When you list your home for sale, the objective is to get the most money in your pocket as possible. It seems intuitive that you would get the most money by paying the least money to get it sold. Reality, however, is that you get what you pay for.
Your listing options run the gamut from putting a “for sale by owner” sign in your front yard to signing with an agent who will list your home in the Multiple Listing Service and possibly online to choosing a Realtor who will market your home. Any of these approaches can get your home sold, but how quickly it sells and how much you ultimately receive for the sale of your home can vary widely.
I used to have an income tax preparer named Bill who had been doing taxes for individuals and businesses for many years. In other words, Bill had a lot of experience. Best of all, Bill was cheap, and I enjoyed the value I thought I was getting every year when he did my taxes, particularly since I have a fairly complicated tax situation with two businesses, employees, retirement accounts, etc.
One year I happened to take a tax planning seminar that gave a lot of advice in those areas. When I asked Bill about some strategies recommended at the seminar, he told me that those strategies really wouldn’t save me any money in the long run. I decided I should get a second opinion on my overall tax situation, so I had my return processed by both Bill and a local accounting firm. Bill processed pretty much the same return he had done for me for years.
The accounting firm, however, had me bring in a lot more information than Bill ever had requested. I had several meetings with a CPA for my businesses, a tax attorney for my retirement accounts, and their respective assistants. Needless to say, when I got their bill I wasn’t happy (they bill by the hour)….. until I saw the tax return they prepared for me. To my delight they found several areas where I was overpaying. They were able to save me so much money that all of a sudden their fee seemed reasonable.
At first I was upset with my old friend Bill. But then I realized that I pretty much got what I paid for. Bill was doing the best he could with his available resources and charged me accordingly. My new accounting firm, however, had a vast amount of resources and were able to really spend the time my situation demanded. In the end, yes, they cost me more to prepare my taxes, but they also saved me money.
I mention my tax experience because selling a home has many similarities to preparing a tax return. Marketing a home involves so much more than just picking a price and sticking a sign in the front yard. The more resources employed in marketing the home, the faster it will sell.
When a home sells faster the owner almost always gets a better price since the market has not had a chance to beat that price down. The owner does not get worn out after months of showings, nor is the owner paying interest, taxes, insurance, and utilities for this home month after month waiting for the sale.
So what is the difference between one real estate firm and another and what is the difference between one agent and another? And how can that affect your financial and emotional outcome when selling a house? I will discuss in depth many different ways a home can be effectively marketed in the next article “Lack of Effective Marketing” – Part 3 of Why Listings Expire.
Copyright © Shawn Buryska