I have to be blunt here. I have been in the real estate business for 20 years now and the thought of selling my house is daunting. That's probably why I have not done so. There are many articles about prepping the house. Stuff like getting rid of the clutter, painting the house, resurfacing the floors, getting the garden to look like a picture, removing personal photos and generally sprucing the whole place up, and not forgetting the smell of cookies etc. and great lighting.
But let's assume that you have done the above, and more, to perfection. Then what? Well do you try to sell the house yourself to save the sales commissions? Do you ask friends for referrals of Realtors, or call the agent who's signs are most prominent in your community? Or throw a dart at the Yellow Pages? Or use Aunt Sally who has just received her license and has been in the business for three weeks?
Let's start with whether to sell your house on your own. And before I receive the odd irate response about how you, or your uncle Fred, went this route and it turned out fine, let me say that a good chunk of my time is spent talking to sellers who went this route and got into the biggest mess and want me to sort it out for them. Unfortunately at this point, all I am able to do is politely and gently advise them to seek the help of a very competent attorney who specializes in real estate, and to have their check books open and about four pens. Remember that some potential buyers are out to get a cut-throat deal out of some seller and you will probably be in the cross hairs. And how do you know that the buyer is genuine, and qualified to buy your castle? And even half way honest? Well, the stakes are high, there is a ton of fraud in the industry and Realtors spend a great deal of time learning about the latest scams.
So hopefully, you decide to go with a qualified professional - someone who is a Realtor (I'm supposed to put a "c" symbol here, but can't find it).
Well then, how do you choose - do you go with a Brokerage firm who offers limited services like placing a lockbox on your door, and a sign in the yard, and gets the house into the local MLS, and then leaves you to fend for yourself? But that is inexpensive, isn't it? Well sort of. What they don't tell you is that on top of their "low fees", you will still have to pay a full commission to the Buyer's Broker if he/she provides a ready, willing, and able buyer. And most buyers have agents unless you are hoping for a "drive by buyer" who represents himself. And that right there friend, is an accident waiting to happen.
So because you like to sleep at night, you decide to go with a full service real estate brokerage service. That's what I would do quite frankly. After all, you want someone very capable who will market your home and essentially be your advocate in all matters relating to the sale of the house. And while I am on that topic, please do yourself a favor and DO NOT micromanage your agent. If you have chosen well, they will have many years doing the job, that you think you know how to do better. And you don't, even if you are a marketing guru or a financial genius. So refrain from critiquing the brochures, the MLS descriptions, the order of the photographs, whether they should hold open houses or not, and whether there should be a comma in a particular sentence. After all, they want to sell the house as fast as you do if they ever want to get paid. I know that I am being tough here, but too often the homeowner wants to teach grandma how to suck eggs (that's an old English saying - look it up).
Well that's enough for today. In the next blog we'll talk about choosing a brokerage company and most importantly, how to set a realistic price for your house. So stay tuned.......