Reader Question: What are the top 5 points people overlook when thinking of selling their home soon? – Liam A.
Monty’s Answer: Liam, this is a thoughtful question. There are several issues often overlooked when putting a home up for sale. Here, are a few of the reasons why this happens:
- Human nature often seeks the path of least resistance.
- There are widespread myths and opinions about how to go about listing it.
- Real estate seems much simpler than it is.
- Consumers sometimes assume all real estate agents are the same.
Here are the most often overlooked items. They are crucial steps if you are seeking the best results.
1. Sellers do not take time to gather the information needed to make the best decisions. The information involves a number of different steps in the home selling process; a.) agent identification, interviews and selection. b.) knowing the specific information needed to determine your home’s range of value. c.) not understanding the key factors in setting an asking price and market strategy. d.) losing track of market activity after you put the home on the market. e.) understanding the vital points in negotiating.
2. Sellers misunderstand what is necessary in choosing an agent. Like most other businesspeople, agents prefer not to have competition. Sellers willing to take the time to interview at least three agents make a more informed selection. Sellers also have a tendency to hire their agent for the wrong reasons. Some of those reasons are:
- The agent showed us a home we liked.
- The agent was referred by a good friend.
- We go to the same church.
- We are related.
- The agent seems like an honest person.
None of these are compelling reasons to hire an agent. The only real way to know is to experience working with them. Because that is not possible until you do hire them, the next best thing is to seek to understand what this relationship will be like by asking them direct questions about certain tasks you will be expecting them to perform if you hire them. You want to get a sense they know how to perform the following tasks well:
- Provide straightforward and correct answers
- Draft a clear and concise contract
- Proficiency at determining value
- Understanding your situation and goals clearly
- Committed to completing the required tasks correctly on a timely basis.
The other fundamental idea to be aware of relates to the concept of agency. If you go into the relationship understanding the agent is working for themselves first, you will be less likely to experience a letdown or what you ultimately see as a betrayal or lack of confidence in their actions.
3. Many sellers and agents do not follow a marketing plan. Your marketing plan is a function of your personal circumstances and the actual conditions of the market in your neighborhood. Oftentimes, sellers want to be the singularly best buy in the neighborhood so they price their home so it will be the next to sell. Others have circumstances where the luxury of time allows them to gauge the market and test the validity of the range of value by starting at the very top. Learning what prospects liked or objected to about the home offers clues as to actions to take when patterns emerge. Having a tailored plan and executing on it increase the chances of a satisfactory outcome.
4. Sellers most often do not know enough about the appraisal process to develop a true sense of value themselves. Determining the range of value for a home is not near as difficult as many sellers and buyers imagine. This is a critical element of the real estate selling process and may be the most powerful knowledge in the transaction. Real estate advisors suggest that when negotiating “you should know where to start and where you will stop.” I agree, provided your knowledge of when you will start and stop came to you through understanding and reason, not a gut hunch.
5. Sellers may not properly prepare the property to enter the market. It is easy to rationalize away the decision to spend money on a home you are about to sell with the idea “if a buyer wants us to paint the trim, let them ask us for that in the offer.” Many sellers take that approach because it is the easiest. In thinking about how most home buyers behave, they essentially buy the house they can not eliminate. If there are two homes that are identical except one needs the trim painted, they will buy the home with no work to be done. When looking at the arena you are about to jump into, and understanding how many of the prospects behave, the decision to eliminate objections by fixing them beforehand becomes much easier to accept.
Liam, if you have other questions please ask me. Good luck with the sale of your home.