selling house advice

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sil2017
Posts: 495
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:25 am

selling house advice

Post by sil2017 »

I am planning to sell my house. I contacted a realtor who had interest in my house 2 years ago. I told her i would contact her in early October to inquire more.

Basically I want her to look inside my house and ask her what repairs should be done prior to selling the house. Also, a guess what i could sell my house for.

I plan to call one or 2 more realtors and ask the same questions.

As I do not plan to sign any exclusive contracts on the first interview, will there be a problem if i choose one realtor over another? Will i owe the realtor anything for the first interview? I don't want to have Realtor A sue Realtor B for selling my house if I have not signed any exclusive contracts.

BTW, it is a hot market where i live. House goes on sale and sold within weeks.

Thanks
fabdog
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Location: Williamsburg VA

Re: selling house advice

Post by fabdog »

The realtors will expect to come see your place and make a pitch to you on what they propose as a marketing plan (including suggested asking price). As long as you are clear with them that's what you want, won't be an issue. Once you sign up with one of the candidates... then you are on the hook.

Lots of threads here on selecting an agent (what to look for, length of contract, etc). There are active RE agents on the board as well who will likely chime in

Use the search box to look for agent selection

Mike
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Watty
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Re: selling house advice

Post by Watty »

I went through an interview process to select an agent just like I was hiring an employee.

The last time I sold a house I talked to about a half a dozen real estate agents on the phone about my house, their background, and the local real estate market. Each of the calls was about 20 to 30 minutes.

I then picked three of them to let them come see the house then write up a competitive market analysis which they then came back and presented to me a few days later. The competitive market analysis is a binder with information about other houses that have sold recently, similar houses that are for sale, and your house. When they do that they will also talk about what repairs should be done. This will be several dozen pages long, including some fluff, but don't feel guilty about having them do that work since they have software that will help do that and they will have a template that that they use so they are not doing it all from scratch.

You need to be very careful to tell them the same information about why you are selling and what your expectations are about how fast you want it to sell. The problem is that if you give them different information they may legitimately come back with different marketing plans which can be very confusing. I had a checklist of talking points that I used when I talked to the real estate agents to make sure that I gave them the same information. I was careful not to tell them what I thought the house might sell for, I wanted to get their unbiased opinion. I think I even told them that.

As I recall they all sort of danced around the question about what price to list the house at because they did not want to get into legal problems, or turn me off if I had a different idea about what I wanted to sell the house for. In talking with them though it was easy to understand what they thought a good listing price would be.

The entire process was very educational and I learned a lot from their different approaches which were all very different. This allowed me to be a lot more comfortable the choices I was making. By the end of the process I also had a pretty good feel about their personality and if it was compatible with mine. Finding an agent you can work well with is critical so give a lot of weight to that when you are selecting one. You are not getting a new best friend, but you still need to be able to work well with them.

Part of a real estate agents job is to sell themselves and if they are not good at selling themself I would not want them to be selling my house.

Some real estate agents will suggest a high price just to to get you to sign a contract so you need to understand and believe the details of why they suggested a high price.

Some real estate agents will do the opposite and suggest a low price just to make it a quick and easy sale so they do not need to do much work.

I then picked one of them and we worked out the details of the listing agreement and I signed it. Their default listing agreement was sort of vague about just what they would do but I had them add in some details about things like how often there would be open houses. Some people do not like open houses but my house had a view over some wetlands which was a big selling feature. The person who eventually bought it found it at an open house and fell in love with the view so open houses do sometimes work.

Up until then there was nothing signed and there was not obligation to any of them. I was also up front with the real estate agents about the process I was using to select an agent. They were all OK with the process and while none of them said it I think that they were in some ways happy to be dealing with someone that was treating it as a business transaction instead of someone who would need a lot of hand holding since they had a lot of emotional ties to the house.

When I contacted the other agents to let them know I had not selected them they were disappointed but professional and cordial. The real estate business is pretty small so a good real estate agent will not burn any bridges and they know that someday they will likely be dealing with me the agent I did select.

A few points;

The agent I selected made sure that I kept the list of similar houses that were currently for sale that was in their competitive market analysis. Before we started she said that in 30 or 60 days that if the house had not sold then we would go through that list of houses to see if they had sold and what price they sold for. Those would be sort of a control group to help judge if the house was taking too long to sell or not and if the price should be reduced. Setting up that criteria ahead of time is a good idea.

The agent also made a point of calling the other agent whenever the house was shown to get feedback from the agent that showed the house. Their feedback was great since if their buyer was not interested in the house they would usually give honest feedback about if they thought the price was reasonable, if the buyer was turned off because of the price, and if there was some specific reason that the buyer did not select the house. The feedback was invaluable since it told us that the house was priced right but it was other issues with the house(that we could not change) that was the problem. Eventually we found a buyer that was OK with the issues and sold it for near the listing price.
Freetime76
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Re: selling house advice

Post by Freetime76 »

My standard advice:
1. Read the listing contracts, preferably before you sign. :D
2. Get your own idea of pricing and home conditions by looking at sold listings online.
3. Clean as if the Pope is visiting.
4. Do as little updating or fixing as possible. Now is not the time to buy a new HVAC or kitchen, assuming yours are functional.
5. Consider what you want your realtor to know (I.e. absolutely share what they need to know to sell the house effectively, however I would think carefully before showing all your cards, such as a bottom price you’d accept).

Start cleaning, throwing out, donating and packing now.
JimSmiley1850
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:57 pm

Re: selling house advice

Post by JimSmiley1850 »

When we sold our house we interviewed four realtors. We told each our objective was to maximize our return and sales price. All four provided us with rough price estimates. It was an old house in a designated historic district.. Three said we would have to do work (remove wallpaper, get matching kitchen appliances, paint everything a neutral color, get ride of carpeting). The fourth said The person who buys this house will be able to lock past the wallpaper, old house cracks etc. The fourth persons estimated sales price was 55% lower than the others. We choose one of the agents that said we needed to do work. And the agent that said “here’s why you should hire me — here is my sales track record”. I estimate for every dollar of fix up including staging we got $2.92 back. We paid the full real estate commission and it was earned as we ran into an odd circumstance with our sale that the agent’s experience was able to effectively address. Had we gone with a discount fee agent I think addressing our problem would have been difficult. Hope my experience can help you.
phxjcc
Posts: 468
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:47 pm

Re: selling house advice

Post by phxjcc »

Freetime76 wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:56 pm My standard advice:
1. Read the listing contracts, preferably before you sign. :D
2. Get your own idea of pricing and home conditions by looking at sold listings online.
3. Clean as if the Pope is visiting.
4. Do as little updating or fixing as possible. Now is not the time to buy a new HVAC or kitchen, assuming yours are functional.
5. Consider what you want your realtor to know (I.e. absolutely share what they need to know to sell the house effectively, however I would think carefully before showing all your cards, such as a bottom price you’d accept).

Start cleaning, throwing out, donating and packing now.
Lastly, put all personal pictures away.
Your husband is a hunk, your kids are adorable, mom and dad look great at their 30th anniversary party....BUT you want the potential buyers to see THEMSELVES in THIS house, not feel like they are GUESTS in YOUR house.
Miriam2
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Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:51 am

Re: selling house advice

Post by Miriam2 »

Watty wrote: I went through an interview process to select an agent just like I was hiring an employee. . . . A few points: . . .
Very helpful information, Watty, thank you for taking the time to make your post :happy
John Bogle, "The Twelve Pillars of (Financial) Wisdom" - Pillar 2: When all else fails, fall back on simplicity.
flyingcows
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Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:13 am

Re: selling house advice

Post by flyingcows »

Miriam2 wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:12 pm
Watty wrote: I went through an interview process to select an agent just like I was hiring an employee. . . . A few points: . . .
Very helpful information, Watty, thank you for taking the time to make your post :happy
+1, I’m using this as a guide in the future
rich126
Posts: 1851
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: selling house advice

Post by rich126 »

A while ago, back east, I bought a house that needed fixing. After doing some repairs I emailed a few agents asking if any would take a quick look at my house and make any suggestions. Most ignored me. Interestingly one agent who has his own company with tons of people working for him and does a huge volume actually responded and showed up. Might explain why he does so well.

Later when I decided to sell I used his company. People often remember those things.

I just put my house up for sale in a hot market and expect it to sell the first weekend, hopefully at a good price, we'll see. My agent was swamped with calls trying to see the place even before I would allow it to open to agents. They did the now standard photos and videos.

Some times. Good luck.
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Watty
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Re: selling house advice

Post by Watty »

Miriam2 wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:12 pm
Watty wrote: I went through an interview process to select an agent just like I was hiring an employee. . . . A few points: . . .
Very helpful information, Watty, thank you for taking the time to make your post :happy
Glad to be able to help, at least something good is coming out of being stuck at home with the pandemic.
DesertDiva
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Location: In the desert

Re: selling house advice

Post by DesertDiva »

phxjcc wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 10:48 pm
Freetime76 wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:56 pm My standard advice:
1. Read the listing contracts, preferably before you sign. :D
2. Get your own idea of pricing and home conditions by looking at sold listings online.
3. Clean as if the Pope is visiting.
4. Do as little updating or fixing as possible. Now is not the time to buy a new HVAC or kitchen, assuming yours are functional.
5. Consider what you want your realtor to know (I.e. absolutely share what they need to know to sell the house effectively, however I would think carefully before showing all your cards, such as a bottom price you’d accept).

Start cleaning, throwing out, donating and packing now.
Lastly, put all personal pictures away.
Your husband is a hunk, your kids are adorable, mom and dad look great at their 30th anniversary party....BUT you want the potential buyers to see THEMSELVES in THIS house, not feel like they are GUESTS in YOUR house.
Excellent advice here.
Clean, declutter, depersonalize, neutralize. These activities work wonders.
stan1
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Re: selling house advice

Post by stan1 »

When I sold my mom's house a few years ago that hadn't been updated since it was built in the 1960s here's what I did.

Her furniture was all old so I got rid of all of it. Realtor and I agreed house was better empty than having old furniture be a distraction. I removed all of the dated window coverings (draperies and aluminum blinds) and did not replace. Paint and carpet were 40 years old so we painted everything off white and put in beige carpet that was on sale (Realtor got a discount for us). Realtor told me she thought staging was unnecessary as the house had a lot of natural light and that was the best selling point.

That worked for us. This was in a low volume/low cost area.
Last edited by stan1 on Fri Sep 11, 2020 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
bogledogle
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Re: selling house advice

Post by bogledogle »

Miriam2 wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:12 pm
Watty wrote: I went through an interview process to select an agent just like I was hiring an employee. . . . A few points: . . .
Very helpful information, Watty, thank you for taking the time to make your post :happy
+2. Bookmarked!
Topic Author
sil2017
Posts: 495
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:25 am

Re: selling house advice

Post by sil2017 »

Thank you all for your valuable advice.
I will look into interviewing 3 realtors in October.
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F150HD
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Re: selling house advice

Post by F150HD »

I interviewed 3 before my last sale. They did a 'pitch' and showed up w market reports of homes in my area etc.

One item I learned....make sure whoever you hire, they are techy. You don't want to miss opportunities (sell or buy) because they have no idea how to upload a PDF or the like. This may not matter in some markets, but in the area I live its critical.

If I were to sell again I'd prob consider a Redfin agent. My last sale I felt like I did a ton of work and the Realtor....ultimately I wasn't that impressed. I feel like she cost me $$. Not good. Never again!
manatee2005
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Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2019 9:17 pm

Re: selling house advice

Post by manatee2005 »

Watty wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:16 pm I went through an interview process to select an agent just like I was hiring an employee.

The last time I sold a house I talked to about a half a dozen real estate agents on the phone about my house, their background, and the local real estate market. Each of the calls was about 20 to 30 minutes.

I then picked three of them to let them come see the house then write up a competitive market analysis which they then came back and presented to me a few days later. The competitive market analysis is a binder with information about other houses that have sold recently, similar houses that are for sale, and your house. When they do that they will also talk about what repairs should be done. This will be several dozen pages long, including some fluff, but don't feel guilty about having them do that work since they have software that will help do that and they will have a template that that they use so they are not doing it all from scratch.

You need to be very careful to tell them the same information about why you are selling and what your expectations are about how fast you want it to sell. The problem is that if you give them different information they may legitimately come back with different marketing plans which can be very confusing. I had a checklist of talking points that I used when I talked to the real estate agents to make sure that I gave them the same information. I was careful not to tell them what I thought the house might sell for, I wanted to get their unbiased opinion. I think I even told them that.

As I recall they all sort of danced around the question about what price to list the house at because they did not want to get into legal problems, or turn me off if I had a different idea about what I wanted to sell the house for. In talking with them though it was easy to understand what they thought a good listing price would be.

The entire process was very educational and I learned a lot from their different approaches which were all very different. This allowed me to be a lot more comfortable the choices I was making. By the end of the process I also had a pretty good feel about their personality and if it was compatible with mine. Finding an agent you can work well with is critical so give a lot of weight to that when you are selecting one. You are not getting a new best friend, but you still need to be able to work well with them.

Part of a real estate agents job is to sell themselves and if they are not good at selling themself I would not want them to be selling my house.

Some real estate agents will suggest a high price just to to get you to sign a contract so you need to understand and believe the details of why they suggested a high price.

Some real estate agents will do the opposite and suggest a low price just to make it a quick and easy sale so they do not need to do much work.

I then picked one of them and we worked out the details of the listing agreement and I signed it. Their default listing agreement was sort of vague about just what they would do but I had them add in some details about things like how often there would be open houses. Some people do not like open houses but my house had a view over some wetlands which was a big selling feature. The person who eventually bought it found it at an open house and fell in love with the view so open houses do sometimes work.

Up until then there was nothing signed and there was not obligation to any of them. I was also up front with the real estate agents about the process I was using to select an agent. They were all OK with the process and while none of them said it I think that they were in some ways happy to be dealing with someone that was treating it as a business transaction instead of someone who would need a lot of hand holding since they had a lot of emotional ties to the house.

When I contacted the other agents to let them know I had not selected them they were disappointed but professional and cordial. The real estate business is pretty small so a good real estate agent will not burn any bridges and they know that someday they will likely be dealing with me the agent I did select.

A few points;

The agent I selected made sure that I kept the list of similar houses that were currently for sale that was in their competitive market analysis. Before we started she said that in 30 or 60 days that if the house had not sold then we would go through that list of houses to see if they had sold and what price they sold for. Those would be sort of a control group to help judge if the house was taking too long to sell or not and if the price should be reduced. Setting up that criteria ahead of time is a good idea.

The agent also made a point of calling the other agent whenever the house was shown to get feedback from the agent that showed the house. Their feedback was great since if their buyer was not interested in the house they would usually give honest feedback about if they thought the price was reasonable, if the buyer was turned off because of the price, and if there was some specific reason that the buyer did not select the house. The feedback was invaluable since it told us that the house was priced right but it was other issues with the house(that we could not change) that was the problem. Eventually we found a buyer that was OK with the issues and sold it for near the listing price.
Saving to come back to next year to read when I sell my house.
boglerdude
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Re: selling house advice

Post by boglerdude »

Initially I was thinking change nothing and offer a credit for new flooring etc

But it sounds like, in a competitive market its better to have things looking good so folks can make an offer fast. And some people might not have the time or inclination to re-do flooring.

1) Best return on investment is wide plank hardwood, not too dark?

2) If a Redfin agent is 1% you can ask the best local agents for 3-4%? prob will have the place vacant which should reduce their workload.
JimSmiley1850
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:57 pm

Re: selling house advice

Post by JimSmiley1850 »

Just to pick up on FH150’s Tech savvy point. I was told that people first go to the website to look at the house and if they like it will go to the open house or make an appointment. That means professional and great looking pictures / video of the house or People will not even come by. My agent also said the foyer has to be immaculate— apparently many people make up there mind if they like or don’t like a house in the first minutes of a visit.
Cigarman
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Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:12 am

Re: selling house advice

Post by Cigarman »

So I just went through exercise myself.

Contacted 4 agents, only 3 responded, all contacted via the web. One called me within 30 minutes of my email inquiry. The other two within a day.

Of the three, one seemed indifferent, one was actually a different agent than who I spoke to on the phone, the 3rd had great energy and asked me a lot of questions as we toured the house (happens to be the same agency that called within 30 minutes)

I selected the agent with the quick response time and great energy. Took about 2 weeks to get everything organized and on a Monday the photographer showed up. I decluttered and decluttered and decluttered. Removed all personal items and made sure everything was neat and tidy.

Listing went live the day after pictures were taken. Sold in 24 hrs at 20k over asking. Closing October 1. Hot market in Raleigh, NC right now, may not remain that way for long. Busted my ass doing things to really make the place shine and everytime the realtor asked me for info I responded quickly.

There are now 11 homes for sale in my neighborhood, 3 had open houses this weekend, about half have already dropped their asking price by 10k-20k. Can't stress enough how making things look neat and tidy helps and a good realtor can give proper guidance.

As a side note, one of the realtor's did suggest changing out the fixture in the foyer. I was a little turned off by that. It is the original fixture, 20+ years old and really doesn't go with the house anymore. With an 18' ceiling and all it would have involved roughly $750-$1000 to do it properly and would not have added any value to the sale. I did however replace some clapboards and restrain a 450 Sq Ft. deck prior to the agents coming in.
Mr. Rumples
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Re: selling house advice

Post by Mr. Rumples »

Your other option is to hire a home inspector. Of course you will pay for that. Home inspectors are not perfect, but a real estate agent isn't going to find double tapping on the electrics, crawl in the crawl space and so on. Agents will help with the staging.

Where I live, its a sellers market with many homes going in three or four days above asking. In that environment, I'm not sure how many buyers are looking into each nook and cranny.
vested1
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:20 pm

Re: selling house advice

Post by vested1 »

rich126 wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:44 pm A while ago, back east, I bought a house that needed fixing. After doing some repairs I emailed a few agents asking if any would take a quick look at my house and make any suggestions. Most ignored me. Interestingly one agent who has his own company with tons of people working for him and does a huge volume actually responded and showed up. Might explain why he does so well.

Later when I decided to sell I used his company. People often remember those things.

I just put my house up for sale in a hot market and expect it to sell the first weekend, hopefully at a good price, we'll see. My agent was swamped with calls trying to see the place even before I would allow it to open to agents. They did the now standard photos and videos.

Some times. Good luck.
This is Key. A good experienced realtor with a good reputation among other realtors will have a network that has tendrils throughout the local market, which will equate to more profit and a quicker sale.

I would suggest looking at various sites that offer an estimate of value on your home. Zillow tends to be less accurate than Realtor.com in my opinion, and that of my agent. Once you have a ballpark idea of what your house should sell for, using comparables from those online sources, you are better equipped to gauge the price that the realtor wants to list as being in your best interests, or in theirs in order to get a quick sale. I would also visit every open house in your general area. If you have any leverage or incentive to offer the agent you can also come out ahead.

The 1st step I did when choosing a realtor to sell our house was to go online and look at the number of houses sold recently by the realtors I was considering. I then searched for the highest rated realtor in the county by the local realtors association based on sales, and also talked with friends who bought or sold recently. I had several agents visit our home, and all were excited about selling it.

Our incentive to the realtor we eventually chose was that we had two properties to sell, the condo of my recently deceased MIL and our own home. I asked the realtor to reduce her commission by one percent, and if she agreed I would list both properties with her. She never took less than 6% because of her marketing and staging costs, but she agreed. I wanted to sell the condo first, and upped her suggestion of list price by 10k due to my knowledge of comps in the condo complex. I did some cosmetic repairs during the time from the signing of the agent's contract and the listing date. This updating was used as proof of our honesty to buyers, who became more eager as the listing date approached. She used her contacts in the business to not only promote the quality of the condo but to tease the upcoming listing of our home, which elicited numerous drivebys by agents and their clients.

The condo sold within the first week of listing with multiple offers of at least asking price. Among other improvements, I had planned to replace the stained carpets with new flooring and had already purchased the material which was onsite, and contracted the labor to be done before closing. The buyer was so eager to win the bid that they agreed to buy out the contract and pay for the material outright, adding that amount to the already above asking sales price, making my personal tear out of the carpets unnecessary.

By the time our home entered pre-market the other agents and their clients were chomping at the bit because of the glowing praise by my agent of it's upgrades and quality. The extensive landscaping I had personally done over the years made for a great 1st impression. Our agent wanted to list the home for 20k less than I wanted to, but she agreed to my price. We got 5 immediate offers at the 1st open house, the lowest at asking and we settled for 10k over asking with a 45 day escrow at the end of the week. Two previous escrows, days apart in the first week fell apart because of financing issues. The third escrow had a buyer who put down 60% and could have bought for cash.

I worked on the house months before the official listing, and continued even after escrow began, which the prospective buyer could see when he continued to drive by. I considered that to be insurance in case the buyer backed out, which was a distant possibility. The effort I put forth to resolve any possible issues was proof to the prospective buyers and to the eventual buyer that I was going above what could be expected of a seller. The house sold for about 50k over comparables at the time, and is still 30k over the current Zillow estimate of value. In fact the sales price of our previous home boosted the estimated value of those in our area.
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Watty
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Re: selling house advice

Post by Watty »

Mr. Rumples wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:33 am Your other option is to hire a home inspector. Of course you will pay for that. Home inspectors are not perfect, but a real estate agent isn't going to find double tapping on the electrics, crawl in the crawl space and so on.
Things can be different in different parts of the country or in hot or cold housing markets but I would question that suggestion.

I would not have your home inspected unless your real estate agent says that you really need one in your local housing market.


No buyer will use your inspection report so they will have your own inspection anyway so at best getting one may cost a lot and add little value.

The problem is that anything that shows up in your inspection will need to be disclosed or fixed and there can be a lot of gray areas with things that are still working fine but may need to be addressed in a few years.

The inspector may also note things as problems that may have been up to code when the house was build but the building code may have changed and these may not now be up to code for new construction. Those are normally fine to leave the way they are until you do a major remodel.

No inspector is perfect either and they may note something that is not really a problem. Some home inspectors will also be a bit vague and add CYA comments like they would suggest additional roof inspection, electrical inspection, sewer line camera inspection, etc. You then would probably need to disclose to the buyer that those had recommended and that may turn off the buyer since they could think that indicated a suspected problem and it was not just a standard CYA statement in the inspection report.

There may also be things that your inspector will find that the buyers inspector would have missed. I am not suggesting hiding something that you know about but you really don't want to go looking for problems that you do not know about or suspect.
Mr. Rumples
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Re: selling house advice

Post by Mr. Rumples »

You have a very valid point. The only reason I mentioned it was since the OP was asking the realtor for repairs. Frankly, I have a lot of skepticism about inspectors especially in states where they aren't licensed. But I also suppose the buyer's inspector would also find about the same issues, but maybe not...I trust I make myself obscure :)
rich126
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: selling house advice

Post by rich126 »

vested1 wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:48 am
rich126 wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:44 pm A while ago, back east, I bought a house that needed fixing. After doing some repairs I emailed a few agents asking if any would take a quick look at my house and make any suggestions. Most ignored me. Interestingly one agent who has his own company with tons of people working for him and does a huge volume actually responded and showed up. Might explain why he does so well.

Later when I decided to sell I used his company. People often remember those things.

I just put my house up for sale in a hot market and expect it to sell the first weekend, hopefully at a good price, we'll see. My agent was swamped with calls trying to see the place even before I would allow it to open to agents. They did the now standard photos and videos.

Some times. Good luck.
This is Key. A good experienced realtor with a good reputation among other realtors will have a network that has tendrils throughout the local market, which will equate to more profit and a quicker sale.

I would suggest looking at various sites that offer an estimate of value on your home. Zillow tends to be less accurate than Realtor.com in my opinion, and that of my agent. Once you have a ballpark idea of what your house should sell for, using comparables from those online sources, you are better equipped to gauge the price that the realtor wants to list as being in your best interests, or in theirs in order to get a quick sale. I would also visit every open house in your general area. If you have any leverage or incentive to offer the agent you can also come out ahead.

The 1st step I did when choosing a realtor to sell our house was to go online and look at the number of houses sold recently by the realtors I was considering. I then searched for the highest rated realtor in the county by the local realtors association based on sales, and also talked with friends who bought or sold recently. I had several agents visit our home, and all were excited about selling it.

Our incentive to the realtor we eventually chose was that we had two properties to sell, the condo of my recently deceased MIL and our own home. I asked the realtor to reduce her commission by one percent, and if she agreed I would list both properties with her. She never took less than 6% because of her marketing and staging costs, but she agreed. I wanted to sell the condo first, and upped her suggestion of list price by 10k due to my knowledge of comps in the condo complex. I did some cosmetic repairs during the time from the signing of the agent's contract and the listing date. This updating was used as proof of our honesty to buyers, who became more eager as the listing date approached. She used her contacts in the business to not only promote the quality of the condo but to tease the upcoming listing of our home, which elicited numerous drivebys by agents and their clients.

The condo sold within the first week of listing with multiple offers of at least asking price. Among other improvements, I had planned to replace the stained carpets with new flooring and had already purchased the material which was onsite, and contracted the labor to be done before closing. The buyer was so eager to win the bid that they agreed to buy out the contract and pay for the material outright, adding that amount to the already above asking sales price, making my personal tear out of the carpets unnecessary.

By the time our home entered pre-market the other agents and their clients were chomping at the bit because of the glowing praise by my agent of it's upgrades and quality. The extensive landscaping I had personally done over the years made for a great 1st impression. Our agent wanted to list the home for 20k less than I wanted to, but she agreed to my price. We got 5 immediate offers at the 1st open house, the lowest at asking and we settled for 10k over asking with a 45 day escrow at the end of the week. Two previous escrows, days apart in the first week fell apart because of financing issues. The third escrow had a buyer who put down 60% and could have bought for cash.

I worked on the house months before the official listing, and continued even after escrow began, which the prospective buyer could see when he continued to drive by. I considered that to be insurance in case the buyer backed out, which was a distant possibility. The effort I put forth to resolve any possible issues was proof to the prospective buyers and to the eventual buyer that I was going above what could be expected of a seller. The house sold for about 50k over comparables at the time, and is still 30k over the current Zillow estimate of value. In fact the sales price of our previous home boosted the estimated value of those in our area.
Interestingly the highlighted portion extends to a variety of business stuff. I was reading on another thread (I think it was here) about self publishing a book and one person listed how to do it. One of the key items was to garner interest in the book prior to even writing it.

A common thing with agents now is to do a lot of pre-listing marketing and price it well. Then get a lot of offers and even offers above list price.

In my case I had 4 full price offers the first weekend and sold it above list price (which seemed lofty to me due to being quite a bit higher than it was in Feb).
NEDriller
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Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:40 pm

Re: selling house advice

Post by NEDriller »

Literally pack up half of your crap and move it out of the house. You are moving anyway, see if you can store it in someone's garage or rent a storage unit for a month or 2. Almost Empty cabinets and closets look bigger. And that extra end table or couch for when your friends come over just takes up lots of space and makes the house feel smaller
LiterallyIronic
Posts: 1463
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:36 am

Re: selling house advice

Post by LiterallyIronic »

DesertDiva wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 1:29 pm
phxjcc wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 10:48 pm
Freetime76 wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:56 pm My standard advice:
1. Read the listing contracts, preferably before you sign. :D
2. Get your own idea of pricing and home conditions by looking at sold listings online.
3. Clean as if the Pope is visiting.
4. Do as little updating or fixing as possible. Now is not the time to buy a new HVAC or kitchen, assuming yours are functional.
5. Consider what you want your realtor to know (I.e. absolutely share what they need to know to sell the house effectively, however I would think carefully before showing all your cards, such as a bottom price you’d accept).

Start cleaning, throwing out, donating and packing now.
Lastly, put all personal pictures away.
Your husband is a hunk, your kids are adorable, mom and dad look great at their 30th anniversary party....BUT you want the potential buyers to see THEMSELVES in THIS house, not feel like they are GUESTS in YOUR house.
Excellent advice here.
Clean, declutter, depersonalize, neutralize. These activities work wonders.
The house we bought was completely empty when we looked at it, which was a major selling point. I intend to do the same thing in the future when we sell.
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htdrag11
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Re: selling house advice

Post by htdrag11 »

We've just gone thru buying and selling our home this year. It took us about 18 months for the prep since we were in this old house for 30 years.
As a few had already said, depersonalize and de-clutter as much as you can. In our case we downsized so we gave quite a bit of furniture away. Only left the essentials. Our new home could use furniture but cannot shop due to the virus.
Since you're in a hot market, you might not need an agent. In my area, commission ranges from 4- 6%; all are full service agents.
We did fixed up the house a bit at a cost of about $10k, painting ($5k) and minor repairs.
As for the inspection report, I found it not effective for the money ($750 here), so do not bother with paying for one (unless you're buying).
Lawyer fees are also all over the map. They could run from $750 to $1,300.
If you do not have much to move, hire or rent from U-Haul and get your own movers. I was not happy with our movers who were highly recommended. Maybe we moved during a hot market in the summer.
Our town's average turnaround for selling a home is about 6 months. We were able to sell in 3, despite the lock down. We only had one offer but we made it worked (6% off from the low asking price relative to other houses).
At the end of the day, you need to be comfortable with your realtor. We got ours from our neighbor and friends of 30 years, still in touch. We only had one realtor also.
GL and take a deep breath. It was stressful for us on both ends of the deals.
Bohemiana
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Re: selling house advice

Post by Bohemiana »

Watty wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:16 pm I went through an interview process to select an agent just like I was hiring an employee.

The last time I sold a house I talked to about a half a dozen real estate agents on the phone about my house, their background, and the local real estate market. Each of the calls was about 20 to 30 minutes.

I then picked three of them to let them come see the house then write up a competitive market analysis which they then came back and presented to me a few days later. The competitive market analysis is a binder with information about other houses that have sold recently, similar houses that are for sale, and your house. When they do that they will also talk about what repairs should be done. This will be several dozen pages long, including some fluff, but don't feel guilty about having them do that work since they have software that will help do that and they will have a template that that they use so they are not doing it all from scratch.

You need to be very careful to tell them the same information about why you are selling and what your expectations are about how fast you want it to sell. The problem is that if you give them different information they may legitimately come back with different marketing plans which can be very confusing. I had a checklist of talking points that I used when I talked to the real estate agents to make sure that I gave them the same information. I was careful not to tell them what I thought the house might sell for, I wanted to get their unbiased opinion. I think I even told them that.

As I recall they all sort of danced around the question about what price to list the house at because they did not want to get into legal problems, or turn me off if I had a different idea about what I wanted to sell the house for. In talking with them though it was easy to understand what they thought a good listing price would be.

The entire process was very educational and I learned a lot from their different approaches which were all very different. This allowed me to be a lot more comfortable the choices I was making. By the end of the process I also had a pretty good feel about their personality and if it was compatible with mine. Finding an agent you can work well with is critical so give a lot of weight to that when you are selecting one. You are not getting a new best friend, but you still need to be able to work well with them.

Part of a real estate agents job is to sell themselves and if they are not good at selling themself I would not want them to be selling my house.

Some real estate agents will suggest a high price just to to get you to sign a contract so you need to understand and believe the details of why they suggested a high price.

Some real estate agents will do the opposite and suggest a low price just to make it a quick and easy sale so they do not need to do much work.

I then picked one of them and we worked out the details of the listing agreement and I signed it. Their default listing agreement was sort of vague about just what they would do but I had them add in some details about things like how often there would be open houses. Some people do not like open houses but my house had a view over some wetlands which was a big selling feature. The person who eventually bought it found it at an open house and fell in love with the view so open houses do sometimes work.

Up until then there was nothing signed and there was not obligation to any of them. I was also up front with the real estate agents about the process I was using to select an agent. They were all OK with the process and while none of them said it I think that they were in some ways happy to be dealing with someone that was treating it as a business transaction instead of someone who would need a lot of hand holding since they had a lot of emotional ties to the house.

When I contacted the other agents to let them know I had not selected them they were disappointed but professional and cordial. The real estate business is pretty small so a good real estate agent will not burn any bridges and they know that someday they will likely be dealing with me the agent I did select.

A few points;

The agent I selected made sure that I kept the list of similar houses that were currently for sale that was in their competitive market analysis. Before we started she said that in 30 or 60 days that if the house had not sold then we would go through that list of houses to see if they had sold and what price they sold for. Those would be sort of a control group to help judge if the house was taking too long to sell or not and if the price should be reduced. Setting up that criteria ahead of time is a good idea.

The agent also made a point of calling the other agent whenever the house was shown to get feedback from the agent that showed the house. Their feedback was great since if their buyer was not interested in the house they would usually give honest feedback about if they thought the price was reasonable, if the buyer was turned off because of the price, and if there was some specific reason that the buyer did not select the house. The feedback was invaluable since it told us that the house was priced right but it was other issues with the house(that we could not change) that was the problem. Eventually we found a buyer that was OK with the issues and sold it for near the listing price.
A Realtor here--this comment is right on the mark! However, the fact that the selected agent called other agents for feedback RARELY actually happens. I always did it for my listings but it was shocking to me when I showed a buyer a home, 95% of the time the listing agent never called to find out what my buyer or I thought. That's just plain lazy.

Regarding listing at a slightly lower price...in my market, multiple offers are very common and the more offers you get, often the higher the final price if the agent can get a bidding situation going. Not all markets are like that but in general I would say listing too high is the kiss of death because when you have to reduce your price all of a sudden the seller looks desperate to sell. The longer a house is on the market, the fewer buyers view it and in the end you will be selling it for a reduced price it should have originally offered.
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