There is something to be learned from how home sellers have approached the often arduous task of putting their home on the market, and more importantly, closing the transaction.
Effective Habit #1: Be Realistic
What your neighbor sold their home for last year, or even last month, doesn’t matter. What you “lost” because you didn’t sell your home at the peak of the market doesn’t matter. Those fancy granite counter tops you had installed? You won’t recover every dollar you spent when you sell your home, and that holds true for any home improvement.
Selling a home ranks WAY up the list of “life’s most stressful moments”. But you have to understand and be realistic about your home’s value, your neighborhood, and the real estate market you in. There are many factors that impact the potential sale of your home. Many you have no control over (market dynamics, economic conditions, the lending environment). But there are things you can control (home condition, cleanliness, curb appeal, availability). Address what you can control, and understand the impact of what you can’t. Realistically.
Effective Habit #2: Be Open to Suggestions
You hired a real estate agent to help you. Listen to what they have to say. You don’t sell a home every day. Your agent sells several homes a year (we’re assuming here you aren’t using your brother’s best friend’s second cousin who is part-time agent part-time barista because you want to “help them out”). If you hired the right agent, then you should listen to their professional advice. Sure, you may not be able to do everything they suggest, but at least listen and consider suggestions your agent may have for the best way to present, market and sell your home.
Effective Habit #3: Be Available
YOU don’t necessarily have to be available to buyers interested in your home. In fact, you shouldn’t be present during showings – it makes buyers uncomfortable and they will rush through the home. But you do need to make your home as readily accessible to potential buyers as possible. In the Southwest Florida real estate market that means letting your agent install a lockbox. It means you need to be able to vacate the premises with reasonable notice – and occasionally with unreasonable notice. Your home cannot be sold if potential buyers can’t view it. “No showings on weekends” or “Showings only between 11:00am and 1:00pm on Thursdays and Fridays” won’t cut it (and no, I’m not making those up. We’ve seen this in listings.)
Effective Habit #4: Be Smart
Understand the local real estate market. Understand the home selling process. Understand the home buying process (you may not be buying, but you want to understand what your potential buyers are dealing with).
Why understand all this?
Knowledge is power.
How do you understand all this? Let your agent help you understand it. That’s what you’re paying them for.
Effective Habit #5: Remember to Balance Emotion with Logic – Selling your home and all the things involved with the transaction can be very exciting, but many times it is an extremely stressful event.
Homeowners not only have to worry about their home remaining clean and available to unknown Realtors and buyers on a daily basis but they often have other important things that they could be doing to ready themselves for their move. It is also true that most Sellers have a tremendous amount of pride in their home and want to make certain that the marketing and eventual sale price are reflective of that pride.
The moment you list your home for sale with a Realtor, it just becomes a house on a shelf. You may not like what the market tells you but it will never lie to you. If you don’t have showings you will very likely not receive any offers. If you get showings and still don’t get any offers you must be prepared to lower the price. Don’t take it personally.
Effective Habit #6: Be Reasonable
When (not if!) you get an offer on your home, think about all aspects of the offer. Price isn’t the only consideration. The buyer’s ability to qualify for a loan is crucial in today’s real estate and lending environment. When you get a request for repairs, consider everything closely. Do you really want to say, “I won’t fix that leaky faucet!” and risk losing a buyer because you didn’t want to pay $50 for a washer and a 30 minute repair? And if you’re thinking, “No buyer would walk away because of a leaky faucet,” think again. No, I’m not saying to have to bow to every buyer demand. Be reasonable though. And talk it through with your agent.
Effective Habit #7: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
This is YOUR home you are trying to sell. You need to be comfortable with what is going on. If there is anything you don’t understand, ask your agent for clarification. Don’t be embarrassed that you don’t know what “escrow means” means, or what a title company does. Again, you don’t sell a home every day. These terms aren’t important to you 99.9% of the time. But they are important now, and often agents tend to forget we frequently speak in a foreign language. There are no stupid questions. Ask.
The Bottom Line
These “seven habits” can help you through the home selling process. No, they won’t ensure that your home sells for top dollar, but they will help you get there and your stress levels may be greatly reduced. To be brutally honest, it will also greatly reduce the stress levels of your agent. That’s not a bad thing. Humans don’t like stress so anything that can be done for all parties involved in a stressful situation is a good thing.
As always, your thoughts and comments are appreciated?