So, it’s time to sell your house. Maybe you are looking for an upgrade, a downgrade, or you just need a change. Irrespective of the reason, it’s time. But, as you begin to meet with listing agents, you just can’t shake that nervous feeling. You’ve got that nervous feeling. Trust us, you’re not alone. What follows is a list of common seller fears and anxieties and how to make them gonnne, gonnnne, gonnne …. wooaaaah, whoah.
“If we list too close to my bottom line, buyers will low-ball me.”
True, you might get some low ball offers. But, assuming the house is priced correctly, you will also get competitive ones. If a buyer’s agent recognizes that your price is consistent with the market, he/she is likely to advise his/her client to make an offer that doesn’t stray too far from the asking price, lest they lose credibility. Even the “lowball” offers might beget productive negotiations. A firm rejection of a lowball offer with a counter of your full asking price should signal to a serious buyer that the asking price is credible. And if they’re not really a serious buyer, then who cares about them anyway?
The truth is that an unreasonably high asking price will do more damage than good. In addition to losing credibility with the buying community, you run the risk that your house will sit on the market for too long. Buyers may come to believe that there is something wrong with it and you could be forced to drop your price to a level below what would have otherwise been the fair market price.
No one likes stale bread. Not many like a stale house. Price your house appropriately and buyers will come.
“I don’t want to list the house in the fall/winter because it’s a bad time to sell my home.”
Yes, there will be a smaller pool of buyers in the fall and winter. But there’s a reason they are looking in the fall and winter. Usually they are motivated to buy, and buy quickly. That means more aggressive offers, better qualified buyers and a faster closing time. And with many sellers sharing the above fear, fall and winter means a less competitive inventory of homes for sale. Exposing your home to highly motivated buyers in a less saturated selling market? Uh, sign us up.
Not to mention, if you sell your home at the right time in the winter, you can make the timing work to find the home of your dreams for the right price when the clocks spring forward. Sign us up again.
“Can’t I just sell myself and save on the commission?”
The quick, irresponsible answer is: yes, yes you can. Firstly, you will “save” on only half of the commission because the buyer’s agent will still get paid and any offer you get will be net the buyer agent’s commission. Why did we put save in quotes there, you ask? Well, there are a number of ways that this “savings” will find its way back into the price. The most common way is that a competent buyer’s agent will not be so willing to meet your full asking price knowing: (1) you are already retaining thousands of dollars more on your sales price because you don’t have to pay a seller’s commission and (2) the buyer’s agent will (rightly) feel they can use their time tested negotiating skills to take advantage of your relative inexperience.
Secondly, there are a host of other reasons that make the tactic a bad one: lack of access to a seller’s agent’s resources in terms of marketing and networking; inability to determine whether a buyer is qualified or serious; and finally, if you aren’t out there selling and negotiating real estate deals everyday, you simply lack the knowledge and/or experience to make the best deal for yourself and your family. Even if you save a few dollars, the time and stress accompanying the task during an already tumultuous time in your life will not be worth the return.
“I read that the market is heating up. If I list now, won’t I miss out on even higher prices in the next few months?”
You may miss out on higher prices. But, you could also miss out on today’s prices if you choose to wait. Attempting to time the sale of your house with the peak of the market is very much like playing the stock market. Even the most diligent of research can fail to take into account unforeseen future events that shape the market, for better or worse. In addition, even if you guess right and prices rise, that probably means that the cost of your replacement house will rise as well. So you future unrealized profits might not be quite as profitable as they first appear.
Your decision should ultimately come down to what works best, irrespective of price fluctuations, for you and your family. Found the home of your dreams and want to make an offer but need to put your house on the market first? Don’t wait on the shaky premise that you might not get enough for it.
“What if I can’t find a new house once my home is in contract?”
That doesn’t happen to our clients because we go through a detailed buying consultation where we map out a plan specific to you. We make sure that you are always in control of both sides of the transaction by carefully vetting the market for a match to your criteria. And, by the way, that entire process is free.