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  • Writer's picturePDuran

How to Work with a Realtor to Sell your Home

Your home has been sitting on the market for six months. It’s time to fire your realtor. She held a couple of open houses the first month, but since then, she's done nothing. Worse, she keeps trying to get you to lower the price! Your co-worker's neighbor is a real estate agent. You’ll call her.

Typical Sellers

It could be that you hired a bad agent. It could be that you are a bad client. Or, as I like to call them, a typical seller. Now, before you get mad and click somewhere else, hear me out. I, too, have often behaved like a typical seller. After buying and selling many homes, I still find it difficult to follow my own advice. Every seller wants to sell fast and for top dollar. Like, who wouldn’t?

What Is Top Dollar?

Top dollar is not how much you owe on the home. It is not the assessed value. It is not how much you think you should get. It is not the amount your neighbor sold their home for. Top dollar is the maximum you can get for your home in the current market – in your situation. Why do your personal circumstances matter? If you’re in a hurry to sell, you will need to price under market to attract a buyer quickly.

5 Rules to Working with Your Listing Agent

A realtor cannot sell your home without your help. Follow these rules to get your top dollar.

Rule #1 – Agree to a Pricing Strategy

You want your realtor to come up with a pricing strategy – not a hard price. Often a realtor will suggest a price that the seller disagrees with. Or, the market appears to be heading up and your agent thinks you should test a higher price. You should agree up front that if there is no activity in, say, two weeks, that you will drop the price by, say, 5%.

Rule #2 – Make Your Home Look Like a Model

Even in a seller’s market, your home will take longer to sell and command a lower price if it doesn’t show well. I have seen pictures of homes where there are dishes in the sink, clutter in the family room, and dying plants in the gardens. If it turns you off, it will turn a prospective buyer off. Pack up the clutter, clean it up, do the needed repairs, plant some flowers.

Rule #3 – Make It Easy to Show Your Home

Yes, selling a home is inconvenient. If you refuse to be inconvenienced, then you don’t really want to sell. Put a sign in the yard, a lockbox on the door, and be willing to show the home at the drop of a hat. The easier you make it to show your home, the more your home will be shown. The more your home is shown, the more likely you will get an offer. It’s a numbers game.

Rule #4 – Drop or Stop

If your home is not selling, drop the price or take it off the market. If you’re not willing to lower the price, then you don’t want to sell. Or at least you don’t need to sell. That’s okay. I have taken properties off the market because I could not get my price. But I have also accepted a lower price on a property because I needed the cash. In one case, I had already signed a contract to build a new home. I was not in a position to bargain.

The worst thing you can do is drop by small amounts. A $2,000 price drop on a $400K home is meaningless. Lower the price by $20K to get their attention. This is a lot easier to do if you make the decision in advance.

Rule #5 - Be Honest

Be honest with your realtor. “If I don’t get $400K for my home, I’m not selling.” Your agent should be honest with you. “I know you want $400K, but my analysis shows that $350K is fair market price.” There is a realtor out there who will put your home on the market knowing that it is overpriced. As my partner says, “It’s only a problem for the winner.” The agent won your listing by lying to you. They figure when the house doesn’t sell in a couple of months, you’ll agree to lower the price. That agent you want to fire, did they tell you the truth or did they tell you what you wanted to hear?

The Good Client

Agree to a pricing strategy, make your home look like a model, make it easy to show, and drop the price if you really need to sell. Good clients have successful agents.


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