The Property is the one thing over which you, the Seller, have control. It is your house. You have complete control over the color, the carpet, the landscaping, the décor, the features…simply put, it’s your house. As a Realtor, I’m happy to walk through your home with you and make suggestions that will make it more desirable, but ultimately your home is…well, your home. You have control over the condition, appearance and features in your home.
The Promotion, or marketing, is the one thing over which I, the Realtor, have control. This is what you pay a Realtor for – to get the facts and features of your home out into the marketplace so that qualified buyers can see it and decide to take the next step and come see the home in person.
For a $250,000 home, you will pay a Realtor somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000. That’s a lot of money! And the main reason you’re paying him this huge amount is to market your home so that you can get the best sales price possible. What is his marketing plan? Get it in writing, and get it guaranteed! Get samples of his work from previous listings. If he is unable or unwilling to offer these, move on. You’re not getting your money’s worth.
The last element of the sale of your home is the Price. Neither you as the Seller, nor I as the Realtor, have any control over the sales price of your home. You can determine the price at which your home will NOT sell, simply by saying, “No, I will not accept that offer.” I will advise you on the price where your home is likely to sell, based on recent comparable homes sold and current market conditions. But neither you nor I can fix a certain sales price. If we could, you and I would agree to sell your home for $1,000,000, and we’d just go do it. But if the market will not support a price, then we won’t be able to sell it at that price.
So what determines the sales price of your home? The Market determines sales prices for homes. The market is the pool of buyers and sellers currently active in the home market place, and fair market price is the price at which 2 potential buyers are willing to argue over your home. Two buyers are important; if we have only one buyer, he is arguing over the price with you, the Seller, and he’s arguing down. If you have two buyers, they are arguing with each other, and they are arguing the price up! That’s what you want! Many times I’ve seen a Seller list his home higher than fair market value, get very few showings, and one low-ball offer. Then he ends up selling his home for less than he had to because he only had one interested buyer. Conversely, I’ve often seen a seller list his home at an aggressive price in line with the fair market value, and receive two or more offers, and ultimately sell his home for more than he was asking.
So, don’t pick an agent based upon the sales price he says he can get for your home. There are agents out there who will “Buy a Listing.” That is, they will suggest a value of the home way above fair market value to entice a Seller to list the home with them, and then they’ll spend the next 6 months trying to work the Seller down to a realistic sales price. You should hire an agent primarily on the marketing he will do to Promote your home, and secondarily on his counsel in preparing and Pricing the Property for sale.