a SMOOTH sale
Avoiding real-estate pitfalls
BY PETE ALFANO
If we were compiling a Top Ten list of the most stressful things we do in our life, selling a house would be at or near the top. Even if the move is voluntary, as Juliet said to Romeo, parting is such sweet sorrow. The house may represent the first one you ever owned. It could be where your children were born and hold a cupboard full of memories. Or it fits as comfortably as a well-worn pair of shoes.
This means that many homeowners take it too personally when selling their house. It’s difficult to hear criticism about the home from realtors and negative feedback from prospective buyers, such as the rooms being too small, the yard not big enough, or comments on an unappealing color scheme. So, the first rule of putting your house on the market is to check your pride at the door. This will be a business transaction, and your goal is to maximize the sale of your home and get as many offers as possible.
As tempting as it may be to place a “For Sale by Owner” sign on your front lawn to save the real estate commission, spare yourself the grief of doing it yourself. Hire a licensed realtor and try to negotiate the commission and determine the length of the contract. The Realtor will be more familiar with houses comparable to yours in your neighborhood and help you determine a realistic listing price.
Remember the good old days of 2022 when demand exceeded supply and houses got multiple offers well above the list price? Well, the housing market has regained its sanity, and it is important to set a price that will bring more traffic to your home. Yes, there will be some back and forth between the list price and the offer, so remember to let your realtor know your bottom line in advance.
Making major repairs, such as getting a new roof, before listing the house can help it sell more quickly. You may be willing to lower your asking price because of the roof’s condition, but prospective buyers want to avoid buying a home and immediately spend money on major repairs. Consider having your own inspection before listing the house to determine whether problems are brewing with your heating and cooling system or any structural concerns.
Remember to de-clutter to make your house appear larger and more inviting. Rent a storage unit and move some of your furniture and clothing there. And remove all those family photos. Psychologically, it makes it more difficult for prospective buyers to envision the house as their own.
Anyone who has sold their house knows what a major inconvenience it can be. Your family might be eating dinner when a realtor requests to show your house in less than an hour. Be flexible. Limiting the days or hours your home can be shown makes selling in your time frame more difficult.
And don’t get greedy. Have your realtor negotiate with prospective buyers who are pre-qualified and will get mortgage approval in a timely way. That can mean accepting an offer that may be less but is more likely to close on time.