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What Your Broker May Not Tell You




Selling a home is a major undertaking for anyone and isn’t to be approached lightly.

You want to do everything right to nail the sale, but what is your real estate agent keeping from you that might impair a successful sale?

•            Your asking price is wrong. Everyone wants to get top dollar for their house, and the larger your selling price, the larger the agent’s commission. But the market fluctuates and you need to be realistic about where your home stands now. Make sure that you do some research to calculate what your home is worth in today’s market. If your asking price is higher than an appraiser or lender believes it to be, you might price yourself out of a sale.


•            Your situation is totally wrong. Are you selling my home for the right reasons? Good reasons include relocating and a reduced need for space. There are, however, many wrong reasons to push for a sale, including attempting to avoid major repairs, in order to “play” the market, or because your mortgage exceeds the value of your house. While you might be tempted to avoid repair costs by pawning them off on “the next guy,” you will be ethically and legally obligated to disclose that shoddy roof when you sell. Remember that if you’re playing the market because of a recent rise in home values, there’s a flip side – you’ll soon become a buyer in that same market. Down markets recover over time, so try to remember all the good things that led you to initially buy your home. If you can afford your mortgage payments, it could be a good idea to sit out the market.


•            You don’t need to do anything to prepare for the market. Of course you do. First, step back and realize that you’re bidding your home farewell. Remove personal effects to present a blank canvas for potential buyers’ own dreams. Remove clutter, even if it means renting a storage unit. Stow items you plan to keep – window curtains, for example – and replace them with something you’re willing to leave behind. Complete minor repairs you’ve been putting off and clean the house from top to bottom. Hire a professional if you are adverse to such a large cleaning job. Finally, take an objective walk through the premises, starting with the front yard. Make sure your house has curb appeal, and that the appeal carries throughout your home.


•            You should – or shouldn’t – hold an open house. Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of strangers roaming through their home with minimal supervision, but this concern is usually outweighed by the potential that an interested buyer might drop in and fall in love with the house. Other agents will come by to see your property. The they can send their clients your way. However, in some markets, open houses rarely lead to sales. Ask your agent whether open houses are the standard in your area, and whether they are generally well attended so that you’ll know whether holding one is worth your while.


•            You must tailor your schedule to fit potential buyers’ schedules. If you work or have small children in your house, it might seem difficult to find a time to show your home, but most buyers have their own scheduling constraints. On weekdays, real estate agents can access your home to show to clients while you are at work or out on errands. Showings on evenings and over weekends are also a possibility. Don’t feel that you must drop everything and exit your home when you learn someone wants a tour. Anyone interested in a tour is likely willing to do so at your convenience.

Bottom line, do your research before hiring a real estate agent. Seek referrals from others who’ve recently sold their homes, talk to other agents to determine if your agent is reputable and easy to work with.

Exercise caution and you’ll find a real estate professional who will equip you with all the tools for a successful sale.

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