Colby Sambrotto owner of USRealty, once included on a list of influential people in real estate, has released his “top tips” when listing a home. Here are the seven things he says an agent won’t tell you when you list your house:
1. You have a 15% to 25% chance of not getting the price a buyer offered.
Why: Just because a buyer will pay it does not mean that an appraiser will support it. Deals continue to fall apart because appraised values do not align with offers.
The solution: Close collaboration with the appraiser. USRealty recommends that all home sellers provide accurate and comprehensive documentation of all improvements and, if possible, comparisons to recently sold properties. Give the appraiser proof that the agreed-on price IS the market price!
2. Bidding wars are rare.
Why: More houses are coming on the market, and agents privately complain that buyers are picky and sellers stubbornly cling to high asking prices. Bidding wars break out only when houses are underpriced.
Solution: Be wary of an agent who wants to incite a bidding war. Research all comparable properties, plot the trend line of ‘sold’ prices, and price your house accordingly.
3. The listing agent is counting on the local multiple listing service to sell the house for him/her.
Why: 92% of buyers trawl online listings and choose their must-see houses from those they see online. Agents’ open houses, personal networks, and reputations make little difference.
4. Professional photos make a huge difference in catching buyers’ attention. But she’d rather snap photos with her phone.
Why: Professional photos can cost upwards of $400, and that’s money the agent would rather keep.
Solution: Research indicates that the exterior shots, street-view visuals are key to drawing in buyers. Hire a pro for ‘curb appeal’ shots and for half a dozen interior shots of the kitchen, living room, family room, and master bedroom. Supplement those with close ups of detail that you take yourself.
5. He/She won’t show your house.
Why: The buyers’ agent will. But you’re still paying for that supposed service.
6. He/She will immediately renege on the asking price she recommended.
Why: Simple math. He/She would rather get a slightly slimmer commission based on a lower selling price than wait for a slightly larger commission based on higher selling price. He’s/She’s about selling, because the commission comes off the top, even if that eats up most of your equity.
7. Those ‘secret buyers’ he/she claims are lurking in the shadows? They don’t exist.
Why: if she isn’t willing to sign a ‘single party listing’ to immediately show your house to these perfect buyers, then those buyers are fictitious. Be wary of eager listing agents who dish vague details of anxious buyers waiting in the wings.
Here’s what Sambrotto says to ask before listing your house:
1. Are houses in this neighborhood selling faster or slower over the last three months?
Why: Local demand is a key factor in selling…and it is bigger than any one agent.
2. Have all houses in this neighborhood sold for more or less in the past three months?
Why: True market trends are based on all sales, not just those in the MLS. You must price to join a rising market or justify an exception to a sliding market. The appraiser will see use all sales as the context for supporting or denying the sale price.
3. Are you willing to work with all buyers, including those that are not represented by buyers’ agents?
Why: Your agent has a fiduciary responsibility to bring all offers to you, even if she does not like the buyer’s approach.