Is NOW a Good Time to Sell?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Empire Realty Associates
People sell because they want to live somewhere else, they need a home that functions differently, or they need to cash out equity. They often have a general idea of how they want to price their property, either because of what they owe or because they’ve been tracking sales in the area. At this point, it’s time to call me, the Realtor.

Being a Realtor means you are responsible for doing the reality check. Before going to the property, I get a handle on the sellers’ financial position, and I work out a net sheet based on comparable sales in the neighborhood. How much money do I believe the sellers can walk away with? When I meet with the sellers, I listen to their goals. My dream homeowners have plenty of equity, are motivated by life circumstances to move, and are well-aware of the challenges in the marketplace.

I need to learn more about them to know how this is going to work.

First, I want to see the home through the sellers’ eyes. I will ask, “Will you show me the house exactly as you’d like for a buyer to see it?” That 10-minute walkthrough is the time to hone in on intuition. Do the sellers see assets and flaws objectively? Has this home been loved or will there be deferred maintenance to address? Is this a friendly consultation to test the waters or are these sellers absolutely determined to go to the next step in life?

When we get to the table, there is always the question, “What do you think my house will sell for?” And the response: “The question isn’t really what your home will sell for, but ‘What can the buyer buy instead of your house?’”

Sometimes, even though the sellers are realistic, it’s still hard to face the numbers. So we go through exercises like these to come to an answer. I pose the questions, and the sellers think about how they are going to respond – not to me – how they are going to respond to the market.

1. First, you are at the mercy of everyone else’s motivation in this market. And there are many who are selling because they have to, not because they want to. Those properties are affecting your value. How do you want to respond?

2. Your listing price is an invitation to make an offer. If you have it priced too high, those who are your real buyers won’t see it, and those who are currently shopping in this price range won’t bother to write an offer. How do you want to respond?

3. What percent of inventory is selling right now while you are on the market? If the answer is ten percent, do you want your home to be the number 1 pick of every 10 homes on the market?

4. Your home is in a depreciating market. If you knew your home was going to be worth $1.2M in June, would you take $1.35M today?

It is the sellers’ job to select the price. I may have a range that I believe the home will sell in. We’ll talk about pricing at the top of the range and the possibility of a future price reduction. And we will talk about pricing low, seeking immediate or even multiple offers. Absolutely, the marketing and exposure will fall to me. The sellers and I will agree that the two ingredients to a successful sale are marketing and price.

Then if we all agree that their motivation and my skills are in alliance, we make the plan to get the property ready for showtime, plan out the schedule for when they want to hand over the keys, roll up our sleeves, and go!

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