Selling your home can be exciting, but it’s rarely easy, and anyone who tells you otherwise isn’t presenting you with the whole picture. There are challenges to face before you put your house on the market, hurdles to jump while it’s on the market, and plenty of stumbling blocks that could happen as you make your way to the settlement table.
Of course, no one wants to enter this process expecting the worst, but if you keep some things in perspective, you’ll find that your expectations will be a bit more realistic and that, despite some bumps in the road, you’ll emerge victoriously and not all that worse-for-wear. Take a look below at our list of things you should ponder before selling your house so that – as you proceed – you’ll know what’s in store.
Think carefully before choosing a Realtor friend to sell your home - Seriously, this rarely turns out well. The selling period can be such a stressful time and no doubt you’ll wind up blaming something that goes wrong on your Realtor and, in turn, he or she will be unhappy with something you’re doing or not doing. Though we’re sure this scenario has worked well plenty of times, those who have used a friend as their selling agent note that they’re always concerned about putting their friendship first and, as a result, their business relationship suffers. Friendships rarely emerge unscathed, especially if the home isn’t selling quickly or other problems occur.
Choose wisely – So, if you’re not choosing your friend as your agent or don’t have a friend in the business, how do you find a good real estate agent? Do your due diligence! Research brokers/agencies in your area, find someone who is successfully selling homes in your neighborhood, and don’t be afraid to interview several agents before you pick one. Visiting open houses is also a good way to meet prospective agents, especially those who are selling homes like yours. When you visit the open house, take a look at what the agent is doing to market the property and hang around a bit to get an idea of how good a rapport he/she has with potential buyers.
Get ready – You can’t decide to sell your house one day and then list it for sale the next day. Even the most seemingly perfect house needs some tweaking to get it market-ready. Perhaps give yourself four to six weeks to make repairs, paint, improve curb appeal, or tackle anything else that will make your home more appealing to buyers, which means you need to think ahead. For example, if you’re determined to put your home on the market by June 1, you’ll need to start thinking about it in April.
Carefully consider price – Everyone wants to get as much for their home as possible, but you need to be realistic about your pricing. If your chosen Realtor comes to you and tells you that the average home like yours in your neighborhood is selling for $250,000, don’t price it at $300,000. It’s okay to leave a little negotiating room, but when you price your home so far above what you can realistically expect to receive, your property will sit and sit and become an old, tired listing by the time you decide to lower the price. When buyers notice that a home has been on the market for an extended amount of time, they start to assume that something is wrong with it.
Ask how your home is going to be marketed – These days, tools used to market homes are much different than they once were. It used to be that a buyer walked into a real estate office and the agent on duty that day would sit down with them, pull out the Multiple Listing Book, and show what was available. Today, it’s largely about the internet and other technology including social media. Also, it’s important that your Realtor uses options such as video footage of your property rather than just still photos. Ask your Realtor if they use a drone to gather footage. Drone footage gives your potential buyers an overview of what your home has to offer.
Know that your house must be clean at all times – Do whatever it takes to keep your home looking pristine, and there is a list of home selling etiquette that should be followed by sellers. You never know when that perfect buyer might want to see your house, and they may not be able to wait until you have time to dust, vacuum, or fold yesterday’s laundry and remove it from the dining room table. Assign a time each morning or evening when you inspect to make sure everything is clean. It may involve getting up a few minutes early or staying up a little later, but it will be worth it if it means you never need to turn away any potential buyers.
Figure out what to do with your pets during showings – Face it, pets and house selling don’t go well together. Some agents and buyers don’t even want to go into a house where there is a pet, especially a large, intimidating dog. Furthermore, you may be shocked at the number of pets that get loose each year because they dart out the door when a real estate agent opens it. Sometimes the result is disastrous. So if you love your pet, make arrangements for them to be safe during showings. That may mean using a crate or even finding a doggie daycare or a friend who doesn’t mind keeping your pet temporarily when you’re not there to run interference. This will also keep your house smelling pet-free.
Remember that not all lookers are buyers – Perhaps you know people who spend their weekends going to open houses with absolutely no intention of buying any of them. Some are “looking for decorating ideas”. Others are just curious and some – probably your neighbors – are just plain nosy. So, you may find that out of 25 potential buyers; only two are serious about finding a home. That means your Realtor only had two chances to sell your home that day, not 25. Don’t get frustrated with him or her after just one open house and a few showings. There are a lot of so-called “tire kickers” out there! Give your Realtor some space and let him do his job, which includes cultivating “real” buyers.
Selling your home could take a while – Yes, even if it's priced right and your Realtor is doing a great job of marketing your place, it could take some time to find the right buyer, especially if your house is very specialized in one way or another. Even after it’s sold, it could be some time before you get to closing, especially if it involves the buyer getting a mortgage. So, again, you need to think ahead. If you need to be out by a certain date, give yourself plenty of time to get the job done before that date rolls around.
Spread the word – Remember; you can be a partner with your real estate agent. Yes, he’ll get the commission and the accolades, but whatever you can do to promote your home will be to your advantage. Spread the word verbally among family and friends and don’t hesitate to use your social media accounts to let friends know you’re selling. If your Realtor has a website, then find the page on their site that showcases your listing and share that link on your social media accounts.
Selling a home means being flexible, patient, and putting your trust in someone else. None of those are easy, but if you take a deep breath, relax, and let your Realtor guide you, you should emerge from the process relatively unscathed.