If you’re representing the sellers in a real estate transaction, you’ve probably been schooled in many of the basic steps you need to take to sell a home. The need to price the home right from the outset, to be on the top of your marketing game, making sure communication is happening and that paperwork, negotiations and appraisals are properly taken care of: All these things are basics that good agents will be familiar with. Nevertheless, there are elements of the transaction that sellers — especially first-time sellers — may need clarified that even an experienced agent may find it good to periodically remind themselves about.
1. The Best Time to Sell Depends on Their Circumstances
Some sellers may come to the transaction with fixed notions about what season is the best to advertise their home. It’s often recommended to sell in the spring, when sellers are likeliest to get top dollar for their home. On the other hand, some sellers may benefit from a market in which all but the most serious buyers have been filtered out, when there’s less competition, or if they have a home that particularly benefits from being staged for the holiday season. A good Realtor will be up to the challenge of selling in any season and can guide clients to the timing that’s best suited to their local market and specific property.
2. The Home Doesn’t Have to Be Perfectly Show-Ready to Sell
A lived-in home is, by its nature, not a flawless show home. While it’s important for sellers to stage their home for sale and do what they can to paint, repair and de-clutter it — endeavors that of course a quality Realtor can provide crucial help and guidance with — on the other hand, trying to erase any evidence of children, meals or daily activity is going overboard. Buyers are focused on what they have planned for the space, not on the minor details of what the people currently living there are doing. The key thing for sellers to do is provide as much access as possible in order to be competitive.
(The major exception to this is pet smells and dander. Nothing can deter potential buyers quite as quickly as a stray whiff of cat pee, and making sure carpets are cleaned and the home is pet smell-free really should be a priority.)
3. Open Houses May Be Worth the Effort . . . Or They May Not
There’s a wide range of opinions in the profession about whether open houses are worth doing or not. Even for agents who generally favor the open house as a selling tool, however — statistically an open house is rarely decisive, but perhaps you’re one of those who are particularly proficient at using them to advantage — it’s worth being clear with clients about the potential issues that can come with them. That can include security and theft issues, the chance of attracting unqualified prospects, nosy neighbors and even competing sellers and the potential of inhibiting one-on-one attention for really quality buyers. It’s important to be able to clarify for sellers, if they’re going to take on these and other risks, how you’re going to go about making those risks worth it.
4. Don’t Spend Too Much Time Agonizing Over the Listing Description
Listing descriptions can usefully list specific features of the home, but otherwise, sellers should know that their overall impact on the sale is likely to be minimal. It doesn’t much matter how “charming” or “spacious” the listing claims the home is; it’s ultimately up to the buyers to form their own impressions, and the broader marketing strategy is really best left to their agent. The seller’s time is better spent preparing the home, working out a broader sales strategy and working with their Realtor to nail down details like whether it’s worth it to offer a home warranty.
It all boils down to a basic agent’s role in the transaction: being honest with the client and making sure they have a realistic understanding of how various parts of the process work. The above tips may help your home-selling clients participate more productively in their home’s sale while alleviating some of the stress that can go with it.
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