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Practicing good seller etiquette
Let's face it: When your house goes on the market, you're not only opening the door to prospective buyers, but also sometimes to unknown vendors and naïve or unqualified buyers. As with any business transaction, there is an expected protocol to how sellers, buyers and their respective agents interact. Should you find yourself in a sticky situation, alert your real estate agent, so JoAnn can address and remedy the problem.
The aggressive agent
When your agent puts your house on the market, typically all promotional materials state clearly that your agent is the primary contact for buyers and buyers' agents. However, sometimes a buyer's agent will contact a seller directly to try to either win over their business or cut the seller's agent out of the deal. This is not reputable behavior and you should report it to your agent immediately if it happens to you. JoAnn will address the situation, to make sure that agent is put into check.
The unscrupulous vendor
Have you ever started a business or moved into a new house and suddenly found your mailbox full of junk mail? Unfortunately, this also can happen when you put your house on the market. When you sell your home, it necessitates all kinds of new purchasing decisions and less-than-ethical vendors are keenly aware of this. Though MLS organizations enforce rules on how posted information is used, some companies have found ways to cull information from various sources to produce mass mailing lists. If you find yourself regularly emptying your mailbox of junk, let JoAnn know. She can tap the appropriate sources to prompt an investigation into the matter.
The naïve buyer
Yard signs, Internet listings and other advertisements can generate a lot of buzz for your home. Some prospective buyers - particularly first-timers - will be so buzzed to see your home that they'll simply drop by. If this happens, no matter how nice these unexpected visitors are, it's best not to humor their enthusiasm by discussing your home or giving an impromptu tour. Instead, politely let them know that your real estate agent is in charge of scheduling tours and provide them with JoAnn's contact information. If you attempt to handle these surprise visits on your own, you might inadvertently disclose information that could hurt you during negotiations down the road.
Don’t volunteer information
Don’t answer nosy questions
Don’t let strangers in “off the street”
Don't escort or follow potential buyers and their real estate agent during showings
This last "don't" is probably one of most important to remember, as it is very easy to feel like you should help show your property. Not only will you likely, but unintentionally, offer information that might squelch any chance of getting an offer, but you may inadvertently "show your hand," thus giving up your bargaining position by volunteering how anxious you are to get rid of your house. And it's easy for a buyer to equate your presence and participation at the showing as a sign of desperation to sell, even though you may certainly have only intended to be helpful. You don't want the buyer to get the opinion that you are too eager, as that would certainly not be in your best interest, if you want to try to get as much as possible for your home.
Please do yourself a big favor, and resist that urge. Even though you may certainly know more than anyone about your home, a trained, experienced realtor knows what features are important to point out, and certainly knows more about his/her buyer's needs and wants. By not allowing a potential buyer and his agent to freely look at your home unencombered, is to take away that invaluable opportunity for them to really check out its amenities, and to chat about them. If they cannot freely discuss how your home meets the buyer's needs, the buyer may rule it out prematurely, as they would have missed the chance to talk about the possibilities to rework it or remodel it to make it the perfect home for that buyer. This is the best way for the buyer's agent to handle that buyer's objections, etc., before leaving the property, as it is much harder to envision those ideas when they have gone to another location.
If it is not possible or practical to actually vacate the home during showings, at least make a point of sitting outside on the patio, or take that time to enjoy a nice walk around the block, or visit with a neighbor. And if you have a dog or cat, it is most helpful to take your pet with you, so your pet does not distract the potential buyers. If you are within earshot during showings, the buyers and their agent may not feel comfortable opening kitchen cabinets and closets, and really be able to get a thorough look at its key features. Then it would be very possible they might miss your home's important amenities.
Remember: often the agent and his/her buyers arrive in separate vehicles, and so the time they are in your home is absolutely key for them to be able to discuss whether it meets their needs, how it compares with other homes they have seen, and how it fits within their financing options. That buyer's agent will have much more effect discussing your property with that buyer, and possibly being able to then and there discuss making an offer on your home. There's no better time for that agent to "ask for the order," than while the buyer is "hot," rather than to have him/her leave and try to resurrect interest after the fact. And certainly, having privacy to discuss it would greatly increase the chances of that happening.