Things a Seller May Need to Hear

Real Estate Agent with Lake and Lodge Realty LLC

It always amuses me when we get a call to list a house and from the time we walk in the seller is trying to do our job. Keep in mind these are the good hearted people who realized they could not sell the home and called in the professionals. At some point price is going to come up and it especially amuses me when a person who has never even had luck selling at their yard sales feel they need to tell their agent how to price their home. One would think that after years of experience and training, thousands of dollars getting licensed and set up and after selling hundreds of houses our opinion would carry a little more weight but not so. Then, of course when the offers do not pour in it is because we have not marketed it correctly. Once upon a time there was a shortage of listings so we had to give a little extra to have a good inventory but in today's market we need to be brutal sometimes and willing to walk away if we can't come to an agreement. Here are a few tough things a seller sometimes needs to hear when listing their home:

  • Thanks for offering to help but it is my expertise you are paying for and I already have an assistant. I have sold hundreds of houses and can price yours without help.
  • There is no sentimental value for the buyer. While it is nice grandpa built the house, the buyer probably won't care. This is a tough one for multi-generational homes for sale.
  • Pets have odors and a house for sale should not have pets inside. Especially during showings. People are rarely bitten by dogs that bite, it is always by the dog who has never bit anyone and despite what you have heard not everyone thinks your pets are cute.
  • Never easy to say, but clean your house people. Most buyers find walking over your laundry and dodging children's toys distracting. This may make the sellers mad but a clean house will help sell their home. Be gentle with this one it will not be easy.
  • Here's a really tough one. When it comes to a house for sale the only opinion that counts is the buyer's. Right, wrong or otherwise if the buyer doesn't like what they see, you still own the house.

These are tough comments and never easy to say but we need to find a way to express them. Some sellers will be angry and end the conversation (and listing) but those were probably going to be hard on our nerves anyway. The time to set boundaries is at onset. Be tactful and try to understand while grandpa's building the house don't matter to the buyer it is very important to the seller. Most often it is the money that makes or breaks a listing. There is a difference between what a home is valued at and what it can be sold for. There is always a list agent who will list the home for whatever the seller says. Those are usually the houses that have been on market three years. It is very hard to tell someone their home needs cleaning or their little family pet needs to go during showings but it is in my mind, part of our job. You may not have a 100% list ratio but the homes you do list will sell faster and that is what we all want. Look at the pics below and see which house you think would sell faster. Best of luck in all you do and thanks for reading.

dirty houseclean house

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As always if you think the Big Rapids area is a place you would like to live give us a call (231) 796-5253 or check out either link below and we will help you find a house so the Big Rapids area can be your home too. Thanks for reading. 

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Randy Ostrander
Lake and Lodge Realty
107 N. Michigan Suite B
Big Rapids, MI 49307
(231) 796-5253


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Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

  Tough words but not abiding by them makes it a tougher sale....

Jul 06, 2010 12:38 AM #1
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

True..I like that comment about grandpa building the house! Hav e agreat week!

Jul 06, 2010 12:39 AM #2
John Howard
Century 21 LeMac Realty - Mountain Home, AR
GRI, Mountain Home, Arkansas 870-404-3614

Good post, they are tough words, but it is always tougher discussing it 6 months later!  Have a great week!

Jul 06, 2010 12:57 AM #3
Bill Travis
Captain Bill Realty, LLC - Gilbert, AZ

A lot of thought has to go into discussing pets (dogs) with the owners. In most cases it is not just a dog. This is one of the family members, and it may not matter to the owner if anyone else things the dog is cute.

An agent cannot just say get rid of the dog, because it is not going to happen. It's easier to get rid of the agent and get one who has some good solid ideas on solutions to the pet problem, if it is perceived to be a problem.

Jul 06, 2010 01:07 AM #4
Randy Ostrander
Lake and Lodge Realty LLC - Big Rapids, MI
Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI

Sally and David, Never easy but sometimes necessary.

Gary, Thanks for your thoughts.

John, Best time is at listing so no time or advertising dollars are spent for a ill fated listing.

Bill, I would never say get rid of your pets (all pets, not just dogs), but I do highly recommend having a showing plan where someone takes the animals during showings. Neighbor, kids next door as long as the pets are not in the house being shown. Thanks for your comments.

Jul 06, 2010 01:16 AM #5
Jennifer Dulmaine
Keller Williams Realty - Spencer, MA
Seth Campbell Realty Group

Being honest of how you run your business and the expectations for everyone does make for a smoother process...Great Pics...Jen

Jul 06, 2010 01:42 AM #6
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

Great post, Randy, but using your own words to "be tactful," I would change one thing in this sentence: "I have sold hundreds of houses and can price yours without help." I would change "without help" to something like "properly" or "to get it sold for the most money in the least amount of time." "Without help" just sounds too tactless here.

Jul 06, 2010 05:24 AM #7
Sara Woolford & Steve Golson, ALHS
iTexas Realty Co. - San Antonio, TX

"The only opinion that counts is the Buyer's"  That's so true.

Sara in San Antonio

Jul 06, 2010 02:28 PM #8
Balboa Real Estate San Diego, CA - San Diego, CA


Great post and all your comments are relevant and make sense to tell the owner. I like the photos---what a difference a cleaning lady makes!

Jul 06, 2010 03:41 PM #9
Joshua Zargari
MJ Decorators Workshop LI staging and home decorating - Lynbrook, NY
MJ Decorators Workshop

Great post Randy!

Jul 07, 2010 12:32 AM #10
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Randy - AMEN!!!  I can not believe the condition that some sellers allow their home to be seen and shown.  What are they thinking?

Jul 11, 2010 10:54 AM #11
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Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI
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