Surviving the Sale
Monday, November 29, 2021
Surviving the Sale of Your Home
 Some real estate Licensees don't want to scare prospective listing clients away by telling them that selling a house can be tough, emotionally charged work. Consider this article a bit of tough love for home-sellers...your Licensee may be too polite to share this news with you, but it's news you can use.People sell houses for a variety of reasons, not all of them positive. Unemployment, a death in the family, job relocation: These are just a few of the not-so-good reasons a person might need to sell. And even if you are planning to move up to a better house, there's something unnerving about selling the roof that has sheltered you and your family to the highest bidder. A sign goes up in the front lawn, and all of a sudden, your home is a commodity. Complete strangers are scuffing the hardwoods, hating the curtains and peering in your bedroom closets. Here are some steps you can take to avoid becoming an absolute lunatic while your house is on the market.

Hire the right Licensee Find a real estate Licensee you can communicate with and trust. You will be entering a short term contractual relationship with whoever lists your house—consider this person a hire, and hire someone you get along with. Ask them how they plan on marketing your house—what publications do they buy ads in?  Do they put listings on the Internet? What type of outdoor signage will they put up?  It's a good idea to get clear on what kind of sales effort you can expect before signing on the dotted line.

Get the most from open houses

There's one form of marketing that sellers tend to overrate: Open houses. This weekend ritual is more useful for introducing agents to prospective buyers than it is for selling a home. An open house might generate some interest, but realize that a lot of people hit the open house circuit to check out décor, get ideas for remodels, and to dream.

 A final note on allowing strangers access to your house: Do put small valuables, jewelry and the like away in a safe deposit box before putting your house on the market.
Follow your Licensee's advice on whether you need to be present for  showings.  Owners shouldn't linger  when Licensees are showing prospective buyers the house. Leaving during showings accomplishes two things: It allows prospective buyers to truly shop your house without fear of offending you. Licensees are trained to help potential buyers explore solutions to a home that is not "perfect".  It also protects you from the temporary insanity of hating the strangers who hate your carpet. Most real estate Licensees aren't this blunt so we'll say it—excessive hovering by an owner scares potential buyers away.

Here are a few other things your Licensee may be too polite to tell you:
If you smoke in your house, it will be much harder to sell. Much harder.  Consider having it professionally cleaned, carpets to drapes, and repainted on the inside. Smoke outside, well away from doors and windows, while the house is on the market.
Do you have pets that come inside? Does your house smell like your dog or worse yet, cat urine? Pet odors repel buyers, and be aware of the fact that people who don't have pets are far more sensitive to pet odors than pet lovers are. In other words, you may think your house smells fine, but it might not.  Ask a trusted friend to access any odor issues in your home.
Clean up. Let's face it—nobody's perfectly clean all the time, but let your inner Martha Stewart  come to the surface while you're marketing your house. Get rid of clutter—even if it means doing some of your packing early. Keep countertops and bathrooms shiny. A clean, nice smelling house speaks volumes on an emotional level, and will sell itself in a way that a unkempt place never will.

Be prepared for unexpected costs
So, you've got an offer you're ready to accept? Don't buy that magnum of champagne yet—that money may need to go toward some home repairs.  You may be required to fix problems that you've lived with for years in order for the sale to be completed. That burned out rear-left burner on the stove that you've endured for years? You can bet that the buyer will want that repaired. The mossy roof that adds character? The buyer will want it replaced.

These negotiations sting on two fronts: Firstly, there's the implied judgment about your living conditions. Secondly, you're being asked to spend money on a problem that you've lived with, so someone else can enjoy the fix. The solution? Swallow your pride and be honest with yourself about the condition of your roof, and other major systems in your home. And fix that back burner now .