Just like there are buyer’s myths for real estate, there are also seller’s myths to be aware of. Whether it be the best time of the year to list, pricing too aggressively, or thinking you can sell on your own, these are only some of the most common seller’s myths that ultimately cause them unnecessary stress and can lead to lost opportunities when they go to sell.
The Best Time of Year to Sell is Spring:
Historically speaking, the start of Spring brings with it the resurrection of the real estate market in New England. March is usually a mix of snow storms and a teaser day here and there of a Spring warm up. Once April forecasts are sunny and 60’s for a full weekend, it is game on! Sellers begin to list in earnest and buyers historically are close to follow. Over the last few years, seasons have begun to blur and the lack of inventory combined with low rates have led buyers to be looking aggressively year round.
While Spring still reigns supreme for listing volume, it doesn’t mean it is necessarily the best time to sell. You are competing against all of your neighbors and may quickly get washed out with a flurry of listing activity. Having the largest pool of buyers in the market only matters if the balance is in your favor with less listings. The push to buy year round, coupled with the lack of inventory is quickly making any time a good time to sell. Once things get back to a better balance of inventory, it is worth looking at potentially listing in the Winter. Homelight’s nationwide study showed that when adjusting for market trends since 2015, Boston’s number one time to sell is now January, believe it or not. Less listings with perpetual buyer demand equals more offers and better terms!
Pricing Aggressively Will Get You the Most Money:
Out of all the seller’s myths, this one is relative per listing, neighborhood, state, etc., but many sellers instinctively want to push to get the most money they can for their home when they sell. While our goal as Realtors® is to get the best price for our clients, it is also to find the best buyer with the best terms to ensure we get to the closing table.
Price is only one term that a seller should consider when considering to list and reviewing offers. A unit priced too high risks increased days on market and, statistically, sells lower than a home originally priced correctly. Homes in a hot seller’s market that sits for more than a week or two often become stigmatized by buyers and leads to quick price cutting. A quick price cut usually signals to buyers that there is “blood in the water” and that a seller is desperate.
Pricing can also be tricky to evaluate once you start receiving offers. A listing priced appropriately at $500k that takes an offer at $650k likely comes with some challenges the average seller might not understand. While the numbers look exciting, it may come with false pretense or the inability to be justified by an appraiser. Far too often now, agents will encourage clients to overbid on price in hopes of getting their offer accepted then post inspection, attempting to negotiate an unreasonable amount of funds back from the seller. Even if the buyer is well intentioned, if a buyer is in need of a loan their lender will require an appraisal. The appraisal often takes weeks to come back and can often upend a transaction.
If you are looking to avoid this, encourage your sellers to negotiate out part of or all of the appraisal as well as any other contingencies you can get removed. Contingencies may be more valuable to a seller than price; make sure you find this out ahead of listing and that your client understands what they are looking for.
Selling on My Own is the Best Choice for Me:
The idea of selling on your own, better known as FSBO, is not a new niche in real estate. While the market ebbs and flows with buyer demand, the percentage of FSBOs usually adjusts to meet the times. While success is not unattainable, the idea of selling on your own is worth more consideration than simply how much you’ll save on commission.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) have studied the pros and cons of going FSBO. The average seller working without an agent sells for 6% below the seller using an agent. Commission locally is 4% to 5% so simply based on pricing, you are already behind the eight ball as a FSBO. Once you move past pricing, you have to consider all of the hats you have to wear as a direct seller. In addition to likely having a job, family, and personal hobbies, you need to be ready to prepare your home for listing, determine accurate pricing, host showings, negotiate contracts, find vendors, and so much more!
Seller’s myths far too often are perceived as truths in a topsy turvy real estate market. The lack of advocates in the industry leaves buyers and sellers in vulnerable positions. Sellers may think that because they are in a “seller friendly” marketplace that the house just sells itself, but it isn’t that simple. As always, finding the right agent is step 1; just don’t fall into the trap that the commission is too much to pay (see above). Pricing too high and delaying listing until Spring may seem like winning strategies but it is more likely to leave you with regret. Brush up on your common misconceptions and seller’s myths and, more importantly, find the right Realtor® who can ensure a master class delivery on selling the right way.