5 things the Savvy Seller Must Take To Heart
If you are a Seller in Sarasota’s real estate, we want you to know that WHO you choose to represent your property and your interests is paramount. Without the right Realtor, you risk losing time, money, and the proper protections should anything go wrong.
Here are the key elements you must know to sell in the shortest amount of time, at the highest value, with the least impact on your day to day life.
1. YOUR REALTOR: YOUR GREATEST ASSET – or – A LIABILITY?
Believe it or not, Realtors have a reputation amongst their peers. This person can attract showings from other agents just based on the respect they have garnered in the local real estate community.
Their good standing with their own peers and ability to negotiate solutions to unforeseen circumstances are critical factors in facilitating the exposure of your property and securing a sale that works for you.
We have had many experiences where a listing agent’s lack of knowledge and skill actually loses the sale. Other things being equal, sometimes buyers agents will factor in which properties they will show based on how effective the listing agent is- i.e., how good are they to work with.
So WHO YOU CHOOSE as your Realtor is not a choice you should take lightly. You should be just as discerning in choosing your Realtor as you are in choosing the best medical or legal practitioner.
A Critical Business Partner, Not a Clerk
Your Realtor works as the “point-person” to manage the entire selling process for/with you. As such, you must be confident they are capable in all of the following:
- Demonstrate digital marketing expertise
- Possess solid knowledge of your property’s market niche
- Have access to both domestic and international peers
- Practice real estate as a profession, not a vocation
- Have a great rapport and connection to the professional Realtor community
- Have exceptional communication and writing skills
- Authoritatively advise you on every aspect we discuss in this article
He or she will guide you on how to achieve the most favorable outcome throughout the process, especially during negotiations of the contract and with any subsequent issues that may arise during the due diligence process.
While you need a professional with extensive experience, it is also critical that your Realtor is capable of staying on top of emerging technologies. If your Realtor is still operating his or her business like your grandmother’s real estate agent, then your property is likely to be at a disadvantage from the outset.
The industry is changing rapidly and your choice in who represents your property, how they position it, and their skills in negotiation, offer real value.
2. TRADITIONAL REAL ESTATE MARKETING IS NO LONGER ENOUGH
As a Seller, your primary reason for hiring a Realtor is to market your property effectively. REAL ESTATE MARKETING IN THIS DIGITAL AGE bears little resemblance to how your parents’ Realtor operated.
In today’s media driven society, an effective real estate marketing strategy requires the know-how to transcend both language and geographic barriers. It must be able to be working for you 24/7 in a GLOBAL market.
Getting the property in MLS is only the beginning. By having your property in the MLS, the listing is accessible to all Realtors working in your area, as well as syndicated to hundreds of consumer internet sites. Only Realtors can post to the MLS, and this listing is critical as this is where other Realtors go to source property for their active buyers.
However, the BIGGER question is…what does your Realtor do beyond the MLS? Print advertising is old school and, in today’s digital age, it is highly ineffective. 92% of all buyers search the internet during the home buying process. A significant internet presence is a key advantage in getting your property both seen and sold.
Two critical questions you should ask a prospective Realtor are:
- How will they leverage video and aerial technology to tell the story of your home?
- What other ways will they use technology and social media to market your property?
The ways in which your Realtor should market your property MUST include:
- The contact and networking skills to access the INTERNATIONAL market as 25% of all dollars in Florida come from Global Buyers
- Excellent professional scripting and videography
- Excellent professional aerial and property photographs
- The Know-How to optimize listings in Realtor.com, IDX, Zillow, And Trulia
- Knowledge of SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
- A comprehensive Social Media Promotional Strategy.
When you are selling a home in Florida, it is important to remember the property is being marketed to two constituents, consumers and realtors. Although many think that marketing should be purely consumer focused, we maintain that, while this is important, the primary focus should be on how to reach the Realtor community.
After all, well over 90% of all properties sold are sold by Realtors. And this again requires a well connected, well respected, experienced Realtor.
If you are listing a luxury property, particularly waterfront, know that you are selling the story of the lifestyle. Nothing tells that story better than full motion video with aerial footage. Here is an example of a video we scripted, directed and produced for a listing on Siesta Key:
3. PREPARING AND STAGING YOUR PROPERTY – DO YOU RISK LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE?
The primary goal in preparing your property for sale is to make it as easy as possible for other people to buy it. That means making it easy for buyers to visualize the use of the space and to see themselves either in it or easily able to rent it. Most buyers are not keen on needing to do a lot of work to a property, they just want to enjoy the home, or rent it out straight away.
Because many owners grow accustomed to the eccentricities of their homes, they may fail to realize that a few simple changes or improvements could drastically increase the marketability of their property.
Simple Fixes That Command Higher Return
Sometimes it’s as simple as a fresh paint job, a deep clean, removing excess furniture and clutter, making minor repairs, or tearing up carpet to reveal hardwood floors. On the other hand, a Realtor might suggest larger improvements—like renovating a kitchen or bathroom—that will considerably raise the value of the home.
The Virtues of Staging
In many situations we recommend to our clients that they consult a professional stager before they list their home. In our opinion, staging a house is a very strategic way to improve its look and feel. We have seen firsthand dramatic transformations of interior spaces through staging.
A stager has an eye for how to use fixtures, furniture, colors, and accessories in such a way as to make a home look bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, more loving and, best of all, more appealing to home buyers.
Larger Improvements May Net You More
In the case of a property that is significantly outdated and/or in disrepair there may be a chance that the next buyer tears it down and builds a new home. Still, it may make sense to perform certain improvements and repairs in order to achieve the highest possible market price.
The buyer will place zero value on the structure if they see it as unsalvageable, and, therefore, will only want to pay land value. However, if the house has redeemable value, the tear-down buyer should still have to pay something for the structure even though they will not use it.
Case Study: Our Bird Key Listing That Went From Tear Down To Top Dollar
This was the case with a particular client we had on Bird Key in Sarasota. In this case, the client’s parents had recently passed away and they contacted us to list the property for sale. Upon visiting the site, we realized immediately that, most likely, at least 70% of prospective buyers would tear down and rebuild. The house was both outdated and in disrepair.
We had the house pre-inspected in order to discover the simplest and most cost effective fixes in order to ensure that the property was both functional and habitable. In this case, the client spent an extra $5,000 to $10,000 in real money up front and, as a result, made an extra $150,000 to $200,000 on the sale.
It is the responsibility of your Realtor to be able to determine the most effective means to prepare your property for sale. In this case, we acted to ensure that the Buyer was not able to discount the value of the structure and purchase the property based solely on the land value and intended use.
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4. HOW YOU STRUCTURE YOUR LISTING AGREEMENT COUNTS
Here in Florida, when a homeowner is selling a property, an exclusive contract called a Listing Agreement is used. In a Listing Agreement, the seller elects to work with one agent/broker on the sale of the house for a defined amount of time.
Typically the length of a Listing Agreement is six months to one year. At the end of that time, if the property has not sold, the homeowner may decide to either renew the Agreement, take the home off of the market or find another agent.
Many Realtors work as ‘transaction agents’ by default. This means that unless specifically stated and agreed to in writing, they don’t represent either the buyer or the seller, as they are responsible for facilitating the transaction.
We recommend that in the Listing Agreement you, as the seller, specify that you want a single agency relationship. This means the professional you hire has a fiduciary responsibility to you, they’re not representing the transaction, they’re representing your needs and working for you, to get the results you want.
5. THE PARAMOUNT ISSUE OF PRICE- ARE YOU A REAL SELLER?
No matter how much energy is put into preparing, positioning and marketing a listing, in the end it all goes back to the price. It is important to establish a listing price that generates interest in the way of inquiries and showings.
There are some neighborhoods that the moment a new property comes to market everyone wants to see it because there is a high demand for the neighborhood. However, buyers need to see value in the property and if the price is listed well above the perceived value, potential buyers may shy away from making offers.
An experienced Realtor should know all the nuances of a particular market in order to make the most accurate assessment of the maximum selling price the property can hope to achieve, without alienating buyers by over pricing. Most aim to price the property so that they can achieve a fast and smooth sale.
Once the price is decided, the surest feedback will come from the market. The market will tell you quite clearly, either by lack of viewings, lack of offers, or low offers, how accurate the listing price is.
In Florida it is quite rare that a property sells at the price it is listed. Some properties are well priced, meaning they are fairly in line with the market value, and some are not. It is incumbent on your Realtor to help any potential buyers (usually by working with their Realtor) understand the value in your property, and to try to negotiate as close to the listing price as the market data supports.
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