Monday, January 25, 2010

You Might Not Need A REALTOR IF.... Reason #3

Reason #3: You Might Not Need A REALTOR IF….
You Don't Need Assistance with Developing a Pricing and Staging Strategy

The number one problem I see with this is a lack of objectivity.  Most people don't really know that they need help here.  In fact, many people are in such denial that they won't even take the advice of their real estate agent when they do hire one.

EVERYBODY thinks their property is the best.... yeah, that's why you bought it.  But you know it is not THE best, otherwise, you wouldn't be selling.  During the sales process, I recommend you focus on the reasons you DON'T want to live there, and not get offended when people suggest reasons they wouldn't want to live there.  I even find myself thinking "well, yeah, I know that house sold for X but my house backs up to..." And, then I realize what I am saying. 

  • Do you know how buyers look at homes? 

  • Do you know how to make your home appeal to the most likely buyer?

  • Who is your most likely buyer?

Buyers are liars, so don't ask them.  I mean, it's not their fault, they believe what they say to you, but they don't know.... until they find what speaks to them.  Can you make your home speak to them?  And, when it speaks, is one of the things it says "value"?  If not, it won't sell.

As a professional, in addition to having objectivity, we have information....lots of it.  We've developed resources and tools and professional relationships so we can obtain information quickly, accurately and efficiently with regard to comparables and activity levels.  We may have seen some of the comps, know their condition and the less obvious reasons for why they are, or are not, selling.  If not, we can usually get the inside scoop pretty quickly.

  • I recall one comp and I swear the reason it wasn't selling was the python in the cage when you walked into the living room.  I don't think it ever sold.  
  • In another, I know the property wasn't selling largely because of the bird on the breakfast bar.  I re-listed it, staged it right, and sold it in a month.
  • In still another situation, I am aware that one comp that was tainted by a low FHA appraisal for 6 months, eliminating 80% of his target buyers.  Too bad his agent didn't know how to get that released.
First you have to know these things... then you have to know how they will affect the price for your home.

Good agents have knowledge about the market, who your buyers are, how buyers are buying and what they are considering.  And, a good agent can sell to that segment.....with property staging and pricing.

With your help, we (as agents) will recognize what is great about your property.  Then, with our help, you can show it off.  Sellers are shocked (and offended, I think), when I suggest:

  • They should hide te coffee maker and display a cook book; to put away that great family photo and the bagua.  
  • Your home is probably full of things you love.  Your lovely things are not for sale, put them away - get a storage  unit if you have to.  Oh, wait, minimalists - don't get too cocky, empty is not good either.  
  • You may have a great furniture arrangement for watching TV, your buyers will not be watching TV while looking at your home, but I can't see your fireplace from the front door, so we're moving your couch. 
  • Your curtains are beautiful - take them down.  
  • It is nice to have the windows open in the spring - but don't, and get rid of the screens.  And, oh, by the way, when is the last time these windows were washed?  
  • Functionally, I would like the trash can there, too.... but it's got to go. 
  • Sorry, Charlie... if you want the magazines in the John, they gotta be hidden.
  • I don't care if your home was professionally decorated - in fact, maybe ESPECIALLY if your home was professionally decorated, you will need staging advice.
You don't want to hear any of this....I don't want to say it.  But, it's for your own good, and you should pay people to say it to you.  If you listen, you will MAKE MONEY.  Sometimes BIG MONEY.

And, this part of the consulting goes far beyond just moving furniture.  Should you paint? Replace carpet? Replace the roof? What's going to return you the biggest bang for the buck?  Is it important to have the driveway sealed, the garden mulched?  Is it better for the home to be occupied or vacant? Should we leave furniture, or empty the house?  My answers to these questions depend on literally thousands of factors, and so they are different for every home and every household.

At the end of the day, if you are POSITIVE you don't need the staging advice (do not ask your friends here, they will either lie or not know any better when they tell you what you want to hear), or pricing advice (the worst person to ask here is someone in the neighborhood), OR you won't listen anyway, then skip it - don't bother hiring a real estate agent.....Well, unless you need their other services.

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Stay tuned to the REAL ESTATE WHISPERER for the rest of the posts in this series. 

In the meantime, if you need honest feedback about whether you should hire a REALTOR to sell your home, and if you're in the Loudoun/Dulles area, feel free to call me.  I am happy to talk with you over the phone about some of the pros/cons of hiring a real estate agent.
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