Several things! The overwhelming majority of sales (something in the 90% range) come from the MLS, which means that another real estate agent is working with a pre-qualified buyer. The buyer has found your listing from a search set up by their agent. Because their search is generally more focused than buyers just starting out, buyers working with a real estate agents tend to be more serious. The #1 mistake I see when selling a home is the listing photos. Most photos do not showcase the home in its best light, and you only get one chance to make a first impression. That’s why the photos, combined with the right marketing, make a deadly combination for success. Your home will be showcased and syndicated to a number of websites, including the most widely searches ones such as Realtor.com, Trulia, Craigslist, and Zillow. Open houses can be an effective way to attract a buyer, but more often than not provides constructive feedback on how your home shows. Success is selling a home is moving more away from print marketing in favor of online marketing.
Of course finding the buyer is the most important component, but just as important is managing the transaction. With all the different issues than can come up during escrow, you’ll want to have peace of mind that your agent can keep the transaction held together. There are lots of moving pieces like home inspections, appraisal, the loan process that you want to make sure your agent stays in close proximity to.
By using a special lockbox only Realtors can access with their special real estate keypad. The lockbox shows me who entered your home, and when.
No. The reason is that if you’re there, whether showing all the finer points of the home or just in the background, the buyer feels self-conscious and will be concerned about saying anything negative about the home. We all have an innate need for a sense of approval and want to be courteous, especially to strangers. Being away from the home while being shown gives the buyer freedom to express their feelings freely so they don’t have to be worried about your reaction to what they have to say. It also helps because you want them visualizing themselves there, which is more difficult to do if you are there.
Lots of things. I wrote a blog post about How to Sell My Home Quickly. I also wrote an article about improvements/fixes to AVOID
Staging a vacant home, or even an occupied one (see above) is usually a good idea. The challenge is that staging a vacant home can be quite expensive. The trade-off is that is usually results in a faster home sale, thus saving you x number of mortgage payments.
Everything you know about the home. When it doubt, DISCLOSE! You won’t get in trouble telling too much, but you can be held liable for withholding or telling to little. You will be required to fill out a Seller’s Property Disclosure Report (SPDS) to be submitted to the buyer for signatures within 5 days of an accepted offer. EXCEPTION: crimes or deaths in the home are excluded from this requirement, or anything considered a stigma to the property.
You can also get more information from the Selling article area on my website or about selling your home.