market, it is a rarity.
Sellers’ and buyers’, for that matter need to be aware of the significant changes that are occurring in the market and be prepared to handle it accordingly. It is absolutely critical that sellers and buyers be cognizant of how the Internet plays into their plan. More often than not buyers will determine not to buy your house long before they every come to see it. Here are some tips for sellers that buyers already know.
- First and foremost, select a full service broker. Most of your larger real estate brokerage companies are full service. Your commission will be in the range of 5% – 7% but it will be well worth it. On average, a full service REALTOR® will sell your home for 17% higher than a for sale by owner, and it will most likely sell faster. Discount brokers fair no better. The days of simply putting your home in the MLS and waiting for an offer to come in are over. Properties must be marketed, not just listed.
There are a couple of things that I like to point out that your REALTOR® should be doing. First of all, even with the best of cameras in cell phones and iPads, those pictures cannot compete with photos from a professional photographer. If your agent says they can take pictures with their smart phone – find another agent.
Second, have a serious conversation with the presentation of the home and above all else, do not be offended if your agent points out things that need to be cleaned or repaired. Their job is to sell your house in a timely manner and get you the most money they can. Be receptive to their comments.
- Price your house to sell! It seems to be a universal belief in humanity that a persons house will miraculously sell above the market price. The thing to remember is that the seller determines the listing price, but the buyer determines the selling price. Price your house to sell – period. Review the comps that the agent has provided, but understand that the price is not going to be determined by what you want for the house or what you owe. Usually the sellers thinking goes something like this: “If I ask a higher price, I always have room to negotiate.” What sellers fail to realize is that quite often you limit the number of buyers who want to buy at the price point that you should be listed at. Trust your REALTOR®
- Fix the house before listing it! I suggest that a good approach is to have a home inspection done prior to listing your home. This will identify many of the things that a buyer will see or will have identified on their home inspection. It is good to have as much of the stuff repaired before listing the house. I remember one listing I had that the sellers had a sliding glass door that lead to the deck. I could probably rip open the back of an armored car easier than slide that door open. When I pointed it out to the sellers, their response was placing your hands like this and it would open. Makes no difference if you know how to open it, every single potential buyer tried to open that door and had difficulty. The house never sold. There is a belief that if you have a home inspection prior to listing your house and the inspector points out a serious problem, that the sellers will now be required to report that finding on their disclosure document – and that is true. However, if a potential buyer has a home inspection – and most of them do – and that inspection identifies a problem, the sellers must still report the finding.
- Sell first, then buy. If you are thinking of buying a new home, but you have a house to sell, I suggest that you sell your house first, and then buy the home you want. That doesn’t mean that you don’t start looking early on, but get the ball going with selling your home before making offers on a house you want to buy. It puts you in a much better negotiating position when buying if you already have a contract on the home you are selling.
- Clean and declutter. This is one area that cannot be overstated. Without fail, the day you decide to go to work with the beds unmade, dirty breakfast dishes on the table is the day that an agent will show that property to a potential buyer. And don’t even think of having the showings set up with a 24 hour notice – that eliminates too many buyers. When it comes to declutter, I suggest that you rent a storage facility and place anything and everything that you do not need for the next few months in there. The more you declutter, the larger your home looks. I also suggest that you hire a cleaning service to come in and deep clean your home. From wiping down walls to cleaning carpeting. If you can arrange to have them come in every couple of days, all the better.
If you are thinking of selling or buying, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.
As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.