Andrew Wetzel's Musings

March 20, 2019

Listing Your House “For Sale”

Filed under: Hiring an agent,Selling — awetzel @ 2:16 PM

I want to sell my house.  What do I do?

There is more to selling a house than putting a sign on the lawn and putting your information online.  That is how we typically start the process but it takes more to succeed!  Do NOT “set it and forget it”.

If you want your house to sell and have it stay sold, meaning that it gets a new owner, the process really starts with hiring an experienced agent.   There is no time for  inexperience, empty promises or false expectations.  We are NOT all the same so please continue reading.   Let’s discuss what should happen before making your house available for buyers to see.  Preparation and planning are important.

Why do you want to sell?  What does life look like afterwards?

A good agent will want to discuss your “motivation”.  While it may be easy to start marketing your house, I need to know why you are selling so that I can help you plan the process.  Sellers typically are motivated by time or by money.  Do you have a time frame? Perhaps you are relocating, have already bought another house and do not want the expense of owning more than one, are you selling an investment property?  Are there financial issues?  If you want to sell sooner rather than later, you may need to sell for less than if time were not a factor.  On the other hand, you may want or need to achieve a certain financial outcome.  Whether you have a loan to pay off, need money to help finance another purchase or whatever you have in mind, some sellers are focused on the financial results more than the time it takes to sell so this may result in a longer process. If you are buying something else, have you spoken to a lender?  Please do not assume this is a silly question. Either way, an agent needs to know your motivation in order to suggest the best course of action for you.  What is the cost or impact of not selling?

Hiring an agent.

You should hire an agent with whom you are comfortable.  It may be best to avoid hiring friends or family (they are hard to fire)!  The relationship between an owner and their agent is a unique one and it has to be professional.  The agent is required to promote and protect your best interests throughout the process while having what are called fiduciary duties to you.  Confidentiality is a major one.

Having the education, training and experience to navigate the process is very important. When you hire and trust someone to help you sell what may be your largest asset, you may not want them “learning on the job” or taking you for granted.  This is a people business.  Selling Real Estate of any kind, requires understanding a number of inter-related tasks.  They include marketing, advising/ counseling, negotiating and other functions/ traits required to stay on top of the many details and follow through as needed.  Part of the hiring process should include discussing how you will work together. Many sellers realize they hired the wrong agent soon after signing a contract.  Undoing that may not be easy especially if you hired a friend or relative.

Preparing the house for showings.  First impressions, inside AND outside, matter. 

One of the major (and unavoidable) inconveniences of selling a house is accepting showing appointments, perhaps with little or no notice, having people arrive late or failing to show up at all.  Agents you do not know want to show your house to people they may not know (and who may not have been “pre-qualified”).  Most denied appointments do not get rescheduled and any showing may result in an offer.  or not!

Prospective buyers need to see if your house meets their needs.  First impressions matter, both outside (serious buyers should drive the neighborhood first so the exterior is important) and inside.  Trying to prepare your house for sale without an agent can delay the process and be costly:  will you do too much or too little?  Do you know your township resale requirements?  Do you know your competition?  Can you objectively look at your house?  A professional and experienced agent can provide hands-on guidance that will help you.

Managing the process:  what happens as the days on the market add up?

What is the game plan after the marketing starts?  A seller should know what to expect; the agent must deliver!  What happens when the process bogs down?

Remember, HIRE WISELY.  We are not all the same!

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