Beware Of Starting Off With A High Sales Price

House-PricesIf you start out with too high a price on your home, you may have just added to your
stress level.

A Listing Agent will market and promote your home to other local agents. This
dramatically increases the sales force. During the first couple of weeks, your home
should be a flurry of activity. First with agents coming to preview your home so they
can sell it to their clients. If the price is right.

If the property is overpriced, fewer agents will bring their buyers to look at your
home. After all, they are professional real estate agents, who know the local market
conditions and home values. Their time is better spent showing homes that are priced

Later when you drop your price, your house is market worn. You will not be able to
recapture the enthusiasm you would have had with a realistic sales price. Your house
could take longer to sell.

If you do sell above market price, the buyer will most likely need a mortgage. The
lender will require an appraisal. If comparable sales and current market conditions do
not support your sales price, then the house will not appraise at the purchase price.
The deal will fall apart, or you will have to renegotiate the purchase price with the

Once the home sits on the market for a while, it is often harder to get a good offer.
Potential buyers may think you are getting desperate and therefore make low offers.
By overpricing your home, you could potentially end up settling for a lower price
than you would have normally received.


The “What Do You Do Now?” Checklist

checklistSo, you’re ready to sell your home.  Getting your home ready before buyers come to visit is very important.  Here is a checklist of items you should check before the showing appointments start;
  • Replace heating and air conditioning filters
  • Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint deterioration
  • Clean siding
  • Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs and railings for loose parts
  • Check roof for loose or missing shingles, check ceiling and attic for water penetration
  • Clean areas around indoor and outdoor heating and cooling equipment
  • Have slow running drains cleaned
  • Remove any debris from around your home that might harbor pests
  • Clean carpets and remove spots
  • Clean walls and wax woodwork; paint (if needed)
  • Clean, wax and polish all hard surface floors
  • Clean windows inside and out – glass, frames and ledges
  • Clean draperies and open to maximize natural light
  • Clean bathrooms thoroughly – floors, walls, fixtures and tiles
  • Clean kitchen ceiling, cabinets, appliances and fixtures
  • Check and repair loose doorknobs, sticking drawers and warped cabinet doors
  • Clean attic, garage and other storage areas
  • Clean closets and hang clothes neatly.  Store shoes, luggage and other articles neatly
  • Use vinegar to clean mineral deposits off the heating element of your dishwasher
  • Clean oven, stove top, exhaust hood and microwave; replace reflector plates (if needed)
  • Check your water heater and drain pan for leaks or corrosion
  • Mow and edge your lawn regularly
  • Prune and trim trees and shrubs
  • Rake leaves – pick up fallen limbs
  • Replace dead or diseased plants and shrubs
  • Clean out flower beds and plant seasonal flowers to enhance the beauty of your yard
  • Discard old or broken lawn furniture, flower pots and hanging baskets
  • Sweep walkways, patio, deck, steps and porch
  • Use 75-watt light bulbs to brighten rooms
  • Arrange furniture to make rooms appear larger and provide maximum walk space
  • Repair or re-finish damaged doors, molding and paneling
  • Remove ashes and soot from fireplace; clean smoke marks
  • Sell or store extra furniture so that the house looks open and spacious
  • Deodorize the entire house to remove unpleasant odors, such as mildew, smoke and cooking smells


The single most improtant thing that you can do is though…  is leave!

Even if the sales agent says that it is okay for you to stay, it is better that you leave.

A potential buyer must get emotionally committed to your home to want to buy it and they cannot become emotional about their “new home” if you, the current owner, is present

Your 9 Minute Showing Drill

woman cleaningOccasionally, you will receive a call to schedule a showing to take place within the next few minutes.


SOUND:  Turn off the television and radio.

SIGHT:  Turn on every light in the house and open all drapes and blinds during the day.

ODORS:  Heat some frozen pastry slowly in the oven, or heat a pan of water on the stove and drop in a few drops of vanilla or potpourri.

KITCHEN:  Wipe counters and place dirty dishes in the dishwater.

BATHROOMS:  Wipe counters and flush and close toilets.

LIVING ROOM:  Hide magazines and newspapers, remove clutter.

FAMILY ROOM:  Hide magazines and newspapers, remove clutter.

BEDROOMS:  Straighten beds and hide clutter under bed, not in closets.

EXTERIOR:   Put away toys and clutter and clear all walkways.

PETS:  Send them outside or take them with you.

Preparing For Showings

Living RoomThe following are some friendly tips to help you home welcome the buyers:

First impressions are lasting impressions. An inviting exterior insures inspection of the interior. Keep your lawn mowed and edged, the flower beds cultivated and the yard clear of refuse. Wash the siding on your home.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Bright, cheery windows and unmarred walls will assist your sale. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders to brighten up a room. Clean windows are an absolute necessity if a house is to look its best. Weather permitting, open windows to let fresh air in.

Fix that faucet. Dripping water discolors enamel and calls attention to faulty plumbing.

Spend a day with a carpenter. Loose doorknobs, sticking drawers, warped cabinet doors and the like are noticed by the prospective buyer. Have these things fixed.

From top to bottom … The attic and basement are important features. Remove all unnecessary articles which have accumulated. Display the full value of your storage and utility areas.

Closet illusion. Clothes properly hung, shoes, hats and other articles neatly placed will make your closets appear adequate. Do not over crowd.

Dear to her heart is the kitchen. Colorful curtains in harmony with the floor and countertops add appeal for the new lady of the house. Most buyers inspect the kitchen carefully, so extra time invested here is well spent. Clean the stove, replace reflector plates and don’t neglect the exhaust hood.

Check and double-check your bathroom. Bright and clean bathrooms sell many homes. Few places in the home get dirty so fast and yet few things will “unsell” a house as fast. Vanity, sink, faucet hardware and mirror are the focal points. But don’t forget other potential problems, soiled or missing grout, soiled toilet bowls and moldy shower curtains. Keep the toilet lid down.

Can you see the light? Illumination is a welcome sign. For after dark inspections, turn on your lights and lamps from the front porch on through.

Music is mellow. But when showing a house, shut offthe radio and television. They distract. Let the salesman and the buyer talk, free of such disturbances.

“Love me, love my dog” does not apply in house selling. Keep pets out of the way, preferably out of the house.

Silence is golden. Be courteous, but do not force conversation with the prospect. He is there to inspect your house, not to pay a social call.

Please do not tag along with the prospect and the salesperson. He knows the buyer’s requirements and can better emphasize the features of your house when alone. You will be called if needed.

A word to the wise … Do not discuss price, terms, possession or other factors with the customers. Refer them to us. We are better equipped to bring the negotiation to a favorable conclusion with all due

So You Want To Sell Your Home

Types of Listings

Open Listing

Gives a real estate agent the right to bring buyers to view your home. If their client buys the home, the agent earns a commission. There is nothing exclusive about an open listing and a seller can give such listings to every agent who comes around. For this reason, no agent is going to market your home or add it to their listings on the internet.

One Time Showing

Used most often by real estate agents who are showing a For Sale By Owner to one of their clients. The seller signs the agreement which identifies the potential buyer and guarantees the agent a commission should that buyer purchase the home. This prevents the buyer and seller from negotiating
directly later and trying to avoid paying the agent’s commission. Agents will not spend money on marketing your home .

Exclusive Agency Listing

Allows an agent to list and market your home, guaranteeing them a commission if the house sells through any real estate agent or company. It also allows sellers to seek out buyers on their own. This is not a popular type of listing as there is not much incentive for agents to spend money on advertising to market your home. If you come up with a buyer of your own, they have spent money they cannot earn back through the real estate commission. Do not expect much from an agent who accepts this type of listing.

Exclusive Right to Sell

Your agent is the listing agent and part of her job is to market your home to other real estate agents. These agents will also show your home to their clients. Regardless of who sells the home, even if you sell it yourself, your listing agent will earn a commission. An exclusive right to sell if the only type of listing an effective real estate agent will accept. This is because they have a reasonable expectation of earning back their money spent of marketing your property.

Terms of the Sale

Obviously the name of the seller and the property address will be included in the listing
contract. The main thing you will be concerned with is the price. You should have a
basic idea of how much you want to ask for your home.

You will also need to disclose what personal property, if any, goes with the house when
you sell it. Personal property is anything that is not attached to the house.

There may be an item that is considered “real property” that you do not want to include in
the sale. Real property is anything attached to the home.


How and When Commissions are Earned

The listing contract specifies a listing price. The agent’s job is to bring a qualified buyer
to present an offer on your home. If you reach an agreement with the buyer, then the
agent has done her job and earned the commission. Once the sale has closed, the real
estate broker gets paid from the proceeds of the sale.

If the buyer is unable or unwilling to close the sale, the house is placed back on the
market and the agent has to begin earning her commission all over again.

If the seller backs out or does not accept an offer that meets the price and terms of the
listing agreement, the listing broker has still earned the commission. They may want to
be paid even though you did not actually sell the home. Therefore it is very important to
carefully consider every detail when completing your listing contract and accepting an
offer to buy your home.

Why Pay A Commission?

Homeowners attempting to sell their home without the assistance of a real estate professional generally do so for one and one reason only. It’s to avoid paying a commission fee. Is it worth it? Only the homeowner can answer that, but experience has shown that many for-sale-by-owners find that it’s not. Before making a costly mistake, consider the benefits, from A to Z, you receive from working with a trained real estate professional:

Advertising-The agent pays all advertising costs.

Bargain-Research shows that 77% of sellers felt their commission was “well spent”.

Contract Writing-An agent can supply standard forms to speed the transactions

Details-An agent frees you from handling the many details of selling a home.

Experience and Expertise – marketing, financing, negotiations, and more.

Financial know-how-An agent is aware of the many options for financing the sale.

Glossary-A real estate professional understands, and can explain, real estate lingo.

Homework-An agent will do homework on how to best market your property.

Information-If you have a real estate question, an agent will know (or can get) the answer.

Juggle Showings-An agent will schedule and handle all showings.

Keeps Your Rest Interests in Mind-It’s an agent’s job.

Laws-A real estate professional will be up-to-date on real estate laws that affect you.  

Multiple listing service, the most effective means of bringing together buyers and sellers.

Negotiation-An agent can handle all price and contract negotiations.

Open Houses-A popular marketing technique.

Prospects-An agent has a network of contacts that can produce potential buyers.  

Qualifies Buyers-Avoids opening your home to “curiosity seekers.'”

Real Estate licensee-has the necessary education and experience to represent you

Suggested Price-An agent will do a market analysis to establish a fair price range.  

Time-One of the most valuable resources in an agent!

Unbiased Opinion-Most owners are too emotional about their home to be objective.

VIP-That’s how you’ll be treated by your agent!

Wisdom-A knowledgeable agent can offer the wisdom that comes with experience.

X Marks the Spot-An agent is right there with you through the initial signing of papers.  

Yard Siqns-An agent provides a professional sign, encouraging serious buyers.

Zero hour Support-Selling a home can be an emotional experience. An agent can help!

The Price Is Right – Your Best House Selling Strategy

You’ve decluttered the garage and repainted the kitchen, bathroom and hallways. You took your REALTOR’s advice about improving your house’s curb appeal, and the grass has never looked greener. Yet your house still has a “For Sale” sign in front, and potential clients aren’t clamoring to see the inside. What’s the problem?

Probably the most common problem shared by many sellers in today’s real estate market is an inflated price. It’s easy to make the mistake of zealously setting an idealistic price. You know exactly what money you’ve spent as well as the many hours of weekend “sweat equity” over the years….but clinging to that less than practical figure can cost you in the long run.

What’s the best way to set a fair price? Savvy buyers have a comparable market analysis (CMA) conducted on the house (or houses) they are most interested in. As a seller, you should do the same so that you’re prepared to negotiate. A good realtor can walk you through this step. Another strategy is to know your competition – is there an open house that’s sounds similar to yours in the MLS? Check it out! Is that seller asking more or less than you? After visiting, you may discover that the other guy’s floor plan doesn’t compare favorably to yours. Or that family has incredible storage space that may be a huge draw for many clients.

What if I go too low? Talk to your real estate agent, but in many cases, a price that’s a little lower than your competition can be a terrific strategy. More than once, I’ve seen such a situation generate a bidding contest that brought the price up above the original asking price.

If the price is fair, shouldn’t I expect to get the asking price? The answer to that one is: it depends. In today’s market, many buyers are quick to make an offer that’s lower than what you’re asking. Don’t be intimidated by a back and forth discussion, and take your time to consider your options. If you notice “For Sale” signs around town with “Price Reduced” toppers on them, you may be in the middle of a rapidly declining market, and prices may need to be reset. A good realtor can advise you of your best plan in the current situation.

Of all the potential pitfalls of selling a home, pricing the house fairly is by far the most common one – and the one issue many clients are reluctant to discuss. Yet the right price can make the difference of selling now or much, much later.

This article was reprinted with permission from Viv Olkin
If you’re looking to sell your home in the Chapel Hill/Durham area, contact Crazy Viv Olkin at She’s the REALTOR who can help you say “The price is right!” and sell your home sooner instead of later. .