In the hot summer months, when home inventory is low and demand is soaring, your sellers may think that their home will move in mere minutes — and at a price that defies even the loftiest expectations. Let’s face it: These dreams of big prices and warp speed sales can spell disaster — and major disappointment — for you and your clients.
Don’t worry! You’re not doomed to this fate. With a few smart, premeditated steps — and the help of a savvy agent — it’s easy to head off seller miseducation and common misconceptions. Here are five simple must-know facts and tips that your sellers need to know before their home hits the market this summer.
1. Staging matters — big time!
Every agent knows the old adage, “Homes that don’t show well don’t close well.” But still, time and time again we see sellers rail against the time and cost associated with staging a home. After all, if they love their home as it is, why shouldn’t everyone else? This is a situation where sometimes showing trumps telling. If you have a particularly staging-averse client, take them on a two-home showing: one where the home is staged and one where the home is not.
Be sensitive, but firm. Their decor may be a beautiful expression of their personality, but sometimes less is more. You can also download and share Trulia’s 10 Hardcore Staging Tips for Sellers so that they can reference it before every open house.
Also remember to stress that when the warm weather comes, it’s as equally important to show off the outside of the home as it is to highlight the inside of the home. During the summer selling season, buyers are more likely to value things like a stellar backyard, a great (but low-maintenance) garden, or incredible curb appeal.
2. The market sets the price, not the owner.
It’s understandable that many home sellers think that their home is above the price that the market dictates. Sentimental value often translates into an inflated sense of the home’s worth, but when it comes price, the winning opinion is always the market’s opinion. Agents know it’s impossible to effectively price a home without taking into account the competition. Unfortunately, too many sellers don’t.
First, it’s essential to determine how much the seller thinks their home is worth. If their expectation is wildly inappropriate, it may be worth taking the clients to see a home that is on the market and priced at their expectation. Then, take the seller to a comparable home that is priced similarly to where you feel their home should be priced. Take the time to both educate them on the competition and give them expert home pricing tips to help them understand your pricing strategy.
3. Small renovations may mean big bucks later.
In many cases, the cost of a home repair is less expensive than a potential buyer perceives the cost of the repair to be. If buyers overestimate the cost of fixing the problem, it may negatively impact the offer amount and end up costing the seller more in the long run. Be upfront with your seller clients when you spot unsightly blemishes that could cost your clients the deal.
Before you list and start marketing the property, counsel your sellers on the improvements you know will make a difference when it comes to price. If you need a starter list of simple ways to boost a home’s value and its showing potential, download our guide on the 10 ways to boost your home’s value to share with your sellers.
4. Incentives can help close the deal faster.
Offering practical incentives might not sound sexy, but those that fill legitimate buyer needs have the power to differentiate a listing from the competition and attract just the right attention needed to get the home sold for the right price.
Talk to your sellers early about how they might be prepared to sweeten the deal if the right offers don’t come rolling in. Talking incentives early and building them into the marketing plan can arm both agent and seller with the ammunition to jump potential marketing hurdles and beat out the competition for a fast sale.
5. Real estate is a local business.
The last few years have turned real estate headlines into high-profile news. Home prices are on the rise. In fact, last month home prices were up 8.1 percent year over year. While this is great news for the country as a whole, be sure to remind your sellers that real estate is a local industry and that asking price isn’t everything. To do this, consider posting your own local market updates on your personal real estate blog.
For many sellers, seeing the numbers is just the ammunition they need to see to agree to the right price.