There’s no shortage of capable real estate agents in Highland Park, IL and along the North Shore, but some have different qualities that make them stand out from the rest. One of mine is that I’ve been a seller and buyer myself in this difficult market.
About a year ago, I sold my home (for a lot less than I had paid for it!) and purchased a new one. No small feat in this climate. The experience taught me a lot and I walked away with a deep empathy for each and every one of my sellers. It’s hard to be a home seller today. The buyer has never had more power, and sellers have never had to do so much to get back so little.
Here are some of the key lessons I learned from being a home seller:
1) Be as flexible as possible. If a buyer’s shadow darkens your doorstep, be ready to let them in, no matter how short the notice is. Each morning, try to leave your home in as polished a condition as possible, just in case a buyer pops up. Have a “quick clean” routine – do a fast vacuum of your floors and clear the clutter –I used to throw things in a laundry basket, toss it in my car and take it with me when I left the house for a showing. If you have kids and/or pets, take them for a walk around the block or find a neighbor with whom you can visit during a last-minute showing. The more difficult you make it for buyers to get into your home, the more difficult they will think you are going to be when it comes time to negotiate, and they may decide they don’t want to deal with a tough seller–there are plenty of other homes to choose from.
2) Don’t take buyers’ comments (too) personally. Agents are usually quite kind about their feedback, but sometimes there’s a comment that hits a little close to home (no pun intended!). Nobody likes to hear that someone else doesn’t absolutely adore the place you love and call home, but everyone has their own taste and levels of what they consider acceptable.
3) Don’t be insulted by a low ball offer. Remember, this is a tough market and your home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it, not what you want or need for the house. You must separate the emotional value that you have placed on the home from its real, concrete market value. If you get a low ball offer, counter it. Work with that buyer to see if you can bridge the gap in the prices. It may be your best – or only – offer.
4) Make any repairs that are visible to the naked eye. Did your dog eat away at your wall? Fix it! Dirty carpet? Clean it! Chipped paint? Paint it! Faded or dirty exterior doors (including garage)? Power wash, paint or re-stain it! In this market, more than ever, it’s important to show your home in the best light possible. Remember, if the home looks pristine on the surface, buyers won’t wonder what condition the things they cannot see are in. Your home’s condition affects the experience a buyer will have when touring it, so you want everything to be as polished as possible.
5) And most importantly, be realistic. Listen to your agent when she tells you what’s going on in the market and how it affects your home’s value. You hired a professional real estate agent to do the job she is educated and trained in. As agents, we are interpreters and conduits of information, not creators of the market conditions. Know that your agent and you have the same goal: selling your home as quickly as possible for the most amount of money possible.
For more tips on selling your home, contact me at 847-652-1902 or Stephanie.Hofman@cbexchange.com
This post is categorized under A Point of Differentiation which shows how I differentiate myself from all of the other North Shore real estate agents out there.