Selling your house can be a lot like remodeling: It usually takes longer, costs more and is more emotionally draining than you thought it would be, but in the end it was worth it! Unless you’re the rare home owner who gets multiple offers above the asking price days after listing, the sales process can be emotionally challenging. Knowing what’s ahead helps ease some of the anxiety that goes along with the process. Generally, you can expect a three-step process: Getting the house ready, showing it off and responding to the marketplace.
First Things First:
One of the first things your agent will do is place your home in the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This notifies all other agents in the area that your home is for sale. Your house will also appear on numerous websites such as Raveis.com; Realtor.com; and so many more.
The for-sale sign will appear in the front yard and a lockbox will be attached to your house, most likely on the front door. The lockbox allows agents access to your house for showings and also alerts your listing agent who is entering your house through satellite communication. You may think it would be easier for you to be home & let the agents in, but it is best if you are out of the house during showings (see below), and a lockbox allows a secure way for the agents to gain access. Showing instructions can be set up to work with your life style, especially if you have small children or pets.
The most important activity, right out of the starting gate, is the Broker Open House. This is set up on specific days with time frames relating to different geographic areas. Most active agents use open house days to keep current on the housing inventory as it comes on the market. Usually your agent will serve refreshments and use this time to encourage other agents to share their thoughts on how the house shows and how accurate the pricing is as compared to other homes their buyer clients may be looking at, allowing for many perspectives. This is why when you go “live” you should make sure you’re completely ready for showings – “you only have once chance to make a first impression”. You’ll probably be swamped with last-minute touch-ups and clean-ups to get the house ready but it is worth every minute of time you spend!
Next, if you and your agent agree this is something you are comfortable with, there will be a public open house traditionally held on a Sunday afternoon. These are advertised both in the newspaper and most importantly, on the internet. This allows buyers to search for properties in their price range and visit, (or re-visit), on their own time frame.
It is best if you are not present during showings and open houses. Buyers want the freedom to look around and make comments. If you are home when potential buyers come for a viewing, try to step outside while they tour your house. Many sellers incorrectly think that multiple open houses are needed to sell a house. In fact, few homes are sold at open houses, but there are many good reasons to have them.
You will get the most traffic in the first two to three weeks after your house is listed. Anyone looking for a house like yours has probably viewed all of your competition and will be anxious to see your home since it is a new consideration. Don’t fret when the traffic dies down. The average days on market (DOM) can be 60-90 days in a normal cycle, depending on the area, price range and current inventory. In a slower market, buyers can take their time and usually do. If you have buyers come back a second or third time, it’s usually a good sign. Any offers — even ones you consider to be “lowball offers” — have a chance of being negotiated and potentially leading to a sale, so always be open to discussion.
Marketing Your Home:
Your agent should have a multi-dimensional approach for the marketing of your home. A widespread internet presence with quality pictures and an enticing description are some of the most important aspects of the marketing plan. The reach on the internet should be through multiple avenues – websites and MLS search sites just to name a few. The marketing should not however only focus on the internet. Potential buyers are everywhere and your agent’s specific plan for your home should hit multiple arenas – print, mail, social networks, visual tours, and the list goes on & on!
According to the Employee Relocation Council – Moving is the third most stressful event in life, following death and divorce. It is important to be partnered with an agent you trust, who can help make the process go as smoothly as possible. Let me know how I can help, I would love to chat!