Real Estate Gimmicks

If you’re feeling inundated with real estate gimmicks: realtors knocking on your door saying they have a buyer for your home, offers of discounted commissions, brokerages buying homes if they don’t sell, you’re not alone. It can all be a bit overwhelming. My advice? take a deep breath and hire a professional realtor who will calmly and strategically help you navigate the market and negotiate the best price for your home.

Focus on the Essentials:

  1. Staging – a professional realtor will help you with staging advice. The most important things to consider are de-cluttering, painting, cleaning and home maintenance. If you focus on those areas, you’re doing great. Call an organization to pick up clothes and household items, hire a painter and even a cleaner (windows too!) Have someone pop in to check the furnace and fix any nail pops, countertop chips etc. Then a photographer will capture and showcase all of that hard work.
  2. Pricing – a realtor will go over all the comparable sales with you and together a pricing strategy will be put in place that reflects your local market.
  3. Marketing –you should hire a realtor that understands how a visually appealing home will attract the most qualified buyers across all areas of marketing both print and internet (feature sheets, websites, social media etc) There’s nothing worse than seeing a beautiful home portrayed online with dark or blurry pictures.

Be Leary of Gimmicks:

  • A realtor knocks on your door and says that she has a buyer for your home: That may be true but many other realtors might have a buyer as well  due to low inventory. You owe it to yourself to get the best price by putting it on the market properly to see how the market responds.
  • Under listing and promises of competition: Be careful with this strategy as it can backfire. If you put your home on the market at market value (what the comparables sales indicate) you still may go into competition but this way, it’s at a price that you’re comfortable with even if you don’t go into competition.  Sometimes homes won’t sell in competition for various reasons and sellers become frustrated as they were basically promised that over bidding would be the outcome. As well, it’s an easy strategy if there has not been any effort to stage a home or carefully consider comparable sales. Buyers are very savvy and educated and contrary to what some realtors may say, they’re still careful even in competition. If your home doesn’t sell in competition and you then raise the price to compensate, buyers don’t respond well to that.
  • Low commission: Many realtors will reduce their commission to get your business. It’s important to carefully consider the services they provide: Do they do an in-depth market evaluation? How well do they communicate and how do they negotiate and structure a sale? Do they have experience in your market? Do they talk about property enhancement or how they’ll market your home? Do they hire professional photographers? Do they have a website or use social media? Do they work by referral, have good working relationships with local realtors? Do they have access to lists of local lawyers, home inspectors and home improvement specialists?
  • Brokerage will buy your home if it doesn’t sell: It’s important to read the fine print as there may be many conditions attached to this promise.  It’s a competitive seller’s market and if your home is priced well and shows well, you don’t need to go with a brokerage simply for this reason.

It’s really very simple. Interview a few realtors that friends, family, colleagues or neighbors recommend.   Ask them to explain their marketing and pricing strategies; choose someone you feel you connect with, someone that is interested in making the process a positive experience for you. No gimmicks, no false promises, no complicated buyback programs. Just good service and results. It’s that simple.

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