Sellers can learn a lot from the first offer that is made on their home. Working with their listing agent, sellers should use that knowledge to their advantage and make any necessary adjustments sooner than later.
But before we explore those possibilities, it may be useful to restate some basic advice that we give home sellers before we plant a for-sale sign on their lawn, or place the first photo on the Hernando County MLS.
Nothing is more crucial to selling your home than setting a realistic price. Set the price too high at the outset, and you automatically will eliminate potential buyers who either recognize that you are asking too much, or whose online searches don’t match your asking price.
One of the biggest risks of pricing your home too high is that you will not get as many showings in the first 90 days, which is your best window to sell. After that, traffic to your home — virtual and physical — will taper off dramatically. And buyers know that when a home lingers on the market for too long, it usually means one of two things: It is overpriced, or there is something wrong with it, which is why other home shoppers have passed it over. This is the last place sellers want to find themselves: Stale and stubborn, while their more flexible competitors are feeding the market.
Bottom line: Set the price right on Day One.
So, let’s get back to the information sellers should be gleaning as they consider the first offer on their home.
Assuming that the first person to walk through your house isn’t also the person who makes the first offer, you probably already have received some feedback from your REALTOR® about what she is hearing from potential buyers, as well as other agents who have shown the house.
But the impressions of those first “serious” buyers carry a little more weight. They’re not making offhand comments about paint colors or window treatments. They are thinking more deeply. They may discuss remodeling, how their furniture will fit in certain rooms, or if they want to replace the carpet and tile, etc. They probably also are asking questions about home warranties, utilities, landscaping and neighbors.
If they are making a serious offer, your REALTOR® will know it, and be able to advise you about what incentives or improvements you could offer to cement the agreement.
Your first offer will help you gauge your position in the market. That is true if the offer is an obvious “low-ball,” or if it’s more reasonable “ballpark” bid. If you’ve priced your home realistically, you are in a much better position to counter the offer. Your agent can help you with that strategy, including providing the list-to-sell ratio, which is about 92 percent right now. That’s an uptick in the sellers Hernando County market that can be an eye-opener for buyers who have been led to believe the negotiating ball is always in their court.
But it is important that you counter every offer from a qualified buyer, even if it is very low. It lets the buyer know where you’re coming from, and that you are appreciative and open-minded, not insulted, by their offer. Sellers who take a low offer personally are letting their emotions override their business sense. Avoid that pitfall.
Every seller wants to sell high, and every buyer wants to buy low. That’s the nature of these negotiations. Both parties are more likely to achieve their goals if they recognize that the sale price lies somewhere between the listing price and the initial offer.
If you would like more information about setting your home sale price, you might want to check out an article I wrote for The TEAM Works blog a few months ago, Home sellers use the 3 Rs to play the price is right.THE Gail Spada TEAM hopes you have found this information useful. Your feedback is encouraged. Until next time, please remember our pledge: When it comes to buying or selling property in Hernando County, we make sure … it’s all about YOU!