Get Real About Selling Your Home

By Ray and Dana Brandon

Ray’s Take Selling your home is one of the biggest financial transactions you’ll probably make. It’s a time to stay cool and realistic. However, most of us have a big emotional investment in our homes alongside a significant financial one. You probably selected it because you loved it, were excited to move in and built special memories there.

Potential buyers only want to know what they’ll get for their money. Your professional real estate broker can point you in the right pricing direction by providing detailed information about home sales in your neighborhood, taking into account size, age and other details.

However, you need to listen. A recent survey revealed that 75 percent of homeowners think their agent’s suggested price is too low. If you’re working with a professional agent, she knows the market better than you do. Overprice your home and it could sit on the market a long time. In frustration, you’ll lower the asking price. Then bargain-hunting buyers will smell an opportunity and make offers that are lower still.

Setting a realistic price generates interest in buyers and other agents. Then it’s all about the marketing. Most buyers house-hunt online first. Including lots of attractive photos of your home inside and out can be a real plus, especially if they brightly show off your home’s best features.

Get a professional home inspection before your home is on the market and take care of any problems in advance. Waiting till later could cost you more or make a deal fall through. Ask your agent for tips on how to stage your home to make it more appealing to buyers. Make sure your home is ready for viewing at all times – it needs to be accessible when buyers are. When we were selling our home in 2008, we moved to an apartment. Young kids have a hard time understanding why they can’t make a mess!

However, if the price you set isn’t realistic in the first place, all the marketing in the world is unlikely to help you sell.

Dana’s Take A lot of people turn to a relative or good friend who is a licensed real estate agent to help them sell their house. The thinking seems to make sense: Why not turn to someone you trust when making a transaction this important?

Well, it might work out sometimes, but there are a lot of potential problems ahead. As the proud homeowner, you might get your feelings hurt when someone you know well says your house is worth less than you thought, or advises you to paint over those lime-green walls or store away cherished memorabilia.

On the other hand, your agent could grow to feel that you are imposing on him with demands for services or concessions that go beyond a professional relationship. Certainly friendships have broken up over less.

Ray Brandon is a certified financial planner and CEO of Brandon Financial Planning (www.brandonplanning.com). His wife, Dana, has a bachelor’s degree in finance and is a licensed clinical social worker. Contact Ray Brandon at raybrandon@brandonplanning.com.