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Some sellers over-prepare

Posted by Rona Fischman April 18, 2011 01:49 PM

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Today, Sam Schneiderman, broker owner of Greater Boston Home Team discusses how following the wrong advice can cost some sellers time or money.

Some owners will try to sell on heir own; the majority turn to real estate agents to manage their sales.Todayís post is inspired by owners that I've met that prepared their homes for sale before bringing in agents to interview.

Most sellers will do at least some research online. Others will take the advice of a friends or relatives that havenít seen the property. Unfortunately, online information, including this blog and other blind advice can't take the place of human judgment based on an evaluation of a property's condition and the sellerís circumstances. With the exception of de-cluttering their homes, most sellers would be better off selecting their agent before they "prepared" their homes for sale. Then they should follow that agentís specific advice to prepare their home for sale.

The most common mistake that sellers make is that they do work to their homes that might be better left to negotiate over after a home inspection. That work often includes updating electrical systems, replacing a roof, gutters, doors or windows, doing excessive landscaping or interior upgrades. On the other hand, Iíve also seen sellers that refuse to do inexpensive repair work that would make their home much more appealing and valuable to buyers.

Some sellers call in several agents and ask them for suggestions about preparing their home for the market. Then they combine all of the agentís suggestions and do the work. The result is often too much money spent on items that will not bring a return on the money spent.

In most cases, the worst thing that most sellers can do is vacate the home completely before putting it on the market. Buyers and buyerís agents naturally think that the sellers must be very motivated to sell quickly. Therefore, they typically make lower offers on vacant homes. While furniture can be rented to stage the house, thatís an expensive option and buyers can usually tell when a home has been staged that way.

Good listing agents know who the most likely buyers will be before they put a home on the market. They have a clear vision for the best way to present a particular property. With a marketing, pricing and negotiating strategy in mind, an experienced agent can look at a property and know what the typical buyer for that property will expect, what the buyers and their agents are likely to find acceptable and what is best left for negotiation after the home inspection. Since all agents wonít have the same plan in mind for the same house, preparing a home based on the recommendations of several agents can backfire by leaving the selected agent with a home that has been either over-prepared or under-prepared to be marketed most effectively by their selected agent. The result is usually a longer marketing period and/or lower sale price.

If you have used an agent to sell, did you prepare your home first or follow the agentís recommendations?

If you interviewed several agents, did you follow oneís advice or all of their advice to prepare your home?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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