Every so often I hear someone talk about real estate with such conviction that it sounds like it’s law.  After asking how they came to that conclusion, there is a common underlying theme, “back in the day…” A lot of people have been conditioned to doing something a certain way or thinking that there is only one specific way to do it.  Time changes how things are done; real estate is no exception, it’s constantly adapting, growing, evolving. I thought it would be valuable to share 3 misconceptions that I have run into and dive a little deeper into each one.

Misconception #1 – Thursday is the best day to list my home.  

This is similar to the belief that Sunday is the best day to look for a job because that’s when all the new postings come out; it may have been the case at one point but it’s outdated and no longer true.  Before Zillow and Realtor.com it may have been in your best interest to list your home on a Thursday morning as people would have communicated with their real estate agent on Thursday or Friday to schedule showings for the weekend.  However, the internet has made it possible to search for properties 24/7 and buyers are able to get immediate notifications when a property that matches their criteria hits the market. Technology has also brought us 3D property walkthroughs, which are much more detailed and interactive than the old virtual tours picture slideshow.  These 3D walkthroughs are like a virtual open house and give a buyer access 24/7.  Additionally, our local market is different; retirees make up a large portion of our buyers and their time is generally more flexible meaning weekends aren’t always prime time for private showings.  Weekends are a great opportunity for open houses!

The best day to list your property is the first day that it is in it’s best condition, clean, de-cluttered, ready to show and all your marketing material is ready.  You only have one shot at a first impression! What if you present your property with dark pictures or only post 6 images online and a serious buyer throws your listing in the trash because they can’t see the size of the kitchen or the layout; you just missed out on an opportunity!  

The moment your home is in it’s best condition, your photos and description are on point and your marketing materials are ready, get your home in the MLS to reach the most potential buyers!  

Misconception #2 – Buyers will always offer 10%-20% under listing price so I need to price accordingly.

This thought leads sellers to pick a listing price based on what they think a buyer is going to offer as opposed to listing for what their home is really worth or what they need to net on the sale of the property.  There are times during a declining market, like the foreclosure crisis in SWFL where buyers were routinely offering significantly less than the listing price because they had little competition and there were lots of homes to choose from.  Most buyers don’t follow any hard, fast rules like this under rising or normal market conditions unless they are looking for a bargain (flipper or investor) and not the right home.  

Most buyers offer a price that they feel is fair given the condition of the property, the current market trends, and most importantly, your asking price compared to what homes like yours have sold for recently in similar or nearby areas.  Let’s look at each of these points in a little more detail.

  • Condition of your home:
    • Is it clean?  This is a basic factor that is often overlooked.  Make sure you are presenting the best quality home you can, and clean everything.  Wash the floors, wipe down the baseboards, dust everything.  Buyers are less likely to discount a clean home!
    • Are there any distractions?  Before you take pictures or open up your home for a showing, check the bathroom counters – how much stuff do you have sitting out?  What is on your fridge?  A potential home buyer doesn’t need to see all the magnets you’ve collected over the years.  Check your closets, your kitchen counters, your bookshelves – remove as much clutter as possible to show your home not the distractions.  
    • Is it too personalized?  If you want to sell it, remove the emotion, treat it like a business deal and it may help you to be more reasonable.  Unless you want to wait for the perfect buyer who appreciates your custom designer purple orange polka dot wallpaper in the bathroom and your collection of 84 clown dolls in the living room make your home as appealing to as many potential buyers as necessary by removing the personal details.  The goal is to try and remove the personality in your home and focus on the style.
  • Current market trends:
    • Accurate list price.  It’s important to evaluate current market conditions before setting a list price to help increase showings.  For example, if there are 50 other properties for sale that are very similar to yours and only 10 have sold in the last 3 months then it would take about 15 months to sell the 50 homes available.  If you miss the mark on your pricing, buyers are less likely to view your property because they have many other options to choose from.
    • If you are serious about selling your property, using a detailed market analysis will help you to identify the right price to get your home in front of the most buyers.
  • Your home compared to sold homes like yours:
    • Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) – Market data in the last 30 days shows that homes priced between $200k-250k in 33914 sold for over 98% of their original ask price compared to 96% of original ask price in zip code 33993.  (Quick CMA pdf file links are available at the end of this article.)
      • If you were comparing your home to a home in a different zip code you might be off by as much as 2%
      • Ask yourself, why would someone pay more than a 2% premium over a similar sold property one month ago?  If there are none available, then it makes sense; if there are 50 available, it may not.
    • Seller Credits – When doing a sold comparison before setting your listing price, it may be helpful to know if the seller gave any concessions to the buyer at closing, as this can change the seller’s net proceeds.  For example, if the sold price was $210,000 and the seller gave a 3% concession to the buyer at closing ($6,300) then the seller now has a net sold price of $203,700. For homes in the $200k to $250k range, data shows in the last 30 days that 5 out of 10 sales in 33993 (excluding new construction) seller concessions averaged around 2.4%, that’s around $4,000, off the sold price.  This can skew the public perception of sold prices upward.

Instead of the “10% under” misconception, focus on the basics: honestly evaluate the condition of your home, consider current market trends and review comparable properties on the market.  Working with a trusted professional Realtor® can help you gather all the information that you need to make better decisions.

Misconception #3 – I have to accept any full price offers.

I never realized how wide spread this misconception was until my wife pointed out that she believed it prior to us meeting.  My wife, and many others it turns out, believed that you had to price your home higher than it’s value in order to avoid getting “stuck” accepting the first full price offer that came in; this isn’t necessarily the case.  You are in control of the sale of your home and can accept or decline offers, even if they are full price. In many cases, the terms of the sale can be more important than price, take a look at some examples below.

Full Price but not qualified – A seller is presented with a full price offer with little earnest money deposit and no proof that the buyers are qualified to get the loan.  Overwhelmed with excitement, that seller might think they should accept this, as it’s a full price offer, however that can be risky.  The buyer might not be qualified to get financing and end up backing out of the contract.

Full Price but with conditions – In another example, a seller gets a full price offer with a closing date 60 days in the future and contingent on the sale of their home.  Again, there is risk involved with accepting this this offer.  What if the buyer isn’t able to sell their home within 60 days?

In both of these examples, while the property was not active, the seller may have lost an opportunity to find a more qualified buyer, incurred expenses and the potential for the home being seen as “damaged goods” to prospective buyers.  Anytime you’re listing your home, I recommend that you identify your overall goals and the risk you are willing to take when evaluating offers.  No matter what conditions or terms a buyer offers, you are in control of the sale of your home, and are able to decline or accept offers as you choose.  

These are only three of the many misconceptions that come up in the decision to sell your home.  As you can see, they are not accurate but if you believe them it can be detrimental to the overall goal of selling your home.  By identifying and evaluating any misconceptions you have before listing, I can help you sleep better at night knowing that you have all of the information that you need to make better decisions in real estate.

Call me today to discuss your home and we’ll develop a plan to meet your real estate needs.  I’m a Seller Representative Specialist, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative and an expert in the Cape Coral residential real estate market.  AGE Realty, Inc. is BBB Accredited and your official source for reliable, relevant, useful information on residential real estate sales in the Cape Coral area.

98 percent of ask CMA 33914

96 percent of ask CMA 33993

2.4 percent seller credit CMA 33993

*All market data as of Sept. 3, 2018 from SWFL MLS, The accuracy of this information is not warranted or guaranteed. This information should be independently verified if any person intends to engage in a transaction in reliance upon it.

About the author

Robert Iafrate

Realtor®, Broker/Owner

Responsive, experienced and high quality local real estate service provided in the Cape Coral/Ft. Myers area. Enjoy a better real estate experience and discover a hassle-free, transparent, no pressure process. I provide all of the information that you need, when you need it, to make better decisions.

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