Getting Your House Ready to Sell Series: A Letter to My Seller after our Pre-Listing Walk Through

Real Estate Agent with Associate Broker, Momentum Realty

This is a generic letter to a client after a pre-listing walk through.  It is a combination of many situations I have come across in these walk throughs over the years. I would, obviously, never address my clients this way.  But for fun, I put this letter together to showcase some of the situations that I run in to again and again.

If you are an agent, I am sure you will recognize these scenarios. If you are a seller, keep in mind that I am satirizing the situation, but that there is a grain of truth in each of my comments.

Dear Seller,

I know how hard the process of selling your home can be. You have a lot to accomplish--and a lot on the line.

Last weekend, I   provided you with a list of things to do to your property that I think will help you to sell your house. I know that you were hoping to sell it for more than what other houses in the neighborhood are selling for, and without putting any additional money in to it, but I do not think that is going to work in this market.

I understand that you think your house is better than all of the rest and that you need more money than your neighbors do for your retirement. And while I know that you do not want people to know you paid only $100,000 for the house and are asking $1,000,000, unfortunately what you paid is public record.  As your agent, I will not divulge personal information, but when it comes to public information, I cannot control the access that buyers have to the records.

Your kitchen is charming.  That said, buyers in the $1 Million dollar price range expect that you will have updated your kitchen since you bought the house in 1978.  When I suggested installing granite counter-tops and replacing the appliances, it was with this in mind. Ideally, a whole kitchen renovation is warranted, but at the very least you should do an update. And replacing the linoleum with tile or hardwood is really a 'must do.' A million dollars for linoleum is hard to swallow.

The wall paper that you have throughout the house is lovely.  You are right, it is pretty neutral. Unfortunately, not everyone shares the same taste; the cabbage flowers are nice, but will not appeal to everyone. Many buyers that I work with will walk away from a house that they like because of wall paper.   Wallpaper can be expensive and time consuming to remove, the walls then need to be repaired and the affected rooms repainted. Often buyers will think that this is too expensive and too much work (just like you do). This is not true of everyone, but do you want to take the chance that the one or two people who are not put off by wall paper are going to walk in to your next open house? I would strongly recommend you get someone in here to remove the wallpaper and paint the interior.

I do not think cleaning the carpets is going to be enough to present the house to its best advantage. You may be right that the new owner will probably rip up new carpet to put in hardwood floors, but 30 years of living is not going to come out of your old carpet with a steam clean.  I would recommend a mid-grade carpet to replace the old carpet. Congratulations on getting 30 years out of that carpet!

The landscaping that you did when you first moved in has really matured. At this point, however, I think that it has become somewhat over grown and should really be overhauled. Simply trimming the bushes so that they do not grow over the sidewalk does not showcase the house--it looks like you have overgrown bushes that have been trimmed so they do not grow over the sidewalk. Many of them should be removed and the trees should be trimmed back so that buyers can see your home from the street.

Finally, about the price.  You said that you wanted to set it high, ‘just to see what you will get.' I can tell you what you will get--nothing. With so many homes on the market, there is really no reason for buyers to waste their time on homes that are priced beyond the market. 

The idea that you want to ‘add on' to the asking price since you know the buyers will want to bargain you down, just means that fewer people will come to see your house because they will think it is overpriced. Buyers want to deal  with reasonable sellers who are asking a reasonable price for their home. If a buyer is unrealistic or unreasonable, they don't want to waste their time.  I recommend that you list your home at a realistic price that is in line with the selling prices of other homes in the neighborhood.  If this is less than what you want, then you should either readjust your expectations or opt not to sell your house right now.  

There were many other things on the list, but I think we can address them specifically at a later date.

Please give me a call after your daughter has removed all of the furniture she stored in your extra bedrooms after she left Seattle.  I will be very difficult to market the property as long as there is no access to 4 of the 5 bedrooms.


Your Realtor

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 Momentum Realty

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Show All Comments
Donald Mituzas
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Katonah, NY

I love it! With some minor modifications this letter would be great to send to about 90% of sellers. It's not meant to be cruel, but there is so much truth in everything you said.


Aug 15, 2008 07:43 AM #1
Donna Harris
Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - - Austin, TX
Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator

Great letter!  I loved it!  So true, so true!

Aug 15, 2008 07:55 AM #2
Miriam Martir
Keller Williams - Metuchen, NJ

and the truth shall set you free. Thanks

Aug 15, 2008 08:07 AM #3
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