Lies that sellers want to believe - brightly colored row houses - your paint colors are idealThis week I got a postcard from another real estate agent wanting to list homes in my neighborhood. It featured lies that sellers want to believe.  Often what sellers want to hear is not what they need to hear to make well informed decisions that will benefit them the most in the long run.

Most common types of lies that sellers want to believe

PRICE – Lies that sellers want to believe can relate to the probable buyer’s value of the property. If you interview a few agents and all of them but one tell you that the house is likely to sell for $1 million, but one agent says it’s worth $1,150,000, that agent may be telling you an inflated value in the hopes of “buying the listing”. Will the home sell for more because it is listed high? That’s not how it works.

The importance of pricing your Silicon Valley home competitively cannot be overemphasized. If you do everything else right but get the pricing wrong, the odds are strongly against getting the highest price possible.

CONDITION – Other lies that sellers want to hear may involve the pre-sale prep work. “You don’t have to change your home at all – you can still get top dollar” is usually not true unless the home is a tear down, and it is counter productive if you want to net the most from your home sale. You can, of course, sell a home in any condition, but buyers pay more when the home shows better.

Truth: getting your property show ready can take both time and money. A good Realtor will help you to understand the best way to display each room if you or someone else is living there (move furniture, suggest which items should be removed from counters, whether any artwork might be inappropriate for buyers to see, etc.). If your paint colors or wallpaper are not good for marketing, he or she should tell you and help you with resources to change it.

De-cluttering is the hardest part of getting your home ready for the market. It’s also where you’ll get the most bang for your buck! You’ll have to pack anyway, so why not start on that sooner rather than later?

Getting the home into the kind of shape where buyers can see themselves in it is the target. Some homes may appeal to a narrow audience. By getting it to appeal to a broader audience, you’re much more likely to sell for top dollar. That’s what staging does.

SHOWINGS – There are other lies that sellers want to believe, too, such as “you don’t need to leave the house when it’s being shown”. As a buyer’s agent, let me tell you, when you are there, it’s kind of creepy to the buyers. They want to feel free to look around and speak freely. They don’t want to feel like they are inconveniencing you. Even worse than being there is having you follow them around! Don’t do it!  [Right now we are dealing with Covid-19 and you are actually supposed to be gone for health reasons (or at a minimum, in the yard when they are in the home).]

The list goes on and on. As a home seller, wouldn’t you love to get the most money possible and not change your home at all? No packing, no cleaning, no repairs, no anything – sounds like a dream. A better word is mirage. And that doesn’t serve you.

As a home seller, one of the best things you can do for  yourself is to ask your agent to level with you and not sugar coat anything. Too many Realtors are afraid that if they tell you the bald truth, you won’t like them, won’t hire them, or it will spoil the relationship.

One alternative to living through the chaos of pre-sale preparation is to move out first and then have your listing agent coordinate any pre-sale work and professional staging with you. It is much easier for the seller that way, and has many other benefits, too. When the home is empty and professionally staged, it will show its very best, it will create the kind of clean slate them helps buyers to mentally move in, and it will enable you to get the most possible from your home sale.


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