Selling Your Home Is A Team Effort

Picture of Staged Living Room

When you hire a real estate agent to sell your home, many sellers forget that it takes a combined effort to realize a sale.  The agent cannot do it all. Following is a list of seller responsibilities during the selling and contract process:

  1. Clearing Clutter – You may love all your stuff, but chances are most buyers won’t.  Excessive clutter can leave a bad first impression on buyers.  Clutter can make a house feel closed in or too small.  A house doesn’t have to be staged (although studies show it helps) but sellers should remove as much personal items as possible from the home.  Family photos, sports teams memorabilia, sporting equipment stored in bedrooms, should all be removed.  I advise buyers to start packing items as soon as their property is listed…you’re going to have to do it eventually.
  2. Disclosing Flaws & Problems – Hiding material facts about your property is never a good idea.  There’s a good chance any problems will surface and become apparent during the inspection period.  Always be completely truthful about the condition of your property with your real estate agent.  Even if items of concern have been rectified.  In Florida, a Seller’s Disclosure Statement is not a legal requirement, but I always have the sellers prepare one.  This document reveals the history of the condition of the property during ownership and knowledge of condition prior to ownership of the property (i.e. items revealed in a Seller Disclosure Statement provided when sellers purchased the property).
  3. Small Repair Jobs – Be prepared to spend some money to make small repairs so that your home looks its best.   Time to fix those loose doorknobs, or power wash the driveway, spackle and paint interior walls, and any other issue that a buyer could assume is a costly repair.
  4. Consider Remodeling Projects Carefully – Your remodeling projects could add little or no additional a value to your home.  If you are contemplating selling your home and considering remodeling projects prior to listing, it’s important to contact a real estate agent to discuss projects that add value.  Here is a list of the return on investment (ROI) of common renovation projects.
  5. Follow Market Trend When Pricing – An overpriced home harms both sellers and the agent’s ability to market the home effectively.  With all property inUnformation including closed sales now available on the Internet, buyers know when a home is overpriced.  Many price reductions convey a sense of “unrealistic seller expectations” in the eyes of buyers and their agents.  Your real estate agent should provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) of recently sold, similar homes adjusted for like qualities to arrive at a cost-comparison estimate of value.  Sellers may also choose to hire an appraiser prior to listing to confirm the CMA.  It should be understood however, that a pre-listing appraisal may not always match the buyer’s appraisal once under contract.
  6. Clean Up Everything – Unless the home is a distressed sale, the property must be cleaned from top to bottom, inside and out, and maintained in this condition during the course of showings, inspections and closing.  Greasy kitchens and dirty bathrooms are the primary focus, followed by curb appeal, flooring, ceilings, and dirty walls and moldings.
  7. Be Calm and Patient – Unless you are the sole listing or have a unique product in high demand, patience will be key.  A typical listing-to-closing of home in South Florida is 80-90 days. Showing can take up to 20 days before a buyer is procured, and typical contracts have 45-60 day closing periods when a mortgage is involved.
  8. Trust Your Realtor® – Your real estate agent is their to represent your best interests.  Don’t “shoot the messenger” when presented with low offers, or request for repairs or credits to closing. Your agent is only presenting information from buyers or their representatives.  Selling your home is an emotional process, but is is important to remain clam and level-headed throughout.

Your involvement is crucial when selling your home.  Being an active participant in the sale of your home will generally produce a fast sale at a price close to or at the listing price.  Sellers who participate also are more satisfied with the process of selling their home.