We understand how you feel but…A Guide to Become a Savvy Seller
Whenever you’re new to anything—a new job, a new exercise routine, a new school, a new town—you’re apt to say some things that seasoned professionals hear time and time again. Because selling a property isn’t something you do every day, you may be unaware of how things really work and sometimes you don’t trust your agent completely because you may think he/she is just trying to make THEIR job easier or sell fast to get their commission. So if we explain some of the common seller statements which can work against you up front, it will may everything easier for you down the road.
What Are The Most Common Mistakes?
Mistake number one is not seeing things from a buyer perspective. Even if you are selling and buying something else at the same time, many people still have difficulty understanding that MOST sellers and MOST buyers have quite different perspectives, whether it’s down playing how difficult something may be or being unaware of the reasoning behind certain situations.
Most sellers are well-intentioned, but in the midst of what can be an emotional or overwhelming experience, sometimes agents may hear a handful of seller sayings that in retrospect and out of context, can seem crazy and out-of-touch, and—yes—even ridiculous. However, we are on your side so this is our way of correcting these misconceptions right up front so they do not derail the successful sale of your home.
I paid $X for this house and put another $X into it…I’m not going to give it away.
Whether you bought when the market was high or low, it really makes no difference. The market is what it is today and only the market can justify the sales price; not you, not me, not the buyer. Whatever you remodeled or added was meant to make your home more comfortable and attractive to you. You and your family enjoyed the results. However, you know that there are people out there that do not appreciate the imported porcelain tile and would prefer another type of flooring, or do not particularly like that color granite or even pool tile. A buyer may fall in love with the treehouse in the back or calculate how much it would be to remove it! It can be difficult for sellers to understand that while they may value (both emotionally and monetarily) a home feature, potential buyers may not always value that feature in the same way—and that means that they may not be willing to pay for it.
While some home improvements can increase the value of the home, many should be looked at as features that enhanced your quality of life while you and your family lived in the home. “Beauty is in the eye…” When it comes time to sell, it comes time to let it go. If a prospective buyer falls in love with your home because of some of your features, that’s great. You just cannot approach the home selling process expecting every buyer to share your tastes and value and be willing to pay extra for them. Appraisers do not look at features; they look at comparable sales (homes that have the same features and square footage.)
We just need to find a buyer who will buy my home “As-is”
This statement shows a complete misunderstanding of what “as-is” really means. We use “as-is” in a listing when we are disclosing some costly negatives to a buyer. We have to be honest about roof leaks, non-working appliances, termite infestation or code violations. The buyer needs to know that if they want the house, they will need to do the repairs themselves. If you can cost-effectively remedy these situations you absolutely should. But some seller’s just do not have the money to spend to do any type of major repairs.
However, to say you don’t want to paint the purple wall, make the kids put away their toys during showings, clean your carpet or get rid of the dog smell, makes no sense. Few homes are ready to sell without some expenditure. Musts are decluttering, fresh paint, neat landscaping, clean flooring and sparkling windows. If you are reluctant to make these necessary adjustments to maximize your home’s appeal to a broad segment of ready, willing and able buyers who are willing to pay top-dollar for the home, you are truly being “penny wise and pound foolish.” If we tell you that some things MUST be done to prepare the home, it is because we know that the price we end up getting for your home will more than make up for the expenditure.
Buyers Expect Sellers to Overprice so They Can Offer Less
There are certainly local markets where it’s very much standard practice for buyers to expect to come in below asking, and sellers can price their properties a few thousand dollars higher than the target price point without killing their deals. Frankly, this works with the older generation and we actually use it when pricing over-55 properties. However, the majority of buyers out there are under 65K and they are well versed in the internet.
The name of the game is to get so many prospective buyers in the door that the odds of one or more placing an offer are just about guaranteed. Today’s market as far as pricing and selling is fairly easy – price too high, your home will sit until you price it right; price it right and you will have an offer within weeks; price too low and buyers will come flocking and if they get into a bidding war, you could end up with more than you expected!
Bottom line, if your home is priced too high over what the market will bear; many buyers won’t even bother trying to negotiate down. Rather, they’ll either find a home with a more realistic price, wait until you lower the price or wait until your home has been sitting on the market so long they think you might be desperate, and they will swoop in with a lowball offer.
Even in a seller’s market, the aggressively priced homes get the most buyer traffic and, accordingly, get the most offers. In turn, these bidding wars drive the eventual sales price up. Overpricing it might actually sabotage the goal of getting top dollar for your home.
“That offer is an insult – I won’t even counter, or I’ll counter even higher than list price!”
Most buyer agents won’t waste their time with all the paperwork it takes to make a ridiculously low offer, but some do. Believe me, it annoys us too and we are not allowed to tell the other agent to take a hike and not even present the offer. By law, we have to present any and all written offers. So it is best to get a thick skin and decide not to take anything personally.
Some buyers are also new to this and maybe just are deeply misguided, and not yet experienced enough in the market to know that the offer was unreasonable. Or they might just love the home so much they want to take a shot even though it’s really outside their budget. And sometimes, they might actually just be trying to get the seller to come down a bit on the asking price. Some buyers see making a very low offer as part and parcel of negotiations.
In any event, we will always respond to an offer made by a qualified buyer with an appropriate counter offer. We have been surprised a couple of times when we got what we thought was a low ball offer and by responding with a respectful, reality-based counteroffer and a little negotiating, we got our price.
“I need to clear X amount of dollars so I can buy another place or go on vacation or get a new car…”
Pricing your home is based on only one thing: data. Again, the buyers know more about market value than most sellers. They do their homework and are willing to pay fair market value for a home. If it is so perfect it just blows them away, they will pay over market value. If it needs a lot of work, they figure in those costs when deciding their offer. One thing they DO NOT think about is what the seller wants to net. The market sets the home’s price and buyers have access the same data. The ultimate value is based on what a qualified buyer is willing to pay for it—not what the seller “needs”. Our recipe for your successful sale is to price right, stage well, market aggressively, and negotiate wisely. We will be with you every step of the way.