What Every Listing Agent Wished Their Home Sellers Knew

What every listing agent wished their home sellers knewI proposed “What Every Listing Agent Wished Their Sellers Knew”….  well I received some great responses from some very competent listing agents across the country.

For some sellers listing a home may seem like a mystery.  But these agents know what they are doing…. from helping you prepare your home, pricing properly for the market and presenting it to the public, these top listing agents have the experience and know how to help you.

What Every Listing Agent Wished There Home Sellers Knew

Kyle Hiscock- Rochester NY

Selling a home in 2018 can be quite involved! The days of an agent placing a sign in front of a home and waiting for the inquiries to fly in are over.

There are many things that top selling agents are doing to create exposure for their clients homes.  Whether it’s “coming soon” marketing, social media marketing, or using high quality photography and video, selling real estate in 2018 is complex!

The one thing that most listing agents wished home sellers knew is that all real estate agents are NOT the same.  In fact, most real estate agents are quite different from one to another.

It’s far too common that home sellers will trust the biggest sale of their lives with an agent who isn’t experienced or truly doesn’t know how to market homes.  Marketing real estate in 2018 is absolutely vital for achieving top dollar for a home.

There are still many agents who’re stuck in the 2000’s or even worse, the 90’s when it comes to marketing real estate.  Relying on print advertising, sign advertising, and open houses to market a new listing is a great way for a home seller to achieve mediocre success on their home sale.

Listing agents who know how to market are utilizing high quality photography, video, social media, search engine optimization tactics, Facebook advertising, and a plethora of other digital age marketing tactics!

It’s critical that home sellers don’t believe that all agents are the same, even if they work for the same company.  Every agent is different and before hiring an agent to sell a home, it’s vital you know how to interview a real estate agent when selling a home!

Contribution by Kyle Hiscock Pittsford NY Realtor

Michelle Gibson- Wellington Florida

One thing I wish every home seller knew is that their home decor matters.

A majority of home sellers are aware their home needs to be “show ready” when they list it for sale and some might know how to accomplish this while others have no clue where to begin. There are countless articles written by home stagers and real estate professionals addressing this topic. Many of these articles cover the basics in preparing a home for sale; clean, declutter, depersonalize, make repairs and paint. Doing these basic steps is always a great start and for some homeowners that’s all they’ll need to do, but for others it won’t be enough and they can’t stop there.

While a home may be extremely clean and have a fresh coat of paint if the interior decor is too taste specific it can hinder a home sale. This is where it can get tricky for a lot of home sellers because most of them love their style and assume everyone else will too, but in reality the seashells, bright colors and beach murals can be off-putting to a lot of home buyers. In order to obtain top dollar in the shortest amount of time sellers need to appeal to the masses and the only way to accomplish this is if their home is neutral; neutral paint, neutral flooring, neutral artwork and neutral furnishings.

So how can a seller tell if their home is “show ready” and will appeal to all home buyers? Get an expert opinion from a professional in the real estate industry. A top Realtor or Home Stager will be able to tell sellers if their home is neutral enough, clean enough and decluttered enough. If the home isn’t “show ready” they’ll also be able to provide guidance on the steps that need to be taken to achieve “show ready” status. First impressions are everything, cleanliness matters, but so does home decor.

Michelle Gibson – Top Wellington Florida Realtor

Paul Sian- Cincinnati Ohio

Every home seller should be aware of how important the time on market for a home is.   In most real estate markets the time on market is measured via Days on Market (DOM) and some areas even track Cumulative Days On Market (CDOM).  DOM tracks how long a home has been on the market since the most recent listing start date.  Some agents in order to reset the DOM count will cancel a listing and re-enter it into the system in order to have a new DOM of zero.  As a result some Multiple Listing Systems also measure CDOM and track the total days on market that a home has been on the market for at least six months to a year thereby preventing real estate agents from truly resetting the clock on the DOM.

DOM matters because it can indicate either a condition with the home that is preventing it from selling (which can be helped with a price reduction) or a problem with the price of a home.  The amount of time for DOM can vary.  In a sellers market where properly priced homes are snatched up in 7 days or less means a home sitting on the market for 20 or more days has a price or condition issue that should be addressed by a price reduction.  On the other hand if the market is real slow and there are not many buyers out there the average DOM will increase.

Home sellers need to be asking their agents what is the current average DOM and use that as a guide for determining if the price of their home is correct or not.  If the home is sitting for much longer than the average DOM then the price should be adjusted downward in order to get it sold.  If the price needed to reduce the home to get it sold is below what the seller needs in order to sell or they feel they want then the seller should reconsider the sale of the home and maybe think about selling some other time when the higher price may be more feasible for buyers.

Pay attention to the DOM time and use that as a sign post for when to adjust the price if no offers have been made.

Looking for a Cincinnati Real Estate Agent contact Paul Sian.

Joy Bender La Jolla California

There are five things I wished my home sellers knew about.

  1.   Overpricing your home to test the market is a bad idea.  Essentially pricing your home too high tarnishes the home’s history and raises doubts in buyer’s reasoning that there’s something wrong with your property.  “Why has this home been on and off the market so long?”
  2.   Don’t take it personally when you’re asked to depersonalize your home.  Depersonalization could include animal heads hanging on the wall, out of style window coverings, collectibles that are cluttering everywhere, family photos, and religious or political artifacts.  The objective is to neutralize as much as possible to create the most appealing image.
  3.   Leave during showings because hovering during open houses, broker caravan, and private showings makes all parties uncomfortable and your presence is hindering the sale not helping.
  4.   The new buyer will inspect EVERYTHING.  If you already know the roof is leaking, there’s termite wood rot, the swimming pool liner is sagging, and the air conditioner is intermittent get it fixed before listing!  When an inspector identifies so many line items it makes the property look uncared for. A meticulously maintained property will have a more successful request for repair negotiation.
  5.   Disclose everything.  We just had an oceanfront closing in April of this year.  It was disclosed there was a sump pump in the interior basement of the home.  We had this inspected and requested seller repair all necessary recommendations.  It was not disclosed to us that there was a second sump pump station. Therefore this second station was not inspected by our sump pump vendor.  This week, only two weeks after closing the sump pump alarm went off because of a failure. A substantial amount of tree roots were found inside the tank that damaged the station, total invoice over $1,700.  One can’t inspect what they don’t know exists.

If you are moving to San Diego or considering the purchase of a vacation home, Aumann Bender & Associates is happy to help acquaint you with La Jolla real estate.

Bill Gassett- Hopkinton MA

Quite often sellers make assumptions about certain things in real estate sales that aren’t quite accurate. For example, one of the biggest myths is the need and success rate of open houses. We reached out to Bill Gassett, one of the top Metrowest Massachusetts real estate agents to share his insight into the open house phenomena. Here is what Bill had to say: “Kevin thanks for allowing me to share my thirty plus years experience regarding open houses. Without a doubt open houses are one of the most misunderstood marketing efforts in real estate. It shouldn’t come as a surprise as they are one of the most heavily promoted marketing activities by real estate agents.

Unfortunately, sellers are sold a bag of goods by a fairly large percentage of real estate agents for their own self-interests when it comes to open houses. Do open houses work? A great question that many agents wish sellers knew the answer to. Folks, open houses are completely unnecessary to sell a home. Real buyers always schedule viewings with a real estate agents when they are serious about buying a home.

Understanding this is a key point. With showings from a real estate agent you get vetted buyers walking through your home. With an open house you get a warm body that may or may not belong in your house. Most sellers don’t understand what a magnet for crime open houses can be. The problem is homeowners see real estate agents holding open houses all the time and all the cars parked out front. The assumption is then made that this was an effective and necessary part of selling the home. It is not!

Real Estate agents promote open houses because they are a great way for a real estate agent to prospect for business. For a seller they are not an important part of selling a home. You will miss nothing from skipping the open house other than possible missing some of your valuables.”

Sharon Paxson- Newport Beach California

If a homeowner is considering selling, it is very important that the homeowner address deferred maintenance.  If a property has deferred maintenance it will stand out to the home buyer and any home inspectors.  If the property has obvious signs of water leaks which can be very destructive in a short period of time. Water leaks can result in the possibility of mold, which can deter buyers. Additionally, lenders will generally not loan on a property where there is obvious mold in the property. The presence of mold can cause health issues also, and there are some who can walk into a home and instantly have allergic reactions of some type due to the spores in the air. The presence of mold in a home can make some buyers run!

Other obvious signs of deferred maintenance can include peeling paint and signs of dry rot in wood trim and fences on the property. There can also be signs of termites, and this can be a red flag. Most home buyers want termite work to be completed prior to the close of escrow.

Consider the condition of the roof on the home as replacing a roof can be costly. If there are signs of water leaks in an attic or elsewhere as a result of a roof leak, then the roof should be repaired and ensure there are no missing shingles.

How is the landscaping on the property? Is it overrun with weeds and clearly not being maintained. Check for leaking sprinklers in flower beds as well. When a home buyer sees deferred maintenance the assumption is that other systems in the home have not been maintained.

Are there cracks in the foundation, walkways or in the walls. Cracks in walls may be the result of settling, and they may be cosmetic. However, most home buyers will want to investigate if there are structural issues with the property. If the area is in a liquefaction area, there can also be cracks in the concrete patio and foundation which again may also be structural.

Home ownership should include pride of ownership. Items do come up in homes that need repair and should be repaired in a timely manner. Letting the repairs go can end up costing more in the end.

Keep in mind the buyer pool for a home which is deemed a fixer is going to be smaller, as not everyone is handy, and most do not want to consider buying a money pit! If there is deferred maintenance on a property, it can be sold, but the list price should reflect the condition of the property.

If you are considering selling a home in the Orange County, CA area contact a top Newport Beach CA Realtor to guide you through the home selling  process.

Joe Boylan- Colorado Springs

One of the most important things a Listing Agent does during a real estate transaction is to explain the different aspects of a real estate contract to their home seller clients. Real Estate contracts are for the most part pretty straightforward, the one area that seems to get Home Sellers especially frustrated are the various buyer friendly contingencies that are inevitably part of these agreements.

Think of contingencies as small hurdles the buyer and seller need to negotiate through. Contingencies usually address the unseen items of a transaction. Things you don’t see at the showing level, things like the condition of the HVAC system, Solvency of the HOA or severity of the covenants, etc…For example, if the home buyer can’t park their work truck in the driveway, they don’t want to buy the house. These are the kind of things that appear in Covenants, and a buyer wouldn’t necessarily know this until they had time to review the Covenants, this is part of the title contingency.

There are essentially 5 types of real estate contingencies the home sellers need to understand. Title, Inspection, Finance, HOA and final walk-through.These contingencies exist to protect the buyer from any unseen issues. They also protect the seller from accusations of non-disclosure after closing.

The problem for the listing agent arises when the requests to fix inspection items and or title issues start to come in from the buyer’s side. As the listing agent goes to the sellers to work through contingency items, the home sellers often feel like the listing agent is advocating or working for the buyers.

The home sellers can feel helpless and even taken advantage of, between the inspections, appraisal and various title issues that can arise and need to be addressed. Sellers often lose sight of the fact that the listing agent is actually on their side and trying to facilitate the closing of the transaction.

The listing agent’s job is too close to the contract, but during the negotiation process, home sellers will often feel like the listing agent is working for the home buyers. They confuse the fact that their agent is trying to resolve those buyer-friendly aspects of the contract as some kind of abandonment. A good listing agent goes out of their way to help the sellers understand the ramifications of their decisions along with presenting potential options and likely scenarios.

Home sellers need to remember that contingencies are a part of most real estate contracts. The listing agent is on their team, when it comes to resolving contingencies, work with the agent to come up with solutions you can live with.

Contribution by Joe Boylan Colorado Springs Real Estate Agent

Kevin Vitali- Tewksbury MA

Selling a home has much to do with numbers and statistics.  Yet many sellers refuse to look at the number and statistics pragmatically.

First and foremost it is important to determine what real estate market are you in. Are you in a seller’s market, a buyers market, a neutral market?  Your listing agent will help you determine what market you are in by reviewing past and current market statistics and numbers.  Knowing what type of market you are in will determine how aggressive you are with pricing and negotiating.  Real estate markets can change quickly and as a home seller it is important to see the market you are in but also where it may be heading in the short term.

Secondly, your home’s price is based on what similar homes have sold for in the past 6 months in the same neighborhood.  If similar homes in the same neighborhood have sold between 380k and 420k what makes you think you  can get 500k?  Carefully reviewing your comparable homes with your listing agent will give you your most likely selling price.

Finally, reviewing days on market statistics will help you set realistic expectations of how long you can expect to sell your home if it is reasonable priced for the market.

Understanding the numbers and stats will help you set a market price for you home as well as indicate how long it may take to sell.

Contributed by Kevin Vitali- Tewksbury MA Real Estate

Thank you to all who participated in supplying a response to “What Every Listing Agent Wished There Home Sellers Knew”  There is some great responses here.

What Every Listing Agent Wished There Home Sellers Knew is written by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Group One Real Estate.

If you would like to sell your home or buy a new home give me a call at 978-360-0422 and let’s get the process started.

Real Estate Services in the following areas: Northeast Massachusetts, Merrimack Valley, North Shore and Metrowest. Including the following communities and the surrounding area- Amesbury, Andover, Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, Dracut, Groveland, Haverhill, Lowell, Melrose, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, North Andover, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Wilmington, Westford

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