1. This May Sound Self-Serving, But Choose The Right Listing Agent
Our industry is rife with agents who don’t understand business, don’t know how to provide customer service, and don’t communicate well. They may “know real estate,” but they don’t know how to “do real estate.” This is evident from start to finish—from showing homes to closing deals.
Consider home showings, for instance. As a listing agent who represents home sellers, I frequently hear from my sellers about the bad habits of some buyer’s agents: They don’t turn off lights, close doors, or wipe their feet. They let their client’s kids run amok, they break things, and they show up unexpectedly. They even steal. Keep in mind, that’s really a minority of agents…but those problem agents do stand out! Ten agents may show up and behave professionally, but the eleventh damages the reputation of the previous ten by doing something unprofessional. It drives responsible agents mad!
My job is to minimize negative factors throughout the transaction. That starts with controlling the showing situation by managing the lock box, being strict about showing instructions, and helping you get your house ready for a bombardment of strangers. I’m here to help, and that may even mean helping you pack up your valuables to prevent theft or breakage.
No matter how you prepare your home, it will still be uncomfortable, simply because you have to keep your home in show-ready condition. Together we can work out a system to make it at least tolerable for the duration of your marketing time.
2. Keep Your House 10 Minutes Away From Being “Show Ready”
It is a huge pain to have to show your house. A Huge pain. There’s no getting around it. And the longer it takes to sell your house, the more painful it is.
So what can you do? The best option is move out first, but if that is not an option…
* Pack most of your belongings in preparation for moving (you need to do this anyway, just do it early). Live minimally in your house.
* Clean as you go. For some people that’s easy. But if your the type of person that struggles with that, bring someone in to help. Clean sells! If needed, it is worth every penny to have a professional come in a do a deep cleaning. Then it will be easier to do maintenance cleaning in the you still use while selling.
* Have a plan for leaving the house during showings. Take kids and pets and go for a walk, or to the park or shopping. Most buyers are in the house for less than a half hour.
3. Let Go Of The House Emotionally
I’ve sold a fair number of homes and I understand that no one loves your house as much as you do. You love the gardens you worked so hard on. You think the decorating is great. You adore your cherry wood kitchen cabinets. Your brand new expensive carpeting is the perfect color.
But buyers will still want to rip much of it out.
You might receive comments that will make you spitting mad, like opining that your paint is ugly, your stone fireplace is dated looking, or your light fixtures would have to be changed.
You must view your house as a commodity. Buyers are trying to fit themselves into “their” house, not fit themselves into “your home”.
4. Don’t Be The Tour Guide – Leave The House During Showings
In recent studies, Buyers actually react negatively to a home if the current owner is at the home during showings. Best practice — Don’t Be There!
If there are features of the home that may be overlooked, then having a “Feature” card is ideal. Then if the buyers are interested in the house, those extras will be a nice touch that can put them over the edge.
5. Know That You Will Hit Turbulence On This Flight
Once you get an offer, let your agent “pilot the plane”. If you are running ti the cockpit every time there’s a bit of turbulence, you’ll just distract the pilot…but you won’t actually change the turbulence. It’s much better to hire an excellent pilot in the first place, so that when ride gets a little bumpy, you are confident he or she will handle it correctly.
In real estate transactions there is ALWAYS turbulence. There is never not turbulence. Turbulence will happen. Always.
For example, a problem always seems to arise with the house itself, no matter how perfect you think it is. In many cases, the issue is something you didn’t know about. Or something you’d always lived with, but never thought of as a problem.
So what to do to be prepared? Here are a few things I would suggest, even before you start marketing your home:
* Have an advance home inspection to give you an idea of what an inspector might report about the house
* Be sure to have an “O&E” report done by a title company. This will prevent any surprises on the tile, such as old easements.
* Look through “the eyes of a buyer” to see the kind of issues that buyers might notice, such as stained carpeting or holes in walls. If you can fix it, go ahead. If you can’t, then don’t hide it…but don’t call attention to it either.
Even so, there will be surprises that none of us could foresee. Here are a few things I have encountered:
— A piece of drywall not being fastened properly, causing the buyers to demand that all of the drywall be replaced. (Solution: We provided a drywall inspection demonstrating there were no further problems.)
— A damp spot in the ceiling after rain, causing the buyers to demand an entire roof replacement, instead of the simple repair called for. (Solution: We asked the roofing company to certify that their repair would solve the problem and that the rest of the roof was in good shape.)
–Buyers claiming a repair was done incorrectly and refusing to close until it was redone…because the repair had not used “high-end” expensive materials. (Solution: We stood firm, politely letting the buyers know that thy didn’t have any grounds to prevent closing. Also we pointed out the Notice to Perform wording in the contract and we closed during our scheduled time.
When it is time for you to sell your home, I’m on your side, and ready to stand up for you. Together we’ll try to control the showings, eliminate problems during the showings, manage your time effectively, and stand up to the challenges that will create turbulence during the sale. Experience counts for a lot when it comes to working with a good listing agent. Call me for a consultation the moment you start thinking of selling.
About Bill Leeper
Bill is a founding partner of Your Colorado Home Group based in Denver and has a long record of successfully guiding local, national, and multi-national clients in buying, selling, and investing in real estate.
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