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Selling Tips



Most real estate advertising is a waste of money.

Make sure it is not your money.  Most agents advertise to promote themselves, not your home.  In the past 20 years, real estate advertising has increased as much as twenty times.  In most areas, the number of sales being made today is the same as twenty years ago.  Home sellers are often pressured to pay thousands of dollars for advertising.  This is a needless expense because very few homes are ever sold because of advertising.  The industry is addicted to advertising.  There are dozens of advertising awards, yet client satisfaction awards are almost unknown.  Many agents receive huge kickbacks from advertisers and this money is seldom passed on to sellers.  Many agents raise their profile and their profits at your expense.  Do not allow this to happen to you.  Never pay money in advance to an agent for advertising.  And, DON'T SIGN ANYTHING which asks you to pay for advertising before your property is sold and you are satisfied.



Advertising will rarely sell your home.

Too often home sellers make the mistake of demanding advertising for their homes.  Buyers who want to buy in your area always visit your area before buying.  The area attracts them more than the advertising.  It is a waste of time, money and energy to place advertisements in publications which reach thousands of people who will not buy in your area.  Provided your agent's office is open seven days, buyers for your area will be attracted to your agent.  The best agents will then qualify the buyers and bring them to your home.  That's how most homes are sold.  If your home is not selling there are usually only two reasons:  the agent is incompetent or the price is far too high.  If you keep advertising it, people will keep wondering what is wrong with it.



Some agents tell lies to win your business.

Be very careful that you do not choose the agent who tells you the biggest lie about the sale price of your property.  This is called "buying your business".  Also, be wary of agents who try to talk you into auction by telling you stories of incredible prices.  This is a common trick.  If you choose an agent based on the selling price they quote you, you may be badly disappointed.  If you suspect that an agent is attempting to "buy" your business with an over estimated sale price estimate, insist they give you their estimate in writing.  Insist, also, that they charge you nothing if they sell for less than the price they estimated.  This will identify the agents who are enticing you with false quotes.



Cheap agents get cheap prices.

Be careful choosing an agent based purely on their fees.  If agents give their own money away what do you think they will do with your money?  Better to pay an extra one percent for a selling fee than to receive ten percent less on your selling price.  Good negotiators rarely give big discounts on their fees.  If they get you the best market price, they are worth a fair fee.  Chose an agent who offers a guarantee.  If you are not happy, you pay nothing.  But remember, ALL fees can be negotiated down, especially if the agent is trying to negotiate your price down. 



The best agents keep detailed records of buyers.

Most agents get dozens of enquiries from buyers each month.  Some get hundreds.  Why don't they keep records of these people - names, details and phone numbers?  Why don't they keep in contact with the genuine buyers?  If they do keep records, why do they want to keep advertising?  The answer is simple - self promotion.  They call it "profile".  Be careful.  Most agents advertise different properties to attract the same buyers, there is less need for advertising.  Ask the agent to explain how advertising can often lower the price of your home.  Many agents keep no buyer records.  And then they ask you to pay for advertising to find buyers!  Do not pay for the incompetence of any agent.  Insist on an agent who keeps detailed and accurate records of genuine buyers.  One of these buyers may be perfect for your home.



The more agents you employ the lower will be your price.

Do not place your home with several agents.  You may think this will increase your chance of finding a buyer.  But it decreases your chance of getting the highest price.  The agents will be in a hurry to sell your home before another agent sells it.  The sale will be most important.  The price will be forgotten.  Buyers shop around.  They will use the agent who can obtain your home at the lowest price.  Test th is yourself.  When you see one home with several agents, call them all and ask this question:  "What is the lowest price I can pay for that home?"  You will be told different prices.  The agent who suggests the lowest price is the agent who will be most likely to sell your home.  The same situation happens with "multi-list".  Chose one agent, one you like and trust.



They are dangerous.

They are an invitation to thieves who will return later.  Do not allow anyone into your home unless you have two assurances:  1)  they have been identified;  2)  they are interested in buying it.  It is amazing:  a person needs more identification to rent a video than to stroll through a family home!  Do you really want dozens of strangers opening your wardrobes and inspecting your private possessions?  Insist on your security.  Protect yourself, your home and your possessions.  "Sticky beaks" and thieves will not buy your home.  Only buyers will buy.  Therefore, only buyers should inspect.  And do not restrict genuine buyers to one or two hours a week.  Allow these people to inspect anytim.  Do not allow others to inspect at any time!  Be aware that your home may not be insured when you hold an open inspection.  The Police Service will offer you similar advice.  Please, never open your home for public inspection.



No sign can mean no sale.

The buyers who are most likely to pay the highest price will specifically want your location.  A sign attracts these buyers.  It is your 24 hour salesperson.  It is often your best salesperson.  Be careful.  Some people will knock on your door.  Insist they call your agent.  Trying to negotiate yourself could cost you thousands of dollars.  For Sale Signs also attract other agents, those who are too lazy to find their own homes for sale and those who lack ethics.  If other agents approach you, send them packing no matter how many times they tell you they have a great buyer.  These agents are the worst in the industry.  If they will "steal" other agents clients they will almost certainly deceive you.  Do not speak to the unethical agents who approach you from a For Sale Sign.



Closed agents lose buyers.

Make sure the agency you choose is open seven days.  Many agents work "nine to five" and close on Sunday.  You need an agent who is available to buyers.  Weekends are especially important.  You never know when the perfect buyer will come along.  And that buyer will buy from the agent who is open.  the best agents offer a 7 day service.  They are always prepared to work on your behalf.



Poor negotiators will cost you a lot of money.

Negotiation skills are vital to ensuring you get the highest possible price.  There are several Principles of Real Estate Negotiation.  Ask an agent to quote some to you.  You will soon discover who is the best negotiator.  A good negotiator can easily create up to an extra ten percent on your selling price.  Work it out, it can mean thousands of dollars.  If you have an attractive home you don't need a salesperson as much as you need a negotiator.  Be very careful:  most agents are poor negotiators.  Insist on an agent who is a skilled negotiator.



Your reason for selling is confidential.

No one, other than the agent you trust, should know your reason for selling.  If your reason is revealed it can severely hurt your chance of obtaining the highest price.  This is especially true if you need to sell by a certain date.  If buyers know the reason you are selling it can weaken your negotiating position.  Too often, many agents say, "Must sell because bought elsewhere/financial problems/job transfer."  If asked the reason for selling, simply say that you are "re-locating".  Don't let the reason you are selling your home be the reason you receive a lower price.  Your reason for selling is confidential.



Many home improvements do not improve your price.

Be careful what you spend on major improvements to your home.  What suits you may not suit every buyer.  A good example is a swimming pool.  It may cost you $25,000.  Yet, it is worth nothing to buyers who do not want a pool.  Waiting for a buyer with the same taste as you may take years.  The main purpose of home improvements is to improve your enjoyment, not to improve your price.  You rarely get back more than half the cost of your improvements when you sell.  Do not spend large sums on home improvements immediately prior to selling your home.



Dull homes get dull prices.

Do not confuse improvements with presentation.  Make your home sparkle and your price will shine.  Pay attention to little things which create a big impression - the front garden and the first appearance of your home.  Stand back and look at what buyers will see when they arrive.  Cleanliness is vital.  One of the most important and most overlooked aspects of selling a home is its smell.  Pleasant scents create pleasant moods, whereas bad odours will be an instant repellent to a buyer.  A home which sparkles always sells for a higher price.



High prices often come early.  Low prices often come late.

Be careful.  The buyers you reject when your home is first placed for sale may be the buyers prepared to pay the best price.  The number of buyers for your home usually gets lower, not higher, as time goes on.  And your price will often get lower too.  Agents who say it may take many weeks to find a buyer are admitting that they are inefficient - or they are failing to tell you the truth about the value of your home.  They know your home is priced too high and they have to talk you down in price.  The purpose of advertisements and massive numbers of inspections is seldom to "search for buyers" - the buyers are already in the area - it's to "condition" you with lots of visible activity.  This activity damages the value of your home.  It tells buyers that your home is not sold.  And homes which are not sold often require a big price reduction to make them sell.  Consider carefully the early offers you receive.  If the early  price enables you to achieve your goals, you should consider selling sooner rather than later.  How many times do you hear sellers having their homes for sale for a long time and getting a higher price?  Almost never.  The highest price comes when your home is fresh, not when it's stale.  The best agents are those who  can find the best buyer willing to pay the best price in the shortest time and with the least cost to you.

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