Are you considering selling your house? Sometimes this is a fun and exciting decision because you are anticipating moving on to something better, and sometimes a sale is motivated by difficult circumstances and uncertainty. It is often with mixed feelings that people say goodbye to the house they’ve called home for many years and decide to hire an agent.
Selling your house in Seattle is not always an easy decision to make. Many people come to the Puget Sound area because of a job relocation and end up falling in love with the mild climate and easy access to outdoor adventures like hiking, skiing and kayaking. Perhaps your job is making you move once again, maybe you didn’t like our rainy winters, or maybe family obligations are forcing you to move up or downsize.
Whether you’re staying local or leaving the Pacific Northwest for good, once you have decided you’re ready to sell your home, you need the right person to help you navigate through the process and get things done right the first time. Here are five reasons you might want to to hire an agent when selling your house in Shoreline, WA.
#1 Reason To Hire An Agent: Objectivity
You Love Your Home, Which Makes It Harder For You To Think Straight And Negotiate Well
Many of us have a strong emotional attachment to our homes. Major life events may have happened under our roofs, memories were made. It’s hard to say good-bye. For that reason, home owners interested in selling often inflate their homes value in their minds. “Look at this giant gazebo I built in the backyard – that cost me $10,000,” they say, not realizing that to most people that little construction project is an eyesore that will need to be torn down and removed.
The improvements you’ve made to the home over the years, while they might still look modern and recent to you, may be starting to show their age.
Right off the bat, a qualified and experienced real estate professional will be able to help you assess which improvements are optional, and which are NECESSARY to get your house in prime condition and ready to sell quickly and for top dollar.
Yes, you CAN overprice your home and leave the 15-year-old carpet in the basement… you can… BUT… In Seattle real estate prices are so HIGH and the cost of improvements is relatively low by comparison. Making your home sparkly and new is a great idea. Most home buyers are looking for something that is turn-key ready. They can walk in on Day 1 and start placing their furniture and unpacking the china. If you leave those little home improvement projects for the next guy, chances are it will be a turnoff for buyers when the property hits the MLS.
Some repairs are worth doing, and some are not. We can talk together and run the numbers when we meet.
(Note, I DO work with sellers whose homes need repair, but you may just not be able to net as much money as you would if the property were fixed up. If your home is very dated and/or you need a quick sale, you can also consider selling your house to an investor.)
While you’re assessing the condition of your home, remember the view isn’t limited to what’s inside those four walls, but the exterior and landscaping as well. Old roofs and gutters and water drainage issues outside will show up on the property inspection. Ratty landscaping is an emotional turn-off for the buyer. Any agent worth their salt will tell you that curb appeal can make or break a sale.
#2 Reason To Hire An Agent: Access
My Little Black Book Of Real Estate Names
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know, right? When you hire an agent, to a degree you’re hiring their entire connected network. This includes the agency they may work for, other agents they know, and other professional contacts they have accrued over the years (home inspectors, exterminators, structural engineers, etc.). A good agent is a one-stop-shop for the dozen or more individual professionals who may be involved in a real estate transaction.
One specific plus an agent brings to the table is their access to a plethora of Multiple Listing Site properties, or the “MLS” for those in the know. These are databases of home listings that make communication between buyers, sellers, and their respective agents a snap.
Putting the house on the NW MLS is imperative. This is where all the buyers are looking. When I get a new buyer-side client, I can easily set her up with MLS access online. Like I said, I have connections! Actually for the MLS though, we will just use the computer to filter the properties so all buyers who are searching for homes in Seattle will be able to find your property. Most buyers are JUST looking at the type (condo, duplex, house, etc.), price range ($0 – $5,000,000), and locations or neighborhoods they desire and we want your property to come up on the top of the search results for the type of buyers who might be interested in your home.
If you want to, before you list, we can look at the MLS together to see what your “competition” looks like and how they are presenting their homes online.
#3 Reason To Hire An Agent: Knowledge Is Power… Bwah-Ha-Ha!
Hiring a seasoned real estate agent will go a long way toward simplifying the home selling process for you. Your agent can help take control of the situation by giving you solid advice to maximize the positive attributes of your home while downplaying any possible negatives.
Not everything is fixable, like paint and carpet. A busy street corner, an unappealing view, a nearby construction project or a problematic neighbor can make it harder for buyers to fall in love with your home. However your agent will address these issues with you and discuss strategies for assuaging buyer’s concerns and directing their attention to the most appealing aspects of the property.
My home, for example, wouldn’t show well at the moment. As I look around objectively, I see that it is stuffed with books and there are bookcases everywhere. I have some cat hair on the furniture and a few baskets of laundry I need to sort. It’s not ready for someone to walk in off the street and fall in love with it now. Few homes are that have been lived in by a family for years.
Sometimes a homeowner won’t understand or notice how cluttered their home feels. Some homes even have a distinctive “smell” that the owners don’t notice anymore. I’m not saying *YOUR* home has a smell, because I’m sure it doesn’t, but *SOME* homes do. This often comes from benign sources, like cooking or pets, but can be a turn-off to outsiders.
When we decide to work together, we will have a “kind and gentle” discussion about how to make your home emotionally appealing to buyers. I’m not there to nit-pick and make you feel bad. Not at all. You will always be the decision maker on how you want to keep and present your home before sale. You know me, I love cat hair and garlic smells, but I would try to minimize them if I were selling my house. Whether you want to spiff up your house when you put it up for sale, and to what extent, is going to be completely your choice.
We will often start with useful advice on how to de-clutter the space and make it feel much more open and inviting to potential buyers. You’re going to have to pack up everything after you sell and are ready to move, anyway. It might be worthwhile to start packing a few things now and put them into the attic, garage, or a storage unit to help give your home a more open and airy feeling.
Another important step that can be helped when you hire an agent is finding the best way to depersonalize your home. Depersonalizing is the process of removing keepsakes and photos in order to make the space feel lived in while also allowing possible buyers to imagine what the space would look like for them.
Presenting your home for sale is one aspect of real estate marketing that is very important to get right. Remember, the potential buyer must have an emotional reaction, fall in love, and start mentally placing their furniture and hanging their paintings. If your fishing trophies and cross stitch samplers are hanging next to the family reunion shots printed on canvas, it’s just harder to make that magic happen.
Finally, an agent comes equipped with marketing resources homeowners cannot match. Agents use whatever means necessary to get the word out that your home is for sale, and it’s worth a look.
#4 Reason To Hire An Agent: A Neutral Intermediary
Don’t “Mad-Dog” The Customers
If you try selling your home by yourself, FSBO-style, you may find it difficult to cope with the process of dealing with potential buyers. You may have too many, not enough, or just none that seem ready to close the deal.
Imagine yourself in their shoes when they come to look at your home and you’re there covertly eye-balling them. When touring your home, they are taking stock of the overall value of the property and whether it fits their needs. They may be taking tally of all the houses faults, or perceived faults, in the hopes of negotiating you down on the price. (Awkward!) Many buyers can feel uncomfortable in this situation, which makes it hard for him to create that emotional connection with the home we’re all hoping form. It’s very awkward to have the owner standing right there while they are trying to be objective about everything.
When you hire an agent, it allows you to physically remove yourself from the situation and create a more neutral scenario. Even if it doesn’t stress you out, this can be a big plus from the buyer’s perspective. Your agent acts as a mouthpiece that highlights those positive home attributes and does their best to make potential buyers focus on how great it would be if they lived there. A good agent can help buyers see the home from a new perspective and appreciate it in a way that they might not have on their own. Many times, buyers just want to feel confident that they are making a good choice, and the agent can help create a positive and supportive mood that gets the deal closed.
Allowing an agent to handle this situation removes your emotions from the initial impressions the buyers have and keeps any possible offers running smoothly.
#5 Reason To Hire An Agent: Fiduciary Responsibility & Negotiation Skills
Last, but absolutely not least, an agent has a fiduciary responsibility to their clients. This means when you hire an agent, they are legally required to do what is in YOUR best interest and they can NOT put themselves first through the selling process.
Having an agent that is a good negotiator is often a big help, too. Many agents are terrible negotiators.
When my sister was buying her first home – a townhouse in Ballard – her buyer’s agent was negotiating AGAINST her, telling the sellers my sister was rich and would probably be able to PAY MORE for the property. OUCH! That is not the way to negotiate.
An agent who is a good negotiator can look for things that are important to the other party. Often things like days to close, property repairs and condition, owner financing, lease-backs, even furniture staying can make a difference to a buyer who is looking at a home for sale. None of these have to do with price. It’s good to tell your agent what matters most to you and where you can be flexible, so your agent can push hard to get you the best deal.
At the end of the day, your agent earns their commission once they close a deal where you are happy.
Hire an Agent in Shoreline
If you want help making the home-selling process go more smoothly, call us today at (206) 578-3438 or send a message to hire an agent in Shoreline!