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Selling Your Home Is Your Responsibility Too- But Don’t Tie Our Hands

Selling a home can be difficult enough, but there are Sellers who find a way to make it even harder.

When I meet with Sellers who are putting their house back on the market after a period of not having it sell, they often tell me how disappointed they were with their previous . These reasons usually include being unhappy with their photos, and sometimes even with how the agents communicated with them. For instance, their agent emailed them often, but calls were sparse.

Often, people are selling a home for the first time, or for the first time in twenty years. There’s a good possibility that things have changed in the real estate industry since the last time you bought or sold a home. And, while Realtors are in the business of making Sellers happy, we also have to figure out the best way to get a house sold. Unfortunately, the two of these can seem to contradict each other sometimes.

Many sellers may not know what their responsibilities are in terms of the things that need to be done in order to help get their properties to move. It may surprise some Seller’s to hear this, but the entire responsibility of getting a home sold does not fall only on the shoulders of an agent. Instead, the Seller too is accountable in their real estate transaction.

First and foremost, a Seller should seriously consider making improvements if there are any fixes or renovations that their Realtor has recommended. A majority of the time, no Realtor worth their weight in gold is talking about a large-scale renovation. Instead, there are usually a few minor fixes involved- cleaning the house, removing clutter and certain pieces of furniture, and perhaps even some minor cosmetic upgrades.

It is also the Seller’s responsibility to ensure that the information being transmitted to a Buyer is correct. For instance, the MLS Listing sheet can often contain errors. Sellers should read over the listing to ensure the information being advertised is correct. Buyers don't like to see information on the listing and then come to find out it is not right. This is especially true when it comes to advertising square footage. Some town records don’t go very far back, so Sellers use what they think is the right information.

On the other hand, some Realtors can have a Seller who is more than happy to take on their responsibility…sometimes a little bit too much. These types of Sellers require agents to let them choose their own photos, write their own add copy, and decide which publications they are advertised in and how. These Sellers can often accompany showings, receive feedback copy sent directly to them, and interact with Buyers Agent’s themselves. While this behavior can somewhat hinder a transaction, the deals do tend to eventually work out.

Unfortunately, the Sellers who tend to have issues are the ones who start the transaction by tying the hands of their agent. As mentioned, Realtors have access to a select number of proven tools to get a home sold. Utilizing all of these tools is essential and will often lead to a successful sale. However, once a Seller begins to limit the number of tools their agents can use, they cut down on the number of Buyers as well. These are the Sellers who choose to have no open houses, severely limit the number of showings, have no for sale sign, and overprice the house. These Seller’s are the ones who actually prevent their agents from selling the home instead of working with them to do so.

Remember, the real estate market is a fast moving and sometimes tricky game. Your home is competing with many others and it can only be easier if you let it be. If you stay focused on making your home as appealing as possible, then your realtor can concentrate on their job, the selling of the home.

Kathleen Allard April 21, 2012 at 05:31 PM
This article is spot on. I have 2 friends whose parents have been trying to sell their homes for YEARS. In both cases, the homeowners have hindered the realtors by insisting on things like being present for walk throughs, not allowing walk throughs if they can't be there, not allowing showings because "I haven't had time to make the house ready" etc. Not to mention outdaded decor, clutter, etc. Despite family and friends trying to point out this detriment, they refuse to alter their strategy. And the houses remain on the market despite great locations, pricing, etc. I simply don't understand why they refuse to see that it's their own faults and not the realtor, or the market, that are preventing their house from being sold.
Olympic Roofing June 23, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Great article. We're a major roofing contractor in Bedford (http://www.olympicroofing.com/bedford-ma-roofing), and we can't stress enough to homeowners the importance of home maintenance and upkeep before a home hits the market. It's a two-way street with the realtor and seller, and everyone needs to do their part in order to bring in top dollar.
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Issy July 30, 2012 at 09:50 AM
And why should they not blame the previous agent, it is the agent's job to get interest in the house. There is no architectural, interior design or landscaping requirement to be a agent. When it comes to preparing the house for sale, hey are just expressing their subjective opinion. And while certainly, many agents are skilled in these areas, many are not. Unfortunately many homeowners find out after signing the contract. There is a buyer for every house out there and it is the agents job to find them and so yes homeowners have every right to blame an agent who does not perform.

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