Category: Real Estate Tips

Bob’s 10 Commandments For Sellers

Bob Sumien - Realtor - Podcast

I specialize in working with home sellers. These 10 Commandments are here to help our process go as smoothly as it possibly can! In some cases get you more for your home! Each sale has characteristics of it’s own and these help. However, there is no guarantee that your transaction will be smooth sailing without a hiccup. With that said lets look at the 10 items you need to follow.

Commandment number 1.

THOU SHALL DEEP CLEAN thy home! Clean, clean and when you think you have finished clean some more! Don’t forget to deodorize and change the air filters! They don’t make “wet dog” air fresheners for a reason! This step may even happen prior to me coming to view your home to list. I walk the property with you making notes and will have suggestions of what may be beneficial to do prior to listing. My number 1 suggestion is always clean. This includes not only making sure that counter tops, toilets, sinks and tubs for example are clean.It also includes decluttering. Put away everything that you possibly can. In some instances it is beneficial to rent a storage unit and place boxed belongings there. People want to see the garage too!

Take down anything personal such as family photos, anything religious (there is nothing wrong with it but keep in mind your buyers may not be of your faith and you want them to picture themselves living there) or anything that is decorative but not broadly appealing. Think of decor like this, everyone likes ice cream however not everyone will like pumpkin ice cream. The same goes for paint color, you may consider repainting if your colors are specific to your taste.

Commandment number 2.

You will be filling out a property condition sheet prior to listing your home. THOU SHALL DISCLOSE EVERYTHING! This is going to help things sail smooth even after the close. Remember your neighbors probably know a lot! If you had foundation work done in 1963 but didn’t disclose, the buyers will find out from the neighbors soon enough! Work done that is still under warranty like foundation work, is handy to provide those documents to buyers. Was ever an insurance claim on the home? Even if everything was put back together and there are no problems currently, disclose. If your neighbors told you about anything or the previous owners disclosed something, you know about it and it must be conveyed to the buyers.

Commandment number 3.

YAY, you’ve listed your home with ME at this point and now we’re well on the road to getting your home SOLD! Yes there’s going to be a sign in your yard. People may knock on your door and want to see it. THOU SHALL NOT LET THEM IN! You’re using me as your REALTOR for a reason and I have placed it in the MLS so that it may be shown to people by either myself or other REALTORs. You do not need to show your home and should not for your own safety.

Commandment number 4.

THOU SHALL PREPARE THE HOME FOR THE SHOWING! Open those curtains or blinds to let in natural light. Turn on lights throughout the home. Play soft background music (think elevator music). Light a few candles if it can be done safely or turn on some wax melters or plugin air fresheners

Commandment number 5.

THOU SHALL NOT TURN DOWN SHOWINGS! You want to sell, buyers want to buy. You want them to see your home and this may be the only opportunity they have to see it because they may be relocating from out of town or they are traveling over an hour each way to view homes in that area.

Commandment number 6.

THOU SHALL KEEP YOUR HOME IN SHOWING CONDITION! We can request that you have a 2 hour notice prior to a showing on any given day. Last minute showings can and will happen. If you are at work are you going to be able to drop everything, get home and clean up the dishes from last night’s dinner, make the beds, vacuum etc.? Probably not. In addition to that, it happens frequently where an agent is out showing their buyers homes and they didn’t find what they were looking for so they want to see more homes in the area. They’ll call me and ask if there “is any way possible” to view your home in 15 minutes (I refer you to Commandment number 4).

Commandment number 7.

THOU SHALL NOT HAVE CONTACT WITH BUYERS OR THEIR AGENT! This includes at showings, you should vacate the home during any requested showing time and kennel or take any pets with you. They buyers may be pet people but they are there to see your home and Fido may be a distraction. If buyers ever do reach out politely refer them back to their agent and if the agent reaches out politely refer them to me (your agent).

Commandment number 8.

THOU SHALL CONSIDER THE FIRST OFFER! Roughly 90% of the time the first offer is your best offer. If the offer is not to your liking there is no reason why you should not counter offer. There will be wiggle room I promise, no one is going to make their best offer from the get go in most situations.

Commandment number 9.

THOU SHALL NOT STOP PAYING THY MORTGAGE. This one should be painfully obvious as to why. If your due date is close to your closing date, and property taxes follow this same process, let’s talk about it and get with the title company and your lender to see how they want to proceed.

Commandment number 10.

THOU SHALL NOT DISCONNECT ANY UTILITY PRIOR TO THE DATE OF CLOSING! There are many reasons why you don’t want to do this. First and foremost the inspector and the appraiser will want them all on (cable TV and internet don’t matter) so that they can do their thing. If they show up and the utilities are off they will refuse to do the inspection or the appraisal and there may be fees associated with them having to return after they are back on that will fall on you as the seller. The buyers will normally want to do a final walk through prior to closing to make sure any negotiate repairs were made and that the property is in the same condition as when they first toured, they can’t check plumbing, HVAC or light fixtures without utilities!

Friends don’t let Friends FSBO!

Ok, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. For Sale By Owner……. Ok so you are going to try to sell your home without the help of a Real Estate Professional. I get it, you want to save some money or you have been put off by someone in the industry. We have all been there. But neither of these is any GOOD (italics, BOLD, underlined) reason to not seek the help of a real estate professional. The kind of professional who has your back and understands the fiduciary duty to YOU as the client!

Let me explain how this is supposed to work. Until the listing agreement is signed, the agent and broker can and should negotiate a deal (the listing or employment agreement between them as the employee and you as the seller/employer) that is beneficial or acceptable to them/us that rewards us for the knowledge, education, research, marketing, finger on the pulse of the current state of the market, covering costs of MLS dues, association dues, photographers and the list goes on but I’ll abbreviate it here. Once that listing agreement is signed then our role changes and your wants, desires, needs and interests are to be placed above all others’ wants, needs, desires and interests including those of the broker/agent.

THAT is how it should be. Whether you were or are a buyer, seller, landlord or tenant, once the representation agreement is signed the agent should have your interests at the top of what needs to be addressed. If it happened any other way in the past I apologize for your experience. But as they say in the financial planning world, past performance isn’t a guarantee of future returns. In other words, what another person did, doesn’t mean that it will happen again.

Reasons NOT to go it alone!

The information here is from the 2018 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Like most data it isn’t able to be analyzed in real time.

For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Statistics

  • FSBOs accounted for 7% of home sales in 2017. The typical FSBO home sold for $200,000 compared to $265,500 for agent-assisted home sales.
  • FSBO methods used to market home: 
    • Yard sign: 22%
    • Friends, relatives, or neighbors: 18%
    • Online classified advertisements: 6%
    • Open house: 10%
    • For-sale-by-owner websites: 5%
    • Social networking websites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.): 12%
    • Multiple Listing Service (MLS) website: 4%
    • Print newspaper advertisement: 2%
    • Direct mail (flyers, postcards, etc.): 2%
    • Video: 1%
    • None: Did not actively market home: 49%
  • Most difficult tasks for FSBO sellers: 
    • Getting the right price: 17%
    • Understanding and performing paperwork: 12%
    • Selling within the planned length of time: 5%
    • Preparing/fixing up home for sale: 8%
    • Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale: 3%

Speaking from personal experience here……. I looked up a few FSBOs today online (11/6/19) and actually took the time to drive by 1. It had been listed by another agent but the listing had expired on 9/12/19. The agent had the house listed at $259,000, and actually the client decides the price during the process but we give you our best advice as to what it should be listed for, which was just slightly above the range a Comparative Market Analysis I ran on the property suggested. However the owner had the property listed on a FSBO site at $255,000 but slashed it to $224,000 and had NO YARD SIGN when I drove by. So post negotiations, repairs, etc. I’m guessing that the $224,000 is going to wind up a lot closer to the $200,000 listed above driving home the discrepancy in price from the example $265 vs $200.

For reference ROUGH figures on the commission incurred by the seller would be $15,900 giving the SELLER an EXTRA $50,000 in their pocket. OH and that $15,900 doesn’t go to just the listing agent. That is broken up between the listing broker, listing agent, buyer’s broker and buyer’s agent. On top of that a lot of the aforementioned fees (photography, MLS dues so that the property can be advertised etc.) come out of that commission. All stuff that the FSBO owner/seller has to pay out of his pocket if they so chose or even can utilize those services.

The cost of not using a professional agent is huge. Of course there are other expenses not accounted for in the example here but those are expenses incurred whether a real estate professional is used or not.

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