The housing market is a perfect reflection of all the aspects of our lives: complex, demanding, flexible, predisposed to difficulties. Sensitive and highly responsive to offer and demand, the housing market is the market where dreams can be built and broken.
With our homes being one of our biggest financial investments, we definitely want to make sure that we are drawing the longer straw when choosing to buy or sell a house. And that is why we put all the effort into preparing, and listing our home.
So what happens after the walls are repainted, the carpets changed, the house emptied, the remaining pieces of furniture rearranged in a masterful way, the front yard bushes trimmed and the house listed at the correct market price?
Why is the property still not selling, even after people put lots of effort and skill into preparing it for the house market listing?
But due to their initially chosen real estate agent’s poor performance, some people have a really difficult time selling their properties. If your home has been correctly prepared and packaged for the sale, if it’s not overpriced, all while correctly and extensively marketed, the sale usually hangs on the power and level of your agent’s negotiating skills.
It is a proven fact that the most frequent mistake both owners and agents make is in the way they present the home and lead the negotiations, which in turn can prevent them from selling the house.
Statistics show that a strong negotiating muscle is what makes the difference between the homes that do indeed sell and those who remain on the market for a longer period of time. Strong negotiating skills are as much knowledge as an art.
These are devious, small mistakes, which usually everyone makes (buyers, sellers, as well as some real estate agents), and which unfortunately have led to the failure of negotiations and the loss of the sale.
Let’s see what these mistakes are and how to stay away from them:
1. Owners list their properties on the market expecting the selling process be an easy and smooth: Well, it’s not. Selling a house is like a roller-coaster ride full of unexpected turns, twists and loop the loops.
Buying and selling a house implies big figures, transactions, emotional turmoil and a considerable amount of paperwork and details to be sorted out.
Be prepared and knowledgeable about the process. Expect yourself to be challenged at every turn. Keep your cool and don’t lose your composure. The more professional you are, the higher your chances are to land a successful sale.
2. Sellers hire the wrong agent: And by that we mean that some people tend to prefer an agent that favors a high listing price to an agent with an excellent reputation and negotiation skills.
This mistake might cause them to end up selling the property under its actual market value selling price, or just because that the property remains unsold.
3. Sellers and their agents can underestimate the power of emotions and how important being nice actually is: Selling houses, contrary to many other business transactions, is a highly emotional endeavor.
With the stress and challenges that the selling and buying puts on all the persons involved, a positive and nice attitude can bring you a long way.
It might even be the defining factor that makes a buyer choose your property over someone else’s.
4. Not thinking like a buyer and not having sufficient information about the potential buyer: Lawyers, marketers, sales people, artists, writers, they all negotiate in different ways.
It is highly important to know who you are dealing with, in order to be able to adopt the best possible approach. Remember to think like a buyer and put yourself in their shoes. Try to consider their needs and wants, but most of all, try to speak their trading language.
Failing to do so might cost you the sale. On the other hand, successful communication might just land you the deal you’ve been waiting for.
5. Saying the wrong things at the wrong time: The selling process is full of traps and opportunities for you to stumble upon.
Try to concentrate. Keep your emotions at bay during the selling process and present your home in the most detailed and professional way you can.
Not everyone thinks and feels the same way about objects and decorations, so try to keep it functional and professional.
Most of all, make sure you keep an appropriate tone at all times, no matter what questions and comments the potential buyers make.
You should never use ultimatums or an inappropriate tone. Remember: It’s not always what you say, but how you say it.
6. Unwilling to negotiate: The buying and selling of a house is ALL about negotiation.
From your agent’s commission and what you leave in the house for the new owner, all the way to the final selling price of your house, everything is under discussion and thus subjected to negotiation.
7. Feeling insulted and angry: Letting yourself be overcome by negative emotions when the potential buyer makes an inappropriate comment or a very low offer.
Remember, while the offer, which the buyer makes, can be far away from what you want to get for the house, it still signals that he or she is actually interested in buying the property.
This is not the final price, but the actual start of the negotiation.
Don’t hesitate to make a second and third offer even if these offers are much closer to the price you want, than to that which was offered by the buyer.
This signals the buyer that you are also interested to sell and that you are willing to negotiate.
Fix Initial Mistakes and Have a Great Second Listing
Here is a list of expert tips and advice on how to learn from your mistakes as well as everyone else’s.
1. First of all, make sure you reach out to your lender and see if there is any way for you to come out from under the gun.
If you are not able to make your mortgage payments, but are willing to put your property on the market and list if for a sale, some lenders might actually agree to reduce your monthly payment for a period of time in order to allow you to sell the property.
Try it. There is no reason why you and your real estate agent should be extra pressured into having to sell faster and for a more inconvenient price than you normally should.
2. Change your real estate agent with a better performing one: If you choose a poor performing real estate agent, you risk your property selling below the market price or not selling at all.
Make sure you commission a specialist.
3. If you have already listed the house on the market for a while now, but a sale is nowhere in sight, you might want to consider working with a real estate agent who specializes in repackaging properties for a second, more advantageous listing.
These people have a wealth of information, which is actually specialized in the issue you are facing. At this point, there is no one better to hire.
4. Try to keep your private reasons for selling away from the table: Reasons like divorce, too high mortgage payments or stringent deadlines should be mainly your concern.
If shared, they might turn into the leverage used to force you to accept worse deals than you normally should. When asked about why you are selling try to be vague but clear with reasons like: “I am thinking about moving closer to my family,” “I have my eyes set on a property in a different state,” or, “It is time for a change.”
Any of these reasons and their variations should go a long way in keeping your privacy, all while ensuring the deal proceeds.
5. Try to go for a bidding war: A bidding war is a great and exciting thing for a seller.
The successive bids from the potential buyers might just end up bringing the selling price of the house over that what you initially expected to get for it.
If, however you have not received that many offers after the second listing, that might not work, and you should concentrate on what you have. Sometimes getting the most out of your buyer is not that bad after all.
6. Be confident, but show a positive and nice attitude: Many people underestimate how much a great attitude can influence a real estate deal.
Try to stay away from issuing deadlines; be polite and positive, no matter what. That can even go so far, as to influence the buyer to choose your home over a similar property that he had been previously considered.
The negotiation process with the buyer is perhaps the most important aspect of making the deal and selling the house.
Here are some extremely useful tips to keep in mind as to how much flexibility is recommended:
· Be flexible and allow house price negotiations.
All too few people actually get their listing asking prices. Make new offers.
That should keep the buyer interested, even if your offers are closer to your asking price than to what the buyer is proposing.
Experience and numbers show that buyers make as many as 3 offers.
If you are interested in making the deal with them, you might want to consider their third offer, as that is usually as much as they actually have.
· If you want to sell with furniture, remind your real estate agent to advise the potential buyer that the furniture is available in a separate negotiation.
That should cover both instances where the buyer is either interested or not, in purchasing the furniture along with the house.
· Do not agree to take your property off the market once you receive an offer or two.
Statistics show that about 40% of the offers do not end up being finalized.
· Consider being more flexible and offer an extra deal to cash buyers, as there is no financing to organize.
· Do not forget to negotiate the final completion dates. While some people will want you to move out in 30 days, others might be willing to offer as much as 6 months’ time for you to pack and find another place to live.
That usually requires that you lower the price a bit more. Make sure you ponder this aspect well, before making your final decision.
When is the Time to Pull Out of a Bad Deal?
You might want to back out of deals with shady, disingenuous buyers, which suggest that they might not be able to come up with the down payment, or get approved for a mortgage.
Another moment when you should consider pulling out of the deal, is when the price you are getting is far below the selling price of similar homes in the same region. A moment NOT to pull out is after closing the deal and signing the papers. After signing the contract, pulling out of the deal is not advisable as it can be considered as a breach of contract and can be grounds for legal action against you.
Selling a house is not always easy, especially in today’s housing market. We are all attached to our homes emotionally. At the same time, they are often our biggest financial investment.
So do not let the sale of your house go south because of minor details that can be easily fixed or avoided completely. Make sure you get a high-performing, experienced agent that can help you package and present the house at its best and polish your negotiating skills. After all, there is a very small gap between a great and bad sale, and the result relies solely on the art of negotiation.