Fischer: There’s a monster at the end of this article
Years ago, I remember reading a book titled “The Monster at the End of This Book: Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover” written by Jon Stone. Grover was a furry, blue Muppet from the children’s PBS television show “Sesame Street.” The plot consists of Grover begging the reader to not finish the book as he is horrified that there is a monster to be found on the last page. He constructs all sorts of obstacles in hopes of preventing the reader from coming to the end, to no avail. The reader inevitably turns the last page and … spoiler alert here … we find that the monster is Grover himself. He laughs in embarrassment and obvious relief. Today, my friends, I warn you as well. There is an impending rant oncoming. As we discuss some basic myths surrounding the home-selling process, the proverbial (or perhaps not so proverbial) monster is me. If you choose to continue, please keep your hands and feet inside at all times, hold on tight and have fun. However, consider yourself duly warned.
Last week, I was meeting with a client to discuss the value of his home. “I need to list at $479,000,” he stated. To which I explained that the market is what sets the price on a home, not the Realtor, nor the seller. While we both want the highest price possible, that will be determined by the current market. Failing to respect the current market can be costly for sellers. Grrr.
This brings us to reality check No. 2: Homes that are priced too high don’t sell. In fact, they sit on the market until the price is lowered enough to get some activity, at which time buyers and their agents see the price drop and the number of days on market and wonder what is wrong with it. Pricing a home higher does not bring a higher sale price, it does not leave room to negotiate, nor does more time on the market bring a better offer. Enough said about that.
Lecture No. 3: Zillow is not accurate. Neither is reality TV. Say it a thousand times. Zillow doesn’t know your neighborhood, your upgrades and improvements, nor any other specifics that account for value such as views and lakesides, or busy streets and abandoned homes. And neither do the Property Brothers.
Which brings us to my fourth diatribe, which shall be on the subject of Realtors. The old adage “If you want something done, ask a busy person” is true in the case of Realtors as well. The busy ones are busy because we are working every day, all day long, and into the evenings on many occasions, for the benefit of our clients. We know the market because we are in the middle of it. We are busy because we know how to get it done. We are also not discount agents. Commission matters when selling a home, and those who attempt to save rarely do. You also want to offer a commission that is competitive to the buyer’s agent. Incentivize them to want to sell your home, not your competitors.
One of the most acceptable mistruths in real estate is that open houses sell homes. In reality, most people who attend open houses cannot purchase the home. Oftentimes they are interested neighbors or curious people looking for something to do. Letting the world into your home and offering treats to boot may seem like a good idea on paper; however, any legitimate buyer will find a time to schedule a private showing where they can look closely and have questions answered by their qualified buyer’s agent who is attending the showing with them. This scenario is far more likely to lead to a viable offer than rolling out the red carpet for every riffraff, ragtag and plebeian to take inventory. The purpose of open houses are for Realtors to find new clients, not for selling a home.
The next paragraph is the last, and I’m warning, begging and beseeching you not to continue lest you take offense. Coming up, the monster bares her defamatory opinions.
Final myth: Selling your home by owner will save you money. Selling your home for the highest price requires target marketing, correct pricing, strong negotiation skills, perfect photos and extensive market knowledge. We will lose the sleep and stress out for you; no need to do it yourself. As it turns out, the monster at the end of this article is not lovable, furry old Grover — just a sleep deprived Realtor. End of rant.
Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or firstname.lastname@example.org.