Working with a lot of sellers and hearing from friends or family members of other people who are selling provides me with a wealth of information on what works and what doesn’t in the current, local real estate market. I’d like to share what has come up in the past few months to assist you when you are in the market to sell.

What I’ve heard lately from sellers or their friends and relatives concerns frustrations with a current or past real estate agent.

“I can never reach them”, “They never respond to my emails or voicemails”, “They never did an open house”, “The short sale took forever and never got approved by the bank”, “The pictures they took are just awful/dark/blurry”, etc.

Probably the top complaint was lack of responsiveness and infrequent communication.

As I looked into this further I found that how the seller chose their agent had a lot to do with these problems. “I decided to go with the wife of someone my husband worked with”, “A friend of ours is a real estate agent”, “My lawn guy’s wife was a Realtor and he’s a really good guy”, etc.

There are many good agents and at the same time there are others who don’t realize it is a profession and requires that you be a professional.

Don’t make the mistake of choosing an agent to help you sell your house that isn’t a professional in all aspects including telling you the truth, knowing current market conditions, being responsive, being knowledgeable about marketing a home, etc.

The next area to avoid mistakes in is one that can be a heated one for sellers – pricing. A seller obviously wants to make sure they get the best price possible when selling and their agent wants to price it correctly so that it doesn’t sit on the market endlessly without selling. Working out the correct price to list a property at is one of the three most important factors in getting the best price in the shortest time.

Setting a proper price depends on an accurate determination of market value and having the property sell for as close to that price as possible depends on presentation and promotion.

The ‘market value’ of the property is what it is considered to be worth when taking into account what similar properties in the area have sold for recently. Buyers don’t want to overpay for a property and so they will pay attention to what the market value of a property is. In addition, when getting financing a buyer has to make sure that the price for the property won’t be higher than the value their lender determines it to be worth.

I do what other good Realtors do to help in this area by researching what has sold recently (comparable properties) to help get an estimate of what a property is worth. But I now take that a step further with some listings, especially when the seller feels that their home is worth more than what the market value appears to be – I hire an appraiser to do a valuation of the property. This will give a seller an objective opinion from someone who is experienced at doing home valuations for lenders and the report provided will also help if a buyer for that property gets a low appraisal (it can be used to dispute the lender’s appraisal). This is a great way to make sure you have the best chance of selling your property and getting the best price for it.

Getting the best price and in the fastest time, when the listing price is appropriate, then has to do with how appealing the property is to buyers that view it. I have found that properties which are visually appealing and in good condition (no apparent problems that need fixing) will sell faster and at a higher price than similar properties which look cluttered, rundown, and don’t have a ‘wow’ factor.

Accomplishing this usually requires someone other than the seller (a real estate agent or a staging professional) to go over what needs to be done since the seller has gotten used to how things look and doesn’t see it as a potential buyer would.

So don’t make the mistake of pricing based on a feeling of what a property is worth, get enough data to be sure you are pricing properly. And don’t make the mistake of having your property show poorly.

When you’re ready to sell don’t hesitate to contact me to get the 3 P’s done the right way: Pricing, Presentation and Promotion.