Congratulations! We've signed the contract and now we are ready to market your home. This period can be a little overwhelming to sellers, especially if you haven't sold a home in a while, or this is your first time. We often get the same questions from sellers--so here are some quick answers to many of our questions.
What do I need to do to get ready for the market?
Think like a buyer! Drive up to your house, park and ring your own front door. How is the curb appeal? Does your doorbell work? Is your front mat worn-out? Go through your home room by room with a buyer's eyes. Based on what you see would you buy your own home? For checklists, click here.
I have some great photos of the house, can you use them?
Maybe... but probably not. We hire a professional photographer and the resolution of his photos will be far superior to anything you or I can take. Also, the size of the photos will be different and that can make your listing look strange.
When will I see my listing on-line on all the real estate website?
Some websites syndicate faster than others and will appear almost instantly. It may take even a couple days for your listing to be "live" on some sites. Rest assured, your home will be everywhere on-line.
Is my house secure? How will I know who is in my house?
We only use secured lockboxes on our listings. Only licensed agents can access your lockbox. As soon as the agent opens the lockbox, their name and the time of the access is registered so we know exactly who and when they entered your home.
Will you be showing my house? Or someone from your office?
I may show your house, or it may be an agent from my office; but, more than likely it will be one of the 35,000 agents from the area who will show your home to their buyers. We don't really care who the agent is who brings your buyer--we just want a buyer for your house. Except in certain circumstances, having the listing agent at the appointment can inhibit showings, and make the buyers uncomfortable. We don't want there to be any barriers to your home being shown.
I have a showing! Now what?
When an agent wants to show your home, you will be notified according to your preferences--by text, phone, email. Showings will be confirmed according to instructions we have previously discussed.
The agent will usually request a one-hour window to show your home. She may be showing her buyer 5 or 6 homes that afternoon and is not sure exactly when she'll be there. If the appointment is between 1-2pm, the agent and buyer may arrive anytime within that window.
If you can, do a quick tidy, turn on all the lights, secure your pets and leave a few minutes before the appointment time.
Can I stay at home during the showing?
Many sellers want to stay during the showings because, after all, who knows your home better than you? But, think like a buyer. If you were buying a home, would you want the seller to stay? It can be awkward for the buyer and usually buyers will leave more quickly if they feel they are intruding on the seller's personal space. Make it as easy as possible for your buyers to really walk through your home and envision themselves living there.
How will I know if they came?
Most agents will leave a card, or turn off the lights. Sometimes not. If you are not sure if they came, call me and we can check the lockbox access log.
The buyer locked me out from the garage!
Many homeowners don't even have keys to their front door. If the buyer locks your garage access door, don't panic. Call me and I can give you a short-term one day code to access the lockbox on your front door. Just don't forget to put that key back in the lockbox. The same is true if your child gets locked out, or you need to give access to a contractor. We can arrange that.
Uh oh. What if something bad happened during the showing?
Most buyers will be careful in your home. Most agents will try to keep their buyers together to walk through the home. But accidents happen--a buyer can pull on the blinds too hard causing them to fall; a child will pull out some of your children's books; someone will step outside the patio door and track snow into your kitchen. It stinks, I know, but the buyer or their children are not being intentionally disrespectful of your home. If there is a problem after the showing that needs to be addressed, call me.
How will you send me feedback?
Feedback is a tricky issue. After every showing we send out an automated request for feedback. We can also follow up with the agent. However, we rarely receive feedback and when we do it is often irrelevant.
Think of it like on-line dating. You see someone's profile on-line and it seems like a good fit--but when you meet them at the coffee shop, the chemistry isn't there. They were nice enough, but you don't want to pursue anything further. The same is true for house hunting. The home shows well on-line; but, once you get there, it just doesn't feel like home.
Think about the date you had--if the person you met called you, texted you, emailed you and asked, "What did you think about me? How can I make myself better?" how would you respond? It can also appear a little desperate.
At the end of the day, there really are only two responses that come from feedback:
- No chemistry, not the right feeling--nothing you can do about that
- The buyer didn't like something tangible about the house. We may be able to address this if we hear it enough times (for example, everyone hates the orange walls); but, more often than not there is nothing we can do about the layout of the bedrooms, or the location next to the highway.
But rest assured--if and when we receive feedback, we will send it to you as soon as we receive it. [Just a little subtle hint that you don't have to text us and ask "Did we hear anything?"--if we hear something, we will tell you :) ]
We will also follow up with any specific questions that an agent may ask.
A buyer knocked on the door and wants to see the house.
DON'T LET THEM IN! This is a safety issue. We don't know who this person is. Just say politely no and hand them my card. I will show it them ASAP. If they mean no harm, they'll wait for an appointment but if they try to scam their way in, they may be up to no good.
How many showings should I expect?
There may not be as many showings as you'd expect. By the time the buyer sees your home he has probably already stalked it online. So, if he is asking his agent to make an appointment, he wants to see it. Back in the days before the internet, the first time that buyers ever saw the house was when they walked in the door, so there were more showings 20 years ago than now.
Can we do an open house every weekend?
We will do open houses as needed. We believe in open houses and know the more people who see your home the better. It can be counter productive to do them too often since it smacks of desperation. Weather, holidays, even the Bears schedule (when they are good) can impact the frequency of open houses.
Why haven't we received any offers--not even a low-ball offer?
Sellers often wonder why buyers are not just "throwing out an offer." The truth is, most buyers don't do this. And, more importantly, we don't want a low-ball offer only to have to reject it. We only want one good buyer--not many bad buyers. So why don't buyers "make any offer?" Offers are not made flippantly. This is a legal document, made in writing, by a professional agent. It takes time to prepare and most buyers, knowing that their potential offer is silly, don't want to insult you or their agent.
We got an offer immediately! Did we price it too low or should we wait for the next buyer? Will the next buyer offer more?
Getting an offer immediately is a best-case-scenario. But, it can cause you to question if your price is too low, or think, "If the first buyer loved it, the second buyer will love it even more!" The buyer who makes an immediate offer has probably been in the market a while and has seen and rejected every other house in your neighborhood. That buyer has just been waiting for your home. There is no guarantee another buyer will come along like that. In my experience, the final offer of the first buyer will be the best offer you ever receive. Do not dismiss it. The worst conversation we can have occurs two months after rejecting the first buyer and we say, "We should have taken that one."
But what if we have been on the market and we've not received many showings, or second looks, or any offers?
Then the time has come to re-evaluate everything from the marketing, position, property condition and, yes, price. I don't believe there are any hard and fast rules about when you must lower your price. Valuations and pricing are a snapshot in time and we must be receptive to market changes and adapt accordingly. Stubbornly clinging to a price in October that you set in March is not realistic. If your home were worth that price, it would have sold by now.
Should I promote my house on social media?
Yes! By all means, promote your listing on your social media, ask friends to share it, post it on community groups. I'd ask that you use the social media link that I create for your listing. Don't take the link from public websites since I can't track and capture leads from those sites. A word of warning though, don't overshare on social media. If a friend asks online "Why are you moving?" don't say, "This house has no storage and we hate our neighbors!" You'd be amazed at how buyers can stalk a seller's social media to get clues as to their motivation for selling.
How will we know what is going on with the listing and market?
Let's set up a strategy, at the time of the listing, for how often you want to hear from us. Some sellers want frequent updates at scheduled intervals; others want to be involved only as necessary. Let's discuss this. If we are not meeting your expectation for this, please tell us right away. We want to make sure you get the information you need, when you want it.
Depending on the market, your home may sit for quite a while. It can be fatiguing, and the highs and lows of expectations can drain you. We get it. We want this process to be as pain-free as possible; but, honestly, selling your home is a pain. We believe good communication can minimize the stress and frustration a bit, so please contact us if we need to discuss or resolve any concerns.
Together, we'll get you to the closing table!