Get your house inspected before it goes on the market. Think about making repairs before they confront potential buyers. If buyers know about defects up front, they'll have time to get comfortable about them and factor the repair costs into their offer. But if they find out after you accept their offer, they'll feel blindsided and scared. Then your buyers will demand a lower price, and may even panic and pull out.
Not all agents are the same. They differ in judgment, knowledge, commitment, intelligence and toughness. That’s true of any profession.
Think about it. If an agent has to discount to stay in business, it’s because the market will only pay a discount price for his or her services. You’ll get what you pay for, and perhaps not even that much.
You may be thinking, “Won’t the money I save on the commission offset a mediocre agent?” No, a mediocre agent will cost you money by getting you a lower net price and by carelessly exposing you to a lawsuit.
And if an agent is willing to give away his own money to get your listing, he’ll be even more willing to give away your money to close a deal. You want an agent who stands his ground.
You’ll know right away—within the first two weeks—if your price is right. If no buyer is interested in your home by then, don’t wait for the “right buyer” to come along. Buyers are remarkably unanimous about what a house is worth. If no buyer steps forward within two weeks, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will ever step forward at your current price. You need to reduce the price or in some other way make your house significantly more attractive—and quickly.
Why not just sit and wait? Because the longer you do, the less your house will sell for. As the “days on market” number increases, your home’s credibility with buyers and agents quickly erodes. The lack of interest simply confirms their suspicion that your house is overpriced, or worse, that "something's wrong with it."
They say that the first offer is the best offer. The first buyer is the most motivated, the most willing to pay top dollar and the easiest to work with. If you're taking offers "as they come", respond quickly to that first offer even if it’s not the offer you’d hoped for. Should you stall and wait for another buyer to come along? Put off the first buyer and your best buyer may walk away for good.
When you get an offer, stay focused on the big picture. How much leverage do you have in the current market? Is the wind blowing in favor of buyers or sellers? Your buyer will know. Is it a fair offer considering the market? Your buyer will know that too. A seller who plays hardball or nickel-and-dimes a buyer without any leverage will lose that buyer forever.
What's your motivation for putting your house on the market? Are you prepared to take the price that buyers offer? Or will you sell only if you get your price? Do you have a plan if no one will pay that price? Reduce it? Wait for the “right buyer”? Take it off the market? Rent it?
be a listener
If your house doesn’t sell in two or three weeks, your agent may respond in one of two ways. The easiest way is to soothe you with happy talk. That’ll make you feel better—briefly—but it won’t sell your house. An agent with professionalism will give you candid feedback from potential buyers and their agents. It won’t be easy for you to hear the unvarnished truth about your home, but don’t take it personally. Your agent simply wants to do what you hired him or her to do: sell your house.
Interested in selling your home? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.