I had a very interesting conversation with a potential seller this morning. They're are thinking about listing their home but aren't too sure since the market hasn't been that brisk. They're older and looking forward to moving and being closer to their grandkids. At one point in the conversation, the husband asked, "So...what is it that you do do?" After a few chuckles, and a little clarification from him, I told him what I would/could and wouldn't/couldn't do for him should they decide to list their house.
As an associate broker in New Mexico, I have a lot of tools available to me. One of my best tools is called a CMA - a comparative market analysis. This shows you what is currently on the market that is similar to your home and what the list prices are as well as pending and completed sales. This gives us all a better idea of what to list your home for.
Obviously, I'm going to help you prepare your home to be listed. I like using a pre-listing inspection to pinpoint things that could show up on a buyers inspection. This lovely couple have lived in their home for over 30 years and, as he said, some things might have slipped through the cracks (hopefully, no pun intended!) during the last couple of years.
I'll walk through your home again with you and point out little things to change, suggest the all important decluttering and de-personalizing your home as much as you feel comfortable. It's a tough line sometimes. You still live there but you want potential buyers to view it as their new home. Storage units are wonderful things to have to help you stow away the things you don't want to get rid of. Beyond the decluttering and de-personalizing, it's up to you if you want to re-paint that magenta color wall in the master bathroom. I'll probably suggest that you do. Making a home as neutral as possible helps potential buyers see their things in the home.
Marketing is the main key for success. Times have changed, as I explained to my lovely couple. Thanks to the internet, I have the ability to have their home shown EVERYWHERE online. I told them that the family that bought my personal home last year was from England and bought it sight unseen (aside from pictures and videos). Along with the net, my brokerage publishes a monthly magazine that is available pretty much everywhere in Southern New Mexico and El Paso, Texas.
The question of open houses came up. They weren't too keen on having 'strangers traipsing through'. That's fine with me - many sellers don't like having open houses and many agents don't do them, either. For me, I don't mind doing them but if the client doesn't want them, then we won't do them. The only 'open' we will schedule is a broker's open house. This gives agents in my office, and other offices as well, a chance to see the home first hand. It might be a perfect fit for one of their clients. I'll also suggest that you 'disappear' during a showing by hanging out at a local coffee shop or taking the dog for a walk. I had one seller drive down the street and park until we were done. If you aren't there, buyers feel more at ease to look more closely in closets and cabinets.
There are a few things I can't and won't do such as discuss legal things with you. I'm not a lawyer and haven't played one on TV so seeking legal counsel is what I will be suggesting should you need it. I also will leave discussions about electrical or mechanical problems, pool/spa filter problems, chimney/window/foundation/mold problems to the experts. That's why they're there. Sure I have the names of a few experts and I'll share that with you but I'll leave it up to you to select the one you'd like to work with.
As I told my couple, there is much more to this list that I "do do". I will do everything I can with all of the tools at my disposal to successfully list, market and sell the home. With a little luck, a home that's ready to go and a seller who is ready as well, we'll be off and running in no time!