Understanding the Real Estate Process from A – Z – A Seller’s Guide to Real Estate – Part 4
This is the fourth post of a series in an FAQ format that I hope will help would be sellers better understand the real estate process that they are about to go through. There will be a follow-on series for real estate buyers.
FAQ – I signed the listing documents and the house is on the MLS; what’s my role now?
There’s a tendency to think that you have no role in the marketing of your house; but, that is not CONDITION, CLUTTER and CLEANLINESS? That was not a one-time commitment on your part to get the house ready for the market; those three things must be maintained through the listing period and until closing. Success during the listing period is dependent upon the “three P’s” of real estate – PRICE, PERSISTANCE and PERSERVERANCE.correct. Remember the “three C’s” from the second post in this series –
If you followed the advice that I gave in the first post you got yourself a GOOD Realtor® and during the listing process, he/she produced a Market Analysis that gave you good advice on the market value of your house. Hopefully you heeded that advice and have priced the house properly IN the market Price is not an issue. If he/she hasn’t already done so, you might assist them in taking the interior pictures. If it’s winter now, perhaps you might have some summer pictures that they could use. The main thing is that is be straightened up and neat for the pictures.
That leaves Persistence and Perseverance, which are things that the agent is counting on you for during the listing. You must persist everyday with the necessary straightening up and cleaning that are necessary to make sure that the house is show ready when you leave for work or start the rest of your daily tasks. The realtor is also counting on you to preserver through the persona hardships that may occur during the listing. Life cannot go on with “business as usual” when you rare listed. There will be showing request that conflict with something else that you or the family would like to do. Those requests must take precedence, since every showing request was made by the person who will want to buy your house (or at least that is the way you must think).
Listing the house can be especially hard on families with small children or with pets. They don’t understand what is going on and it can be frightening and traumatizing for both children and pets.
It is important that visitors be alerted by the Showing Appointment Center that there are pets in the house, if they are to stay in the house during showings. Some visitors may have severe allergies to the dander in the air from pets and need to be alerted. Don’t be surprised if some showings get canceled because of that issue. It may be necessary to arrange for pets to go to day care at a local kennel, if you can’t take time out to go home and remove them for showing or crate them for the day. Cats pose their own problems for Realtors and visitors (would they have it any other way?) and it may be necessary to confine them to certain rooms if they behave aggressively with visitors or may
Many Sellers ask what their role in during showings and the answer is simple – BE GONE! I’ll cover that role of the seller in more detail in a follow-on post.
Another role for the seller during the listing is working with their Realtor to evaluate the feedback that they are getting and to take the necessary steps to adjust the listing. The adjustment recommended most often is to the price, but there may be other suggestions that come out of the feedback, perhaps about something that was missed during the preparation to list and still needs to be fixed. Perhaps the feedback will finally convince the seller to clean to replace the soiled carpeting or do something now about the cracks in the basement walls. It is likely that a GOOD Realtor would have already mentioned those items, but was initially ignored by the owner/seller.
Your Realtor will be executing his/her marketing plan, which will include publicity and exposure in a variety of media but that doesn’t preclude you from letting your friends and family know about it being listed. Quite often someone in that circle may have had a secret desire to get into your neighborhood for year, maybe they even wished they could be in your house. Help make their dreams come true by telling them it is for sale. They may have friends who have told them to keep an eye open for any homes that come up in the neighborhood.
One thing that you can be almost certain will happen is that would-be buyers will want to know what your utility bills run per month and for the year. If you haven’t already done so, save some of those bills and go back and see what you paid during the winter months for heating. Buyers will also ask to see the Master Deed and By-Laws, if you live in a condominium complex (including site condo developments in Michigan) or just the HOA By-Laws if you live in a platted sub with a mandatory HOA. You should have those or can get them from the association. Make a copy and get that to your listing agent.
Another thing that might help with buyers is a list of the improvements and updates that you have done within the last 2-3 years. Don’t go back 5-10 years because those improvements will be old by now. While a new roof or a new furnace are important, they are considered to be more about maintenance than upgrades. A new granite counter top or an updated bathroom will be more important to would-be buyers. A fresh coat of paint is not an update; it is just something that is almost expected when you go to sell a house.
So, your role, now that the house is listed is to be diligent about keeping it in great, show-ready shape, being patient and persistent, and working with your realtor to make it as easy as possible for buyers to go through. I’ll cover more on that in a later post.