I'll to try and keep this short and sweet as I've had a LOT of work on my plate this week and much more ahead. Yesterday, I spent the morning and afternoon gardening at my new listing at 8 Manor Drive in Piedmont (don't miss it!) and the day before I was hearing offers on my birthday for 16 Nace Avenue. (I'm pleased to report that 16 Nace Avenue went WELL above asking with five offers! What a gift and what deserving Sellers.)
WORK (!) is par for the course these days when nearly all of us in the Real Estate industry are churning round the clock to meet the demands of a market that has far fewer Sellers than Buyers and LOTS of anxiety and apprehension on both sides.
It's a crash course in Supply & Demand (and psychology) AND it's also a lesson in choosing your agent wisely. (Yes, your REALTOR can actually make a significant difference in your bottom line.)
Which is why I'm always stymied by naive Sellers who nonchalantly take, what is usually their single largest investment, and put it in the hands of an out-of-area agent, an inexperienced friend, or a newly minted relative. I understand the loyalty, but REALLY? This is your home. Maybe, just maybe, you'd prefer these agents would cut their teeth on someone else's property before you hand them yours.
A few weeks back I wandered, quite by accident, into an Open while on Broker's Tour and asked how the traffic had been. I'd followed the sign, but hadn't seen the property on my tour sheet. "Bad," the out-of-area agent dejectedly said, "almost no one has come to see it."
Of course they hadn't. This "team" from Pleasanton had failed to put the property into the AD REVIEW. (The AD REVIEW is the road map we agents use each Monday and Thursday to outline our tour.) Without proper notice, how could agents be expected to know the house was available - let alone their Buyers? Thus, the home had been missed and these poor Sellers had lost days trying to recover their market audience. Worse yet, the Sellers probably hadn't a clue about the misstep.
In a robust market such as ours, that's just unacceptable and it's also of little value to the Sellers when we serve an area we don't know, or understand well. Above all else, Real Estate is a local business so agents - REFER OUT!
Yesterday afternoon, I met up with a "referral" a retired colleague had sent my way. (Thank you Michelle; it's much appreciated.)
"I've been in my home for 45 years," the kind, but overwhelmed gentleman informed me . . ."I've got a mountain to move." (Sigh.)
"No worries," I replied. "That's what I'm here for.
Having expected the call, I had already driven by his address and noted that the yard is overgrown, the landscaping needs major pruning and the home needs power washing and as I suspected, it's going to need as much attention inside as it does outside. (Our homes store our lives.)
Again, that's what I'm here for.
The truth is, it's the rare home that is ready for a sign out front with nary a window washing or a closet to be sorted. Granted, most of us haven't collected 45 years of "stuff," but whether we've been residing in our homes for a little - or a long - time, chances are the property will benefit from purging, cleaning, staging, and gardening - and that's just for starters. Once in action, you'll need a committed team on your side and someone to manage it for you.
Or as my Broker recently commented, "You're a girl with horsepower!" (I think he meant that as a compliment.) Either way, the longest journeys begin with a single step.
From start to finish, a Buyer should expect inspectors, painters, housecleaners, gardeners, stagers, window washers, handymen, and whomever else is needed to fill in the blanks. It's simply pennywise and pound foolish to economize the presentation. Save your money elsewhere if you must, but don't scrimp on the marketing and preparation.
They should also expect to track down bank records, dig up blueprints, organize permits, spend hours on disclosures, sign title documents, and meet with their agent frequently. In other words, selling a property is a BIG job and you want someone who knows how to put all these moving parts in place while simultaneously marketing your home to achieve its highest and best result.
AND you want someone with whom you are entirely comfortable sharing your finances, your fears, your hopes, and your aggravation (trust me, it will rise to the surface). Let's face it, under the BEST of circumstances, selling is a MONUMENTAL task, so choose wisely. We will be spending a lot of time together.
And no, this expertise and experience doesn't come free, but in the end, the "value added" to your sale is well worth the investment in bringing a home to market fully realized and inspected and in the hands of someone who knows and understands the market well. FSBOS (For Sale by Owners) are you listening? I can't even begin to imagine what you are thinking???
Hey, I've gotta run. I'm off to buy more plants and meet the photographer. There are mountains to move . . . (one step at a time). That's what I'm here for.
How can I help you?
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 600 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.