If you’re in the other category, home buyer, I’d almost rather you don’t read this. I don’t want you mad at me. But if you are, and you do, then at least please reach out to us for our strategy to maximize the home-buying opportunity and process. There are techniques for buyers to help them get the home and get the best deal available.
Home sellers, DON’T DO THESE 8 THINGS:
- Sell “For Sale By Owner“. Annual surveys by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) has shown that, in normal times for sale by owners or Fizbos we call them (FSBO), net 13% less than those who use a real estate agent. The disparity in THIS market is much greater! That’s because a) the FSBO buyer wants that same percentage off the price that you want to add to your net proceeds. And b) While you’re negotiating with that friend, friend of a friend, relative, or neighbor who knocked on your door, there could be ten others anxious to compete for your home. Yes, this market is hot! And it’s not unusual to get multiple offers, ranging from 2% to 15% and more over the current market value when the property is exposed to the greatest number of qualified buyers, all at once. There’s never been a stronger reason to have a good real estate professional engaged than right now, to incite a bidding war, and vet the bidders so you get the one that will pay the most and not crash the deal over inspection, appraisal, or anything else!
- Make home improvements, expecting a profit on them. It’s natural to look at your home and see those updates and projects that you think the house needs, and believe that if you complete some of those, you’ll get significantly more for the house. Many don’t realize until it’s too late that everything you do to improve an older house just illuminates the next thing the house needs to bring it up to date. So, the value of what was just completed is diminished by the perceived cost the next thing that needs done. And according to numerous national reports, published annually, most home improvements don’t cover the cost of completing them. Kitchens and bathrooms come the closest, if you don’t get crazy with the finishes. We find it’s better to optimize what you already have by applying the 3Ds (Declutter, Depersonalize, and Deep Clean) and having the home staged.
- Using Zillow to determine your home’s value. Algorithms are great for many things, but they fall short when pricing your home because no computer can know your home, it’s idiosyncrasies and foibles, or the significant influences of your location, setting, views, or actual condition of your home versus the others in their database. I have seen Zestimates that hit it on the nose, but a stopped clock is right twice a day too. A good REALTOR knows the local market and knows which properties, active, pending, and recently sold, are relevant, and they know how to apply that information to more accurately advise you on that most critical element of offering your home for sale, price.
- Using discount brokerages, or using a friend or family member as your agent. If you believe that all real estate agents do the same thing and get the same results, then just call that service on TV that promises great results for a super-low commission rate. But first, imagine what real estate agent they’ve hired that will work for significantly less than even the average traditional REALTOR. Or use that friend or family member who is recently licensed or working part time in real estate, so you can help them out. But when one of the 1000 (I don’t know the exact number but it’s big) moving parts gets overlooked or mishandled, and it costs you thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars to rectify, it won’t bode well for your relationship with that individual. Of course, your odds are much better if that friend or family member is a full-time, successful veteran of the profession, though the risk to the relationship remains.
- NOT decluttering, depersonalizing, and deep cleaning (KC’s 3Ds). Buying a home is an emotional process, and rightfully so. Whoever buys your home will make memories there for years to come; it will be their sanctuary; and it will represent them to their family and friends who come to visit. So, they are feeling everything from the moment they pull onto your street and pull up to the house. Some things make them feel happy (flowers/sparkly clean appliances). Some things make them feel anxious (sticking doors/ old, dirty mechanicals). Some things make them just feel icky (dirt/grime/mouse droppings). Our objective is to appeal to the feelings of everyone that looks at the house in a way that has them excited from start to finish. You can’t make them like everything. But you’ll be surprised how much you can keep them from disliking with some preparatory effort on your part.
- Not making critical repairs because “It’s always been fine for us”. “That 38-year-old roof has never leaked!” or “That old boiler has never failed us.” And on and on. I’ve heard them all. Truth is, nothing fails until the day it does. That’s why a new life insurance policy is more expensive for a 65-year-old than a 25 year old. You may not need to repair that roof to get it on the market, but you should be prepared to fund it for the buyer who knows that it’s past it’s serviceable life. And have the boiler serviced. Show the clean bill of health to the buyer so they can relax and not worry that they’ll have to replace it soon. They just pushed themselves over their own comfort zone just to afford your house in this market!
- Unecessarily dictating how and when your home can be shown. There is one home buyer you want the most. That’s the one who will pay top dollar and offer terms and conditions that will most likely result in a smooth and painless transaction for you. The problem is, we don’t know which buyer it is until they see the house and send their offer. They may be the one that is in from out of town and, on the last day, decided to bump their price for the right home in the right location. If you can’t facilitate that showing on the day and time they have available, you can’t have that buyer. Maybe the second best or the third-best buyer, who can work around you, will suffice. Just remember that this is a short period of inconvenience to accomplish a significant objective so you can move forward.
- Not listening to your real estate professional. Lastly, and here’s your best opportunity to call me arrogant, but a seasoned and successful real estate agent who’s closed thousands of home sales probably knows what he or she is doing. That said, I like to make a clear distinction about who we all are in this process. You are the boss! Your decisions may usurp your agent’s advice and even their strong recommendations. We are advisor and technician. But I highly recommend that you listen with an open mind and the respect warranted to this real estate professional who has achieved success using their methods and their knowledge. Again, you are the boss. But if a consensus is not in the offing, then the relationship, if not the entire objective, is probably doomed, and should not be entered into not be entered into at all.