Confessions of a Real Estate Agent: She Spills her Guts to Sellers
Sara says there is no standard real estate commission, and theyre all negotiable. I charge six percent. There are a ton of brokerages that advertise lower rates. She says that if a seller only wants the basics: a sign in the yard, a lockbox, a listing in the MLS and a brochure, then that seller might not need a full-service realtor, since a seller could pay
Pay for Expertise, but not for Basics
Sara says there is no standard real estate commission, and theyre all negotiable. I charge six percent. There are a ton of brokerages that advertise lower rates. She says that if a seller only wants the basics: a sign in the yard, a lockbox, a listing in the MLS and a brochure, then that seller might not need a full-service realtor, since a seller could pay a discount brokerage a smaller fee for those fundamentals.
If youre looking for someone to help price your home and negotiate for you and to guide you on common market practices, then you want a full-service brokerage. The commission you pay is for their expertise and negotiation skills, and for guiding you through the biggest transaction of your life. You only sell a home every seven years and you cant possibly know everything you need to know to get yourself the best deal. So you bring in a realtor in because its something she does every day of her life, and she can help you squeeze the most dollar value for your home. Thats why you hire a realtor. Sara laughs and adds, You should listen to her, too, and not argue with everything she says.
Know When Its Time to Dump Your Realtor
Sara says you should dump your realtor if they go out of town for longer than three days and they dont leave anyone in charge of their business. If your realtor drops off and doesnt have an out of office email or contact information on her voicemail, then she isnt representing your best interests. The bottom line: Your realtor shouldnt expect you to put your home sale on hold just because they went out of town.
When Your Hard Work Pays Off
You should almost always counteroffer. If you get an offer you like, but its still below your list price, make a counteroffer. The exception to that rule would be if the bid is so close to list price, a counteroffer would appear nuts and penny pinching.
She explains why. If you immediately accept the first offer, the buyer will automatically think, I should have bid lower. Or they might wonder whats wrong with the place that youre trying to unload it so quickly. If they really like the place, they will feel much better about their offer if you counter it a little bit, but not enough to run them off.
She continues, Also, take a little time to counter, because they might think youre just throwing numbers out there if you counter instantly. If you take a day or two to think about it, it gives you more credibility about the value of your home. Then they are more likely to believe you on later issues that come up on a home inspection.
Sometimes sellers will get an offer and they want to flat out reject the offer instead of countering. Its not smart. If avoidable, never put yourself in the position where you have to sell in a certain amount of time. When you negotiate a contract, you dont want to feel that your negotiating power is stunted because of time constraints.
You Have Everything to Lose by Aiming High
Dont dare overprice in this market, Sara warns. Sellers often think they need to price their home high so they have wiggle room in a negotiation. Theres no law that says you need to negotiate. You can set a price and stay firm.
When pricing your home, use round numbers to reach the broadest audience. Sara explains that if you list your house at $499,999, you will miss buyers who are searching in the $500,000 to $600,000 range. It sounds obvious, but Sara says its a common mistake.
She says, The first 14 days on the market are crucial because people want to look at new listings first, and thats when your listing gets the most attention. People think they have nothing to lose by aiming high at the beginning; they think they can drop the price if they dont get a lot of showings initially. But theyve wasted the peak marketing period by listing at the wrong price. The longer youre on the market, the less likely you are to sell.
Dont Just Sit There
Sara says that one of the biggest mistakes sellers make is to list their house without a marketing plan. Dont just price it, then sit back and watch. Gauge how many showings youre getting per week. You need to get feedback from agents that came through the property to find out if youre overpriced and what people liked or didnt like.
It all sounds really simple. Clean up your house, dont price it too high and make it available for showings. But these are ways to give your home the edge in this increasingly competitive landscape for sellers as more inventory hits the market. Sara says, Real estate is a numbers game, and you need to get those buyers in the door.