You may think that because you sign the listing agreement and turn the sale of your home over to a real estate agent, that you won’t need to get involved in the sale. Guess again! The agent’s job is to assist you in the sale of your property – not to actually sell it for you.
The sale of your home will require full cooperation from you and even active participation. That can be a rude awakening to someone who has never worked with a real estate agent in the past. The fact is that if you are not working for the sale of your home, no amount effort by a real estate agent will make it happen.
When you list your home for sale with a real estate agent, you are always a critical part of the sales process.
Keeping that in mind, here are 5 steps that you will need to take as your part in the sale of your home:
1. At a Minimum Keep the Home in Showroom Condition
In today’s market, when many areas have more homes for sale than buyers, you can’t afford to ignore this step. These days, only investors buy handyman specials – everyone else wants a “turnkey property” (turn the key in the lock, and then move in). Your home should reflect that reality if you hope to sell it quickly and for something close to its actual market value.
Keeping the home in showroom condition will involve most of the following:
- Keep the home free of clutter, both inside and out. That includes the garage, basement, and any attic or storage space in the home, as well as the yard areas.
- Landscaping should be professional quality.
- Freshen up rooms or walls with a coat of paint if you think it’s even remotely necessary.
- Make sure all of the “little things” in the house are in proper working order; that includes window treatments, door knobs, light fixtures and fans. Oh, and especially your garage door opener.
- Make sure the home is free of foul or suspicious odors.
- Keep the kitchen clean and in order – that means keeping counter spaces clear and clean and keeping dirty dishes out of the sink and dishwasher. You should also do your best to make sure that your cupboards are neat and orderly. All will be investigated by prospects visiting your home.
- Make sure the bathrooms are spic-and-span clean. A ring in the commode can be a real sale killer.
There is nothing that a real estate agent can do or say that will overcome the lack of attention to these details. Any one of them could prevent you from getting an offer on your home.
2. Marketing – The Standard Package
Though you will be tempted to rely completely on the real estate agent to handle the marketing details, you may find out late in the game that it backfires. Once again, agents have several deals going at once, and have only a limited amount of time and motivation to market any one property. For that reason, you’ll want to review their Standard Marketing Package and, if you see any gaps, make sure to voice your concern quickly.
In some cases, sellers have actually put up flyers in public places, such as grocery stores, and put an announcement on Facebook. It seems extreme, yet most sellers want to sell their home fast – even if that means some extra effort on their part.
If you’re thinking that your efforts to market your own property sound like a bad deal, consider this: if a buyer for the home comes about because of your marketing efforts, the real estate agent will still collect their 6% listing fee.
That’s not comforting, but that’s the reality of the real estate market.
3. Be Flexible in the Negotiations
Many real estate sales fall apart during the negotiation phase. The reason is a lack of flexibility by one party, which, in 50% of the transactions, will be the property seller. Keep that in mind, and do your best to be cooperative and flexible in the negotiations. Be ready to concede on minor points. To the degree that you’re able, be flexible on the closing date.
Though the agent will act as the intermediary between you and the buyer, all negotiations must ultimately be discussed with and approved by you as the seller. Keep your mind focused on the ultimate goal, which is to sell the house at the best price possible. The objective should never be to win the negotiations as if it’s some sort of competitive sport. It’s entirely possible that you could “win” the negotiations, but lose the sale. That’s a bad tradeoff. Really bad.
4. Do Your Part to Ensure a Smooth Closing
In a perfect world, the closing should be a signing ceremony and not much more. All of the major points of the sale should have been negotiated in advance. But once again, be prepared to be flexible, particularly on minor points.
Unpleasant surprises, such as a delay with the buyer’s loan, are mot uncommon at real estate closings, and there is no way that a real estate agent can shield you from that reality. Whatever happens, be prepared to do your best to keep the closing on track, and to make sure that you leave the closing table with your money.
5. Understand That You and the Agent Are in a Partnership – An Often Unequal Partnership
In going through this list, you should become aware of a pronounced reality: you and the agent are partners in the sale of your property. That partnership is often an unequal one, in which you – as the property seller – find yourself doing a good portion of the work to sell your property.
That is no longer unusual since many real estate agents rely primarily on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and the Internet to sell your home. Technology is making it easier for agents to do their jobs, and for the same reason, many home sellers are moving toward selling their home without the assistance of a real estate agent. And that makes sense too. As the owner of the home, you are the best person to sell your home, not the real estate agent.
You have options. Sure, you may not have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), but did you know that Zillow is considered the new MLS? As a seller, you have plenty of access to the various ways to sell your home on the Internet that are becoming more popular all the time.
If you’re thinking that you may have to do too much work to sell your house – all while paying a 6% real estate commission – you always have the alternative to sell your house yourself and save 6%. With ListingDoor, you won’t have to do much more work than you would if you listed with an agent, and you’ll save thousands of dollars when your home sells.
( Photo by Images_of_Money )