Have you ever felt like the so-called ‘expert’ advice on how to prepare your home for sale is just a bunch of crap that is the same ol’ elementary drivel that’s objective is simply ‘click-bait’, or worse, propaganda to propel you into the arms of an agent that is endearing and oh-so-sweet/successful? Especially when you are just looking for some information on how to sell your home without an agent? You may be on to something there…
A Tale of Two Home Purchase Options:
You’ve got 2 homes to choose from and they both appear to be directly comparable and are priced exactly the same. The First has a sparkling narrative in the finest realtor-ese, fabulous photos, a sellers property disclosure and it just ‘feels’ right. The Second has all of the above… PLUS, it is Pre-Inspected, providing a list of all improvements made and invoices paid for the newer Trane dual-zoned HVAC unit, upgraded Low-E argon-filled windows and blown-in cellulose insulation in the walls which all reduce the utilities averages by over 30% from the average home in the neighborhood, a list of negotiable personal property, the landscape and sprinkler system design drawings with photos and names of all the plants and trees, a survey of the property, and a transferable home warranty.
Which one of these properties would you feel the most confidence investing in for your family?
Conventional information sources (books, blogs, YouTube, HGTV) would have you think that preparing your home for sale consists of a generally standardized system of something like 6 steps that go a little something like this: 1. Declutter 2. Depersonalize 3. Paint 4. Stage (Lights, camera, action! Furnishings, music, fresh baked cookies!) 5. Identify necessary repairs 6. Fine-tune your curb appeal. All but one of these deal with the superficial and surface appearances which prey upon our baser nature as emotive creatures that make emotional purchases. There is much value in that wisdom and some of it is even true. I have told folks for years that they only have 7 minutes and 14 seconds to sell their home. 7 Seconds when the prospect first sees the home when they parked at the curb, 7 Seconds after they first open the door, and 7 Minutes within walking around the property and ‘getting a feel’ of the place. You never get a second chance at a first impression, & all of this level of preparation is simply orchestrating the relationship between parties like a first date.
Let’s get into the engagement: While there may be some truth to the psychology of the sensory cattle prods to separate the prime beef from the herd of the market, HomeBuyers in the Information Age are more educated, smarter and more discerning, more hesitant to making potential mistakes and more deserving of available Big Data to make more logically-based decisions on their Greatest Investment. Before they are going to feel confident with writing a contract towards consummating a deal with you, they are going to want to get intimate.
In a former life, before decades as a real estate agent, I was a business broker. I helped folks sell privately-held businesses, & I learned real quick that the prettiest shops with the nicest equipment and the blingiest signs and brand are rarely the machines that were cranking out the most discretionary cash. Moolah. Profit. EBITDA. The proof in the pudding was PROVEN with a due diligence folder. Tax returns, profit-and-loss reports, assets list, accounts payable/receivable, etc… The value of a business is found in a multiple of its profits and its opportunities for growth or improvement, and the market doesn’t care if you’re doing $10MM in gross sales if you’re losing money! You have to prove the value by opening up your books and disclosing EVERYTHING that is material to the machine that is generating revenue.
How does this apply to Homeowners of the Information Age? Do your due diligence!
Most conventionally-aligned home sellers engage a real estate agent 1-3 months in advance of their projected need to sell and then rely on that individual or agency to provide them with a checklist similar to the aforementioned 6 suggestions, and then delegate the development of the essential resources and documentation to support the process of proper representation of their property. Most agencies don’t even recommend more than the superficial, and only provide the State or Federally-required documentation for representation.
Stop it! Take some time to know your home as a 2-dimensional data set! How big is it? What is your Source for that Data? (You likely received an appraisal when you purchased it, & everyone who has ever measured it will come up with a different figure) What are your average utilities cost? Where is the list of all the value-adding improvements that you’ve done? What is the age of the roof and major appliances? Put yourself in the Buyer’s shoes. After all, you are likely to be in that boat currently or soon. Remember, the Golden Rule and Goodwill rule the day when transacting a real property sale.
I am here to help you understand how to sell your home on your own. It’s not rocket science. (But, Mr SpaceX, Elon Musk, did effectively save ~$870k by selling his home on his own…) It is really simple, but it is only easy after you have done it a few hundred times.
Everything that you need to sell a home fits on 1-sheet of paper, & I’d like to ensure that you have what you need.
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