The Brutal Truth About Selling Your Home

Sold signI had a home seller this week tell me that he wanted the “brutal truth” about what it was going to take to get his home sold.  I think that is a great term.  We all occasionally need to face the brutal truth about different things in our lives. 

I’m going to let you in on a secret that most Realtors tend to keep quiet. Choosing the right Realtor is not the number one priority to getting your house sold.  You do need a competent Realtor to represent you AFTER you get the offer.  But getting the offer depends more on you than on the Realtor.

Here is the brutal truth:

  • First, get the price right.  The days of slapping a high price on a house in hopes to not leave money on the table are over. Because there are lots of competing homes on the market your price needs to be attractive enough to draw in the buyers.  Not only will you not get an offer if you are not attractively priced, you probably won’t even get many showings.  You need to answer this tough question.  Is it more important to get your house sold, or to wring the last dollar out of the deal?
  • Second, present it well.  You want your home to be neat and clean.  It should feel very comfortable for a buyer. You want them to mentally move in.  This is called staging a home and is a growing field in real estate.  An experienced Realtor can help you in this or you can hire a professional.   This is very important.  The curb appeal and the first 30 seconds in the home often make or break the deal. 

The Brutal Truth is that these two things are the most important in getting your house sold and you have complete control over them.  If you neglect these issues you are just going to sit on the market without any showings no matter whom you choose to market your house.

Other important factors include:

  • Marketing.  You need to get the house in front of the buyers.  This is where many sellers feel one Realtor will help over another.  The fact of life is that if the house is on the MLS system it will be exposed to virtually all the serious buyers. There may be a few buyers out there that do not check out the Valley Board of Realtors MLS system or the Anchorage Board of Realtors system but they are few and far between.  The few that might not have access to these sites surely will eventually work with Realtors who do.  All the other marketing is really done just to please the sellers or to get buyers to call the Realtor.  Other marketing does very little to sell that particular home.
  • Photos.  Good photos are important.  If possible the main photo should have sunshine and blue sky.  It should present the home in the best possible light since buyers will be basing a lot of decisions on the outward appearance of that photo. Occasionally the Realtor may choose an inside photo as the main picture, there is usually a reason for that, perhaps there just isn’t a way to make the exterior attractive.  I often go back several times to get a good photo.  How many realtors will wait until 10:00 PM to get the sun shining on the North side of the home?
  • Ease of showing.  It’s important to make your home as easy to show as possible.  That means “call first, lock box” if you are living there, or “vacant lock box” if it is empty.  If someone is lining up homes to show and has to choose 5 out of the 25 available, what do you think happens to the ones for which an appointment is needed?  That’s right, they go to the bottom of the pile.

So do you need a good Realtor?  You certainly do . You need an very experienced person to help with negotiations with the buyer, and to avoid the many pitfalls that open up between the time you and your buyer go into contract and closing.  This is where a good, experienced representative is worth the money.  This is also where you could lose a bunch of money if you have someone who hasn’t been around the mountain a few times.  Get someone who knows the business.

For more important seller information check out my other articles here.  Or just give me a call on my cell phone….  907 232–7900