This Fountain Valley seller asked for my assistance: “My house has been on the market for 89 days. We had a couple of offers right away and our agent advised us to counter offer but we figured we’d wait to see if we’d get better ones. The offers have stopped coming. What are my options now?” It would be a breach of ethics for me to respond directly to this particular seller as he is already represented by an agent, instead my responses are provided for any sellers facing these issues.
Your house will receive the most attention from realtors and buyers during the first two weeks on the market. Usually your best offers will come during that period. It is always better to negotiate with an offer that is already on the table than to fantasize about what might come in the future. The buyer is motivated to deal or she would not have written the offer.
It’s always about location, condition and price. If a house is in pristine condition when it hits the Multiple Listing Service and the professional photographs reflect that condition, buyers will flock to the house. The only deterrent would be if the house is overpriced. The buyers are examining the same comparable sales that the appraiser will be using to assess the value for the lender. Sellers are wise to price the house correctly according to the comparable sales within the last three to four months. Use comparatives that have the same number of bedrooms and baths, square footage, same housing tract or within a mile of the subject property. If your house backs or sides to a busy street, or is near the freeway, the appraiser will deduct eight to ten percent for that location. Consider that fact when choosing your price.
Prepare a house prior to putting it on the market. If your kitchen and baths are in original or in dated condition solicit estimates for new countertops and appliances. After reviewing the comparable sales decide if the upgrades will garner you a better return on your investment. Buyers want a house that reflects beauty and value. They will deduct for imperfections. Scrape the ceilings, paint throughout, replace worn carpet; have the house professionally cleaned. Remove excess furniture, dried flower arrangements and wall paper. Have the house professionally staged. I can refer you to two local stagers that I use for all my listings.
Place a lock box on the front door or gate to provide easy access for agents to show your home.
Schedule open houses. The more perspective buyers through the house the more likely you are to receive offers within the first two weeks on the market. Exit the house during showings and do not converse with the buyer’s agent or the clients. Refer questions to your agent. Deals are broken by erroneous he said, she said comments.
When marketing in Fountain Valley an agent may strike up a conversation with a homeowner and infer that you should list with them because it is members of their race who are the predominate buyers in the community.
In most instances the buyer will be represented by their own agent. Their ethnicity or that of their agent has no bearing on the negotiations for the sale of your house. Don’t be fooled by agents who say they have a buyer for your property or agree to overprice your home just to acquire the listing. It’s referred to in the industry as “buying the listing”. Soon the same agent will be appealing to you to lower the price every two weeks until you are within the range of comparable sales. When choosing an agent to market your property, be careful not to be swayed by aggressive tactics. Good realtors come in all colors, sizes and ethnic backgrounds.
Agent reputation is paramount in real estate transactions. This is not only important in that other agents like and respect your realtor, but it means we colleagues are always eager to preview their listings and look forward to being in transactions with him or her. I am not alone in admitting I would go out of my way to show a client the home represented by a local agent with a sterling reputation in the off chance my buyer might like it, knowing the transaction will be positive: smooth and equitable. This can mean a faster sale and more competitive buying environment for Fountain Valley sellers. Happy selling!
Susan Saurastri, is a Fountain Valley resident and a realtor with Star Real Estate. Contact her at FountainValleyLiving.com or 714-317-0664. Realtor Maggie Etheridge-Ureno of The Etheridge Team contributed to this column.