THINGS THAT REALTORS® WISH THAT SELLERS UNDERSTOOD COMING OUT OF THE GATE.
#1: If you want to sell your property the only way to do it is to price it correctly. Curb appeal is important, attractiveness is important, the right REALTOR® is important, MLS and marketing is important, but none of these things matter one whit if it’s priced too high.
The only way to price your property correctly is by looking at the current actives and the recent sold listings in your market. The actives are your competition – you have to put your price in line with the lowest of that competition. The solds are what an appraiser will look at when they determine the value for your buyer’s loan.
I’m sorry, but it does not seem to matter whether or not those comps are short sales or foreclosures – they are still the comps. You might get a little bit of leeway from an appraiser (maybe 5%) for the fact that you’re not selling a foreclosed house, but not much. Please accept that you are competing with foreclosures and short sales and our asking price has to be in line with them, whether we like it or not.
The extras that you have to offer (like a pool or landscaping or top of the line appliances) will help us to sell your property more quickly, but extra features do not automatically equal extra money in your pocket.
“But that pool cost me $20,000!”
I hope that you enjoyed it greatly!
We can no longer price a property by adding up what you owe plus what you want to walk away with. We also can no longer add up how much money you have invested in the property over the years and think that THIS is what it’s worth, either. It’s sad, but I think that the days when we could set prices based on what you have in the property or what you want to get out of the property are long gone. Reality is reality. I wish that I could change it for you, but I can’t.
Example? I have a fountain pen. I’ve had this fountain pen for years – it’s a good pen and I like it. Today, though, maybe it’s time to get a smaller pen, or a pen that’s closer to my children, or just a pen that involves less maintenance and overhead.
I spent $10 for this pen, and now I would like to sell it. Even with depreciation I figure it must be worth $7.50. The catch is that somebody who is in the market for a pen like mine can go to Wal-Mart and buy a brand new one for $3.50. So why would they give ME $7.50?
Well, they won’t.
If I’ve listed my pen with a pen broker, maybe now I’ll get mad and blame the pen broker when nobody wants to pay me what I want. I’ll get a new pen broker and be mad at the old one.
You’re right. This makes no sense, but people try to do it all of the time.
#2: Listen to your REALTOR®. We know this market, we know the neighborhoods, we know marketing. I love when a client says “My cousin who is a REALTOR® in Far Away says that you should blah blah blah………..to get it sold.” The next time I hear that one, you know what? I’m going to scream. Seriously. Try me.
Aunt May in
PLEASE don’t ask me to buy print ads. PLEASE don’t try to require that I hold an open house. I might do both of those things, but I probably won’t because I have not observed that those things have much of an impact anymore.
Remember, I don’t get paid until your property sells. I have great motivation to market it competently and correctly. Listen to me and don’t tell me how to do my job. (Don’t get me wrong – I will listen to your ideas, I just may not agree to implement all of them. I will also tell you why I’m not agreeing.)
#3: Commission should not be one of the negotiable items in a sale. You hired me, I’ve done my job, now don’t kick about paying me what we agreed to and what I have earned. You didn’t hire a generic broker, you hired me.
#4: You must disclose. If you know something that could conceivably affect the price that a buyer will be willing to pay, you must disclose it. This is the law, not just my opinion or my ethics and morals. (There are exceptions for murder, suicide, sex offenders in the neighborhood and HIV/AIDS, but you MUST sing out about everything else.) If you don’t disclose, your buyer could sue you when they eventually find the problem, when the neighbor or the plumber says, “Oh, yeah. That was always bad.”
If I know that you are not disclosing or if you (God forbid!) instruct me not to disclose a material fact I will fire you.
#5: Smell is important. Buyers might not realize it, but they form an immediate opinion of how they feel about a property based on that first whiff as we open the door. It’s primal and it’s powerful.
know about smoking inside, you know about pet odors, you know about general
cleanliness. BUT did you know that
squirtsquirtfoofoo spray (or plug-ins, or incense, or candles) can be just as
bad, and sometimes even more off-putting than a musty smell? If you use that stuff, environmentally
sensitive buyers will not be able to go into your house. Bleach, Pine-Sol, Fantastico, Febreze, Glade,
#6: Stuff. Different REALTORS® have different opinions about how you can best present the interior of your house. Some of us say “Make it look like a model home! Make it sterile, and I want no more than 2 motel pictures on each wall! Oh, OK - if you insist you can have a plastic plant.” Others say, “It’s OK if it looks a little personal. It’s interesting. Besides, you live here.” Obviously, I agree with the second bunch.
We REALTORS® do all agree that too much stuff is detrimental. Stuff that a buyer may find offensive or could misunderstand is detrimental. (Nudes, Dia de Los Muertos, great big overtly religious imagery, Nazi or Confederate memorabilia…… You get the point.)
We do need some spaces that can seem like a blank canvas to a buyer. We need rooms that look as big as possible - too much stuff can make a room or a house seem small and claustrophobic.
We need light and we need clean. We need a buyer to be able to look at the property and picture themselves living there.
I could go on and on, but it’s not necessary. Your REALTOR® is a professional. We’re highly trained, we know what we’re doing, we care, and we do a good job. Trust us. Listen to us.