Even if you haven’t sold a house in a few years, you’ve heard friends and neighbors – and HGTV stars – talk about how to sell your house. The general advice of cleaning, painting and staging is great. When they start getting into specifics, turn off your ears.
I don’t know what it is, but family and friends always want to scare you, to tell you the terrible outcome their cousin’s friend went through. As soon as they know you’re selling or buying a home, the stories come out. I always tell my clients to call me when they hear a scary real estate story. Let’s get it out in the open and talk about whether or not the fears are reasonable and why or why not.
If you’re thinking about selling your house, you need to know what’s happening, what’s expected, and what the standards are in your market. Take friends’ stories with a grain of salt and get clarity to help you demystify the process selling your house.
Common Real Estate Myth 1. It’s better to sell your house with the agent who tells you they will sell your house for the most money
Any realtor you interview to sell your house is going to show you the comparable sales for your neighborhood. If an agent is telling you they can sell your house for much, much more, you have to ask yourself if it’s too good to be true. Overpricing is death to the sale of a house. You might as well forget selling your house if you’re going to do that.
Common Real Estate Myth 2. The market is so hot, I don’t have to be careful pricing my house
No matter the housing market, pricing your property is the most important factor in your home selling, period. In determining the right price, it’s not what you want to get out of your house; it’s not what your neighbor’s house sold for or what your sister says it should sell for.
The housing market moves so quickly at times that we can’t even look at “recent” sales, (back 30 days or more). We have to look at sales prices as recent as this week. I always tell my clients that the price we determine at the time we start the listing process may not be the price we actually go on the market with. If the market is accelerating and the price is too low, it’s not nearly as dangerous as coming onto the market too high; but being accurate in either situation is important.
The price has to entice buyers’ expectations. Buyers do not expect that the house will be priced high to negotiate down. They expect that the house will be priced competitively. They can tell right away if the house is under or overpriced and will completely ignore your house if they feel they’re being manipulated.
Common Real Estate Myth 3. All real estate agents are the same: they’re a bunch of money-hungry idiots
Another common misconception is for home sellers to think that all real estate agents are the same, and it’s no wonder. The National Association of Realtors likes you to think that. But every agent has a different level of skills, knowledge, and ability.
The entry to be a real estate agent in California is very low. If you’re reading industry articles and magazines, you’ll see how unhappy most agents are about that. The industry itself has a bad reputation because of it.
Practically everybody has a real estate license and is ready to sell your house for you – your neighbor, friend and the bagger at the grocery store. But be careful – it looks easy. It’s not. There are a lot of pitfalls and you don’t want to get snagged in one. You need an experienced and savvy agent who will get the process done with you and your results as the highest priority – not their own. No doubt, we all want to get paid; selling real estate is not something I do for charity. When it comes to choosing a real estate agent, choose the most qualified and experienced. You’ll be working closely with this realtor to get you the best possible results; get someone you like and can comfortably communicate with. You have to be able to communicate well and feel heard. It can be a long process.
So how do you find someone? You can ask around, of course. One of the best ways I’ve seen sellers find the agent they like is by going to open houses! You have a chance to interview the agent without them even knowing. You can ask questions, get their perspective in a comfortable, relaxed conversation.
Common Real Estate Myth 4. It’s a hot market, I don’t have to do anything to my house to get it ready to sell
You choose how much or how little you do to prepare your house for sale. The condition of your house attracts particular buyers. The less you do or have done, the more you limit the number of people who will be interested in buying your house.
If your house needs a lot of work, you’re going to attract buyers looking for a deal, investors and contractors. The flip side is that if you do remodel but don’t go with the latest trends, the people looking at your house are only going to add the costs of tearing out what you just put in to the price of the house.
Common Real Estate Myth 5. You have to remodel before you sell
You really don’t. You can take a minimal approach to preparing your house for sale, not spend a lot of money, and still make a good impression on home seekers.
If you do want to make any major changes to your house, have a realtor take a look first – it’ll save you time and money. Trends change. You’ll want to consider who your buyer might be and what type of upgrades they’d like to see. Talk to someone who is aware of the latest when it comes to home design and decor.
Common Real Estate Myth 6. You have to remove all the family photos and “de-personalize” the house
We used to think that was the way to go, but there’s a happy middle. If you have the family tree of pictures hanging down the hall, yes, you have to minimize them. Buyers are going to spend more time looking at the pictures than looking at the house and it will be hard for them to imagine themselves living there.
Having a few strategically placed family photos can help your home feel welcoming. Too many and you’ve got clutter.
Common Real Estate Myth 7. Once you get an offer, your house is sold
Not so fast. There are a lot of steps that have to fall into place and a lot of people are needed to finalize a home sale. In other words, it’s a complicated process and there are a lot of things that can go wrong.
Buyers change their minds, lose their jobs, or ruin their credit during escrow. The appraisal comes in too low. Something negative is learned about the house after you’re in contract. Be prepared and stay in close communication with your agent – really, she should stay in close communication with you – but you get the idea. Know what’s happening.
Are you thinking of selling your home in Northern California? If you haven’t hired a top producing Northern California real estate agent yet, contact me, and I’d be happy to discuss the real estate market history and the current state of the local market!
About the author: The above article “7 Common Real Estate Myths of the Housing Market Unmasked” was provided by Vicki Moore of eXp Realty California. With over 20 years of experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise. We service the following Northern California areas: Roseville, Rocklin, Granite Bay, San Mateo, Foster City, Pacifica, Burlingame, San Carlos, Belmont, Redwood City.
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