By Tammy Caron, Broker/Owner of TLC Realty, and Bob Tooker, Realtor
Many home sellers have or know someone who has experienced frustration when trying to sell their home, often enduring weeks or months between showings. Trying to sell a home can be a deeply emotional endeavor, especially when precious memories are attached and when time and effort have been spent with no results.
The process of selling a home includes many essential elements, any one of which, if not carefully considered, can derail a sale. In addition to market conditions, location, financing and other factors, these elements include pricing, preparation, marketing and representation.
Pricing: Obviously, few elements affect days-on-market more than price. As a result of competition for listing opportunities, one of the most challenging tasks of an agent who may be anxious about losing out to the competition is setting realistic expectations up-front at the potential risk of missing an income opportunity. Inflated estimates may be reassuring to sellers, but they are clearly in no one’s best interest as unrealistic expectations can result in such properties suffering by comparison and languishing on the market – the very frustration we write about. Conversely, unless agreed to by a well-informed seller, underpricing is an abdication of an agent’s duty to try to obtain the highest price on the best possible terms for his or her client.
When working with a seller to arrive at a listing price, an agent will search for similar nearby properties that sold recently and make appropriate cost adjustments in an effort to compare “apples to apples.” Additionally, a diligent agent will identify and monitor similar current listings – the competition – and pending sales, which may soon become highly relevant pricing benchmarks. Consequently, an agent is able to provide a seller with a clear and realistic perspective of where their property fits into the current market. This enables a well-informed seller working closely with an agent to quickly respond to changing market conditions and adjust their pricing and negotiating strategy accordingly. There are no secrets in the realm of public records – sellers would be well-advised to pay close attention to the listing and actual sale prices of nearby homes. Buyers working with a diligent agent will surely be aware of these prices.
Preparation: Many sellers, often with limited resources, are uncertain about what should be done to spruce-up their property before listing it. A good agent will thoroughly evaluate a property’s appearance and offer cost-effective suggestions for improving its marketability. Just as important is an agent’s explanation of potential pitfalls that may arise during a buyer’s contractual inspection opportunity – potential pitfalls that could and often do derail sales.
Marketing: Maine’s statewide multiple listing service has the ability to automatically feed nationally popular real estate websites, several of which are advertised nationally on prime time television. Many buyers are initially attracted to properties via the Internet, and they often approach agents only after making a list of properties they are already interested in. In addition to print media and other marketing tools, it is critically important that a comprehensive marketing plan includes the best possible representation of a seller’s property on the Internet.
Representation: All of this clearly illustrates the vital importance of frequent and effective communication between sellers and agents. Sellers are always in control, and well-informed sellers are likely to make better decisions. Each agent is an individual and not a brand, franchise or company – individual experience, attitude and effort makes all the difference. Agents work with essentially the same tools and resources – it’s how they use them that matters.
Our mission at TLC Realty is to expand our solid reputation as individuals, and work as a team to provide each of our clients with the best care, expertise and service available.