You’ve heard them before. You may have even fallen victim to a couple of them now and then. There’s no shortage of selling myths out there – many perpetrated by my own industry. Let’s clear up the 7 most common.
Myth #1 – It’s a seller’s market so my home will sell itself.
If you’re lucky enough to have a decent home in a popular neighborhood with little or no competition, there is a good chance you will get an offer (or many) quickly. But that’s just the beginning. It still had to be priced well in the first place, offers will need to be vetted and evaluated, and unexpected issues will arise during escrow requiring the guidance of a seasoned pro. And a good agent can carefully massage the best price and terms from the most qualified buyer without overplaying their hand and blowing the deal.
Tip: Pricing a home with the intent of attracting multiple offers is a bit of a gamble. Any experienced agent will tell you that we’ve all listed homes we thought would sell quickly and with multiple offers that ended up not. You never really know until you put it on the market.
Myth #2 – I got a letter from an agent with a legit buyer for my home.
Doesn’t every agent you know have a secret buyer that would be “perfect for your home”? This is a common tactic agents use with the intent to get you to list with them. You may get a letter in the mail or a knock on your door, but rest assured, it’s likely just a tactic to list your home. Unfortunately this tactic has been so abused that even if we do have a potential buyer, sellers are less likely to believe it.
Tip: Ask them detailed questions about their buyer. It’s usually easy to tell if they’re making it up on the fly. (Read: 5 Tricks Agents Use To Get Your Listing and How To Avoid Them)
Myth #3 – Agents, Zillow, or Appraisers know what my house is worth.
Only the open market will tell you what your home is worth. Everything else is an educated guess at best.
Tip: Don’t fall for the agent who tells you your home is worth way more than you thought. It’s just a tactic to list your house. Expect a price reduction down the road. Read: I Don’t Know What Your Home Is Worth and Neither Does Any Other Agent
Myth #4 – Open Houses sell homes.
I’ll let you in on a little trade secret. Agents don’t host open houses to sell your home. They host open houses to meet buyers of other homes. According to the National Association of Realtors, open houses sell less than 1% of homes. I’m sure you’ve heard stories of someone walking in and buying an open house and it does happen. However that doesn’t mean the buyer hadn’t already seen the house online and came by to see it in person at the open house or would have seen it with their agent if it wasn’t open. But the chances of someone driving by and suddenly deciding they want to buy a house is almost zero.
Tip: A Broker’s Open is different and worth hosting. That’s when we invite other local agents to come by any time during a two hour window. Usually agents with potential buyers or agents who work the local area will stop by to familiarize themselves with your home to pass on to buyers.
Myth #5 – I should accept the highest offer.
Deciding on an offer to take is a good problem to have. It’s tempting to gravitate towards the highest offer. We all do it. But there’s something much more important than the highest offer – the likelihood (or ability) of the buyer to close. In CA, the buyer can walk for any reason during the first 17 days of escrow. Buyers often get caught up in “winning” only to end up with buyer’s remorse a couple weeks into escrow and ultimately cancel the sale. In choosing an offer, you and your agent not only want to consider the offer price, but you’ll also want to evaluate the buyer’s true desire to buy your home and the overall strength of the offer.
Tip: So many factors come into play when deciding on the best offer from the buyer’s qualification to the agent representing them. It’s really up to your agent to guide you through this. Read: How Sellers Screw Up Multiple Offers and How to Avoid It
Myth #6 – I should hire the “neighborhood expert” to sell my home.
Pre-internet, most sellers found their agent either from “for sale” signs in their neighborhood or direct mail they received. Nowadays, there are so many better ways to find and research potential agents that you don’t need to be limited to those who may have sold a home or two in your neighborhood. Expand your search. Ask questions, read reviews, see how he/she markets other homes online. It’s good practice to interview at least a couple agents before choosing who’s best for the job.
Tip: Here’s a new idea – Google some agents. See what their online profiles are like. Your future buyer will likely find your house online. Make sure your agent knows how to market to those online buyers or you’ll miss out.
Myth #7 – I’ll save money listing with a discount broker
We’re all interested in saving money. However, consider this, brokerages that offer large discounts need to make quick sales or the business model falls apart. How do they do this? Pricing your home below market for a quick sale and/or pressuring you to take a low ball offer. So in the end, you’re likely to net less with a discount broker and the level of service, expertise and marketing provided is typically minimal at best.
Tip: When I represent a buyer, my eyes get big when I see a discount broker listing. I know my buyer can throw out a low offer knowing full well the listing agent will do his best to push it through.