There are a lot of misconceptions about how selling your house works. I think a lot of that is because we agents don’t take the time to explain things. Nobody really understands what we do and I think just like math homework, we should “Show our work.”
So, here are the answers to the most typical questions/comments I get from sellers:
- Don’t we need a lot of wiggle room between the list price and what we think the sale price will be? No, especially in Fayette Co. Most agents price their listings close to the market value. Outside of Fayette County, it is more common to have more wiggle room. If you have a $230k house that you list for $250k so you have room to negotiate and most sellers are pricing closer to market value, buyers will not be expecting you to have so much wiggle room. They will be comparing your $230k house with other homes listed for $250k and your house will not be appealing to them.
- If my houses sells quickly, does that mean we sold it for too cheap? Not at all. Often that means that you had one of the best houses available in your price range. Even when the market was terrible, it was common for the best houses to sell quickly. The value of your house and how long it took to find a buyer are not related. The value of your house is determined by what a buyer will pay. We figure that out by examining the sales in your area to see what buyer’s have recently been willing to pay. We are in a time where there are more buyers than there are sellers. It is pretty typical for most houses to sell quickly.
- My house has been on the market for a while and not sold, I think you should do more to advertise it. If a house isn’t selling, it is due to the price or the condtion of the house. Very rarely, especially in a seller’s market, do I see a house not sell due to the marketing. Sure, there is a difference between a good presentation and bad, but let’s face it, when there are more buyers than sellers, buyers will come see a poorly presented house just like they will one that was presented well. Also, exposure is never an issue these days. Once a agent puts the house on the local MLS, it is automatically fed to Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com and every other site with listings. Within 24 hours of your house hitting the market, you can google your address and see pages of websites it is on. Often when I have had somebody tell me this, I will look on zillow and see that hundreds of people have viewed the listing. I will also remind them that none of the buyer’s who have come to see their house made an offer. The big question is why did none of them buy the house? Price and/or condition. All an agent can do is attract somebody to the front door. Once they go inside, the house has to do the rest. Being a Realtor isn’t about making somebody buy a house they don’t want. It is about making your house appealing enough for somebody to buy.
- I don’t want to paint my house because I don’t know what color my buyer will want. I often hear this from sellers after I have suggested they paint due to the house needing it or because they have wild colors that I think will turn off most buyers. Fresh paint is THE biggest return on investment when selling. Buyer’s don’t have vision. Just watch HGTV and you will notice that. People walk into a house before the renovation and just can’t visualize what it is going to look like at the end of the show. Let’s say it will cost $3k to paint your house. Odds are it is going to sell for $5k less if you don’t. The color you pick is whatever is trendy at the moment because everybody likes it.
- The list price you suggest is too low. My house has________________. It is common for sellers to want to add value for the features their house has that other houses in the area do not. You have a covered patio and the others houses don’t. It adds value. You have granite counter tops and other houses don’t. They add value. But, determining value is done by comparing your house to others that have sold in your area. Agents and appraisers make adjustments for how your house is better or worse than the houses that have sold. Sellers tend to not realize when those “Other” houses are better than their own house, and we need to make adjustments for that too. Think of it like balancing your checkbook. You’ve got deposits and debits. Once you’ve added and subtracted those, you know your balance.