I have seen it all!
Click here to watch my YouTube video of the Four Things I Want Sellers To Know
From the unmade beds to the overstuffed garages to the “What were they thinking?” decor. Over the years, real estate agents learn a thing or two: Why some houses sell, while others linger on the market. Why some promising buyers never make it to the closing table. How to get a better deal on the mortgage. Even just how much the other agents stand to make on your home. And the good news is, they want to share. Whether you’re a buyer, seller or both, here four things real estate agents wish you already knew.
1. Selling A House Probably Takes Longer Than You Think
If you’re selling a home, it’s important to understand the timeline.
Underestimating the time it takes — and building a schedule around those unrealistic expectations — adds stress, Instead, realize how long the process takes in the real world (not just your head) and plan accordingly. Another important factor: Different markets (and price points) move at different speeds.
Here’s a typical sales schedule breakdown:
• Getting your home in shape: two weeks
• Average time on the market (varies widely with location and price): 2 1/2 to three months
• Negotiating after an offer: one week
• Preparing to close (assuming a traditional transaction): 30 to 45 days
What the agent wishes you knew: “A smart seller allows a minimum of four to six months to sell, Wiren says. And that’s if you have a home that’s priced right in a good market with one solid offer that makes it to the closing table.”
2. Want To Sell Quickly? Price It Just Under The Market
In today’s market, sellers are again optimistic on the value and price of their homes — “but buyers aren’t,” says Ron Phipps, principal with Warwick, R.I.-based Phipps Realty and past president of the National Association of Realtors. “Your challenge as a seller is to price the house so that it is compelling,” he says.
What that means in dollar signs: “Set a price slightly below market value,” he says. Just “a fraction.”
For example: If similar homes in your neighborhood are clustered around $210,000, you might price yours at $200,000 or $198,000, he says.
What the agent wishes you knew: “The longer a house is on the market, the less likely you are to get fair value. So you really want to position yourself to be the one that sells, not the one that languishes. Plus in our Central Florida market, many times when a home is price slightly below market value, it receives multiple offers and that ends up driving the price back up to what you were hoping for anyway. It’s a win-win, a quick sale and a great price!”
3. Yes, It Really Does Have To Smell Good
Sellers sometimes drag their feet on little details that make a big difference. I can’t count the number of clients who asked, “Does it really matter if we have the carpets cleaned or take the family photos off the wall?”
The answer is yes. A buyer needs to walk in and have it look good, feel good and smell good.
Sellers should put themselves in the shoes of prospective buyers — and try to see the house for the first time. (See my previous post Six Things That Turn Buyers Off).
The home should be kept showroom-ready. It’s a regular occurrence that I walk into a home with a buyer and find beds unmade, the kitchen a mess, and laundry on the floor. In spite of an appointment, I don’t see a home that’s ready.
What the agent wishes you knew: A mess leaves an impression that’s hard for a buyer to overcome. You want a potential buyer to see the house, not the mess. Would you want to move into a messy house?
Here’s a checklist for a showing:
• Home: Clean. (And smelling good.)
• Temperature: Heated (or cooled) for comfort.
• Lights: Left on to welcome guests.
• Snacks or soft drinks: A nice touch.
The impression you want: Warm, inviting, comfortable, and move-in ready.
4. We Don’t Make As Much As You Think
Chances are the agent you hire to sell your house — or find a new one — isn’t getting as big a cut of the deal as you might think, says Graham Stiles, senior vice president with Alexander Chandler Realty and HighRises.com.
“Six percent isn’t anywhere near what we’re taking home,” he says. In fact, it’s more like “1 percent to 1 1/2 percent,” on average, he adds.
While the two sides in a transaction will split that commission, those agents, in turn, each split their share with their broker.
What the agent wishes you knew: Unless your agent is handling both sides of the transaction, figure he or she is getting roughly one-quarter of the commission. And if you’re the buyer, you may not even know what the commission structure is because you never get to see it on paper. Some listing agents only offer 2-2.5% to the buyer’s agent for bringing a buyer.
These are just a few of the things I want Sellers to know—if you’d like to know more, contact me now. I’m here to help!