What Do You Wish Sellers Knew Before Starting the Process?

By Kelly Leighton | July 27, 2020 | 5 min. read

When a homeowner is considering putting their home on the market, what one piece of advice do you wish you could give them to make the process a little less stressful?

Last week, local association presidents offered their advice for buyers, today, they will tell you what they wish sellers knew.

Before a homeowner decides they want to list, they should contact an agent first, Stephanie Johnston, president of the Bradford-Sullivan Association of Realtors®, said. “It’s OK that you are thinking about listing even if you’re not ready yet. We will walk through your property with you and give you suggestions on where you should or should not spend any time or money to get your property ready for the market. A pre-listing appointment will get us on the same page to meet your selling goals and to get you the best price,” she said.

Lebanon County Association of Realtors® President Rhonnda Bentz also suggested a pre-listing inspection, so no huge problems show up when your buyer orders their own inspection. “I wish they knew how important a pre-listing home inspection is and how much anxiety it could save them through the transaction,” she said.

Once a seller is ready to list, the price to list can be another contested issue.

“While the market is strong, it is imperative to price homes correctly and to clearly communicate with their agent what their timelines are. We’re finding a lot of sellers are overwhelmed by how quickly buyers want to close,” said Butler County Association of Realtors® President Ron Huber.

Terry Solomon-August, president of the Luzerne County Association of Realtors®, agreed on the importance of pricing accurately. “I wish my sellers knew that it’s a seller’s market right now with extremely low inventory, and many buyers looking to purchase. Pricing the property at the correct price is very important,” she said.

And remind your sellers that the home prices they see suggested online isn’t always correct. “Values on Zillow really don’t mean much. Property views on Zillow don’t necessarily translate to showing traffic. Zillow inquiries do not go to your agent,” said Bob Moncavage, president of the Realtors® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh.

Once the house finally hits the market and is ready for showings, Amanda Hepinger, president of the Allegheny Valley Board of Realtors®, stressed the importance of always keeping a home tidy and clean.

President of the Pike-Wayne Association of Realtors® Will Clauss said owners should tidy up personal items. “Although cherished and valued by them and their family, they are often seen as more of a distraction to potential buyers,” he said. “I was in a house that was filled with the seller’s ceramic figure paintings, and although each was increasingly more beautiful and creative than the last, the buyers’ eyes were fixated at all the different characters than the house itself. I kept trying to get them on track because I knew the house would be a great fit for them, but they didn’t seem to study the important items of the house like they did in other homes because there was sensory overload. They wound up only remembering that house for the ceramics and nothing about the layout, structure, setting, etc.”

When an offer or multiple offers come in, Bucks County Association of Realtors® President Scott Geller said he thinks sellers should be more empathetic toward buyers. “I wish they could more easily put themselves in the shoes of potential buyers so they can make better, more holistic decisions,” he said.

And as a reminder, a real estate transaction does not end with obtaining a signed sales agreement, said Mark Kibbe, president of the Greater Erie Board of Realtors®.

“That is only the beginning of the long roller coaster ride to closing. We are seeing an above average number of FSBO listings with the strong market we currently have going on in Erie. Dealing with those FSBO sellers has provided a vivid reminder of just how little is known among the general public on what it actually takes to buy and sell a home in today’s real estate world,” he said.

“There are provisions in the sales agreement that can significantly alter the parties’ intended agreement if they are not drafted correctly. It is not usually as simple as filling in the blanks. Those drafting errors can cost one or both parties significant amounts of money, or even worse, cause the whole transaction to fail. There are also inspection negotiations that must take place, ever-changing financing hurdles to overcome, home insurance requirements that must be met, and other unique challenges that change with each transaction. Realtors® are trained to be able to deal with this myriad of issues, and they help smooth the ride by anticipating and addressing problems before they impact the buyer or seller.  In so many instances, the use of a Realtor® actually saves consumers money, and perhaps equally as important, a whole lot of stress,” added Kibbe.

Carol Hoke, president of the North Central Penn Board of Realtors®, agreed on the importance of using a Realtor®.

“I wish that sellers knew that there are so many things we do behind the scenes to sell their home. There are so many issues they don’t know about and we don’t share because we don’t want to stress them out, so that it looks like a smooth transition,” she said.

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