Smart Steps for Home Sellers

If you are selling your home or thinking about doing so, there are a variety of factors to keep in mind.

As a lender for decades, I’ve seen it all. Smart moves by sellers and some really dumb ones. Prior to my career in lending, I was a licensed real estate broker and have over the years taught sales and marketing strategies.

When your listing agent meets with you, they should have investigated comparable sales.

It’s amazing how many home sellers suddenly are real estate valuation experts and know what their home is worth. I get it, you may have an idea, you may know of a similar home that might have recently sold but there is a process of calculating and estimating value.

A word of caution when looking at the dollar-per-square-foot cost. A single-story home’s cost per square foot is usually higher than a two or three-story home or a home with a basement. If you look at the cost of land, foundation, and rooms like kitchens and bathrooms – these are more expensive areas, the dollar per square foot is higher. If you look at a two-story home with a couple bedrooms and a bath upstairs that cost per square foot is cheaper – it doesn’t account for the land or foundation, etc.

Age, condition, and location of the home are major factors. Market demand is also a factor. When rates were in the 3% and 4% range – there were more buyers qualified in the market. Today rates are hovering around 6.75% so there are fewer buyers.

Walk around and through the home with your agent and let them know what you have liked about the home, how you have used spaces, and features you think the next owner might appreciate. This can help the agent craft the marketing message.

Realize that the things you might not like about your home could be things a new buyer might not like as well. A half bath off the master instead of a full bath. A hallway closet with a washer and dryer instead of a laundry room.

Photos are critical and a good agent will not skimp on getting good pics. You must do your part. Move the crap out. Yes, I said crap. We all have a lot of it. And you can’t just shove it in the closet because the buyer wants to see the closet size. Your prized collection of clowns – send out the clowns!

If the home stays on the market for a while your agent will suggest a price reduction. When this happens, the listing gets to update the listing and perhaps more potential buyers will become interested.

The agent should have shown you homes that are your “competition” –  similar homes also for sale. Find out the status of these homes. Have they sold? At or above or before the list price?

Before lowering the price, or in conjunction with it, ask the agent if they have done the following:

Hold open houses (yes usually used for agents to find buyers for other homes but can be a source of a buyer).

Hold broker open house for agents.

Send a mailer to the neighborhood, or better yet, have them go door to door with a doorknob hanger with information about your home.

Consider having your agent add wording to the listing like “Seller will consider buying down buyers interest rate.” The buyer can get a better payment and you can pay less in a reduced price when this strategy is used.

And know your path. Where are you going? Will you need financing on the next home? If so, have you talked with a lender and agent about the next home?

I often help sellers who need financing on the next home. I’m licensed in WA, OR, ID, AZ, and CA. Happy to chat if you’d like.

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