Opinions abound about selling your house, and like noses, everyone’s got one. There are myths that have been circulating literally for decades that Realtors still have to debunk, and we aim to name a few of them.


Selling your home is taking a dive into the deep unknown for many people. There is no crystal ball to tell them who will buy their place, for how much, and how long it will take. All this makes them vulnerable to well-meaning advice from everyone and everywhere under the sun — even from people who haven’t been involved in a real estate transaction for many years but are convinced they are experts. Even if some of those beliefs and solutions ended up being true for them, however, it doesn’t mean they will be true for you.


Real estate advice circulating out there runs the gamut from outdated to region-specific to just plain wrong. So we decided to share some of realtor.com’s list of typical truisms followed by an explanation of how they don’t always pan out. These are mixed, of course, with our own bent on each one. That grain of salt adage about advice? Never was it so true than in real estate.


Ever hear it’s always best to list your house in the spring? You typically hear, “People list their homes in March and hope to have it in escrow by the end of spring because that’s close to when their kids get out of school.” Experts now say January is one of the best times to list, when people are back from the holidays and are ready to start looking. Oh, and of course, you are ready to put away the holiday decorations and spiff up the place. If you live in a nasty winter climate, other sellers around you may be waiting to list so they can show off spring flowers. But what’s even more important than green grass is supply and demand. Would you rather list your home when everyone else does and be pitted against more competition? Your call. Truth is, every market is different, and what’s great advice in one area can be terrible advice in another, so consult with your agent on this one.


Open houses are like watching a fashion show. Your house puts on its best and struts down the runway, along with others for sale at the same time. But just because you are pivoting at the end of the ramp to a host of people all at once, don’t set your sights on finding that one ideal buyer. If he, she or they come along as a result of an open house, it’s a huge bonus.


Besides, with today’s access to virtual tours and dozens of professionally-taken photographs within online listings, the most serious home buyers will usually request a private one-on-one showing anyway. An open house typically attracts curious neighbors as well as others thinking of selling their homes looking at what you’ve done and how they can price and position their own homes when they sell. And there are those who do the “open house shuffle” on weekends as a hobby.


While you don’t want to skip the open house entirely (it’s a good way to get the buzz going), it’s time to let go of the idea that an open house is key to finding the ultimate buyer.


Real estate agents just want you to sign on the dotted line and then sit back and collect a hefty commission. Really? An agent’s job is much more than that. Think of them as the person who looks at a retail space in a mall and sets it up so that it attracts potential customers inside. This includes pricing, aesthetics (placement of objects) and betting on that store being the most popular one in the mall. They are prudent, savvy negotiators whose reputations depend on their track records with past clients. Realtors are self-supporting business people who make timely recommendations to get your home prepared for sale in order to get it sold for the most money in the shortest amount of time. They supply marketing materials, pay for posters, flyers, broker open houses, and yard signs, use their time calling other agents who have potential buyers, and have negotiation skills as well as a fiduciary responsibility to protect your interests. Their commissions, by the way, are split with a buyer’s agent and can be offered in varying amounts to that agent to get you the best deal as well as the best buyer. It’s also prudent to keep in mind that after they pay for all their own expenses, they also pay legal insurance fees, pay their broker a certain amount, and on and on.


Don’t forget that throughout much of the country, bidding wars are common right now. A savvy agent can suggest to you when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em for each offer because they make it their business to know how all this works.


“Set your price and then hold out for a buyer who’ll pay it” is not the best advice, if that’s what you’ve heard. No Realtor will balk at the idea of getting as high a price as possible for one of their listings, but pricing your home at the top of the market and expecting it to set a precedent in your neighborhood is not a great plan unless you want to sit a while, get frustrated, and keep lowering the price, which makes it now look like you are desperate. Your listing agent will show you comparables — homes that have sold in the past 3-6 months, those which didn’t sell, and those that are actively listed, which are your main competition. Would YOU want to overpay for a house? Funny when you put the shoe on the other foot, isn’t it? A great real estate transaction happens only when both parties win.


Experts say it’s vital that you price your home reasonably right from the start—not too high, not too low—and then seriously consider any offers that roll in. They will be the barometer check you’ll need to see where your pricing should be anyway. And don’t forget that even if your home is identical in square footage, bedroom and bath count and even in the same desirable neighborhood, competing homes may have been updated more than yours and show better. That’s why it’s a great exercise to SEE all those listings in person and talk to your agent about them BEFORE listing.



Source: NAR, TBWS

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