The home seller has different objectives than the home buyer. The seller seeks to get the highest price for their home while the buyer tries to negotiate to get the very lowest price possible. The Sellers will have a different lens than the buyer and to that end, have different questions on the process.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions asked by sellers.
- What do I have to do to my home before I put it on the market? This is often one of the first questions asked by sellers. Preparing a home to go on the market can be very stressful as sellers anticipate a lot of time in cleaning up the property and the expense in fixing items that may have been broken for years. The answer to this question depends on the condition of the home. Sellers should choose a listing agent very carefully and ensure that the agent has the experience and knowledge to meet the seller’s objectives. The listing agent will often advise the seller to avoid having “clutter in the home” as this can be a turn-off to buyers. In many cases, it can be difficult for the buyer to see beyond what is currently there in a home in which they are looking. If you have wall colors that are non-standard such as fuchsia walls or other bright colors, an agent may recommend that you paint the walls a neutral color as that will appeal to most people. You will want to make the home as aesthetically pleasing as possible and fix anything major wrong with the home. If you have deferred a lot of maintenance over the years, e.g. replacing an old HVAC unit, replacing rotted wood etc, you can certainly sell “as is”. However, you will likely see some low-ball offers as a buyer points out all of the required maintenance.
- How much is my home worth? This is the most anticipated question for sellers. The answer to this question will depend on the size of the home, the neighborhood, and many other factors. Ultimately, the value of your house will be determined by the prices of similar sized homes that have sold in a close proximity to your home. These homes are referred to as “Comps”.
- How much do I have to pay the listing agent? Commissions can vary but it is usually 6% of the sales price of the home. It is important to note that the 6% is the total commission paid and this is usually shared with the buyers agent as well. Thus, the listing agent would typically only get the “full” commission if they were a dual agent and represented both the seller and buyer or the buyer did not have an agent. Another item to note is that the listing agent only gets paid if the home actually sells. Often times the seller will try to negotiate the real estate agent to be less than the 6%, say maybe a commission of 5%. You will want to be cautious with this tactic as it may cost you in the long run. As 6% is the norm, buyers agents may choose to show other comparable houses so that they earn full commissions. Highly ethical agents would not discriminate in this manner, but you definitely run the risk of having less showings if you pay less than the going rate.
- How long will it take before my home is sold? The answer to this question will depend on a number of factors such as the area and the price. The time on the market can vary wildly. If you seek to get a price above market value, you may not sell your home at all. It is best to price your home competitively for quicker sales but not above market value.
- Is staging really that important? Yes, it can be very important. Typically, the masses are more attracted to neutral colors and they like to see a home with furniture. It allows the buyer to see themselves living there. You want to create a place that a buyer would like to live. It is always better to leave a home with furniture as opposed to an empty home.