Friday, May 22, 2009

A Little Help Please

I am sooooooooo confused. How does one go about choosing a Real Estate agent? We've never done this before. We sold one house but the agent who we bought our present home from sold the old one for us. I've heard going with a national company is better than a small locally owned company because they have a wider market. I've heard that you should choose a company with lots of agents because that way the office is open longer hours and there is generally someone there to answer the phone. I've heard that you should interview several agents until you get the one you want. Ugh, I can't even think about doing that--I just want to get this thing listed and on the market.

I know that we aren't going to get top dollar out of this house. The outside looks fantastic but the inside is VERY 70's. And, we really don't want to put all that money into updating it. #1 It would take us forever to do that (remember the saga of Bob the Builder last summer?) and #2 I don't really think we would make that much more. In fact we might even lose money updating it by spending more fixing it than we would make back on it. We think we should just sell it as a fixer upper. I remember awhile back the house next door was up for sale. The owners had spent tons of money to get it the way they wanted it and then they were transferred. The house looked fantastic. The couple who bought it came in, gutted it and started all over again. So, who's to say that if we put a bunch of money into fixing it up, the same thing wouldn't happen to us?

On my last post, I got a couple of much appreciated suggestions such as don't go with a long term contract and pricing the house right. Are there any other suggestions? Any ideas on choosing an agent? Is it necessary to interview a bunch of them? Any and all suggestions will be much appreciated.

Oh and just to help the sale along a little, my friend Linda sent me a St. Joseph statue to bury in the front yard when we finally get a sign out there. Hope he works!

13 comments:

Shama-Lama Mama said...

I have heard numerous times that if you are going to put money into anything, it should be the kitchen. The kitchen can make or break someone's decision to buy. Plus they can much more easily overhaul a living room than a kitchen. So if you DO do more work, definitely do that kitchen.

The Farmer Files said...

We have always gone with realtors that will rebate part of their commission. We usually have negotiated a dollar amount or a percent of their commission. We have used realtors that advertise the rebate in their commission as well as the program through Costco.com where they guarantee a rebate based on the sale price of your home. Good luck! When we sold our HI home we went through an upscale agency that was not national, but we asked if they would take our home and rebate part of the commission to us.

Melli said...

You're gonna BURY St. Joseph??? LOL! Yep - Shama Lama is right! IF you're going to do anything - do the kitchen! BUT... consult a realtor first -- they would be much better able to help you know what colors are selling best right now - and especially since it's an older home - you want to keep with the "feel" I would think...

As far as CHOOSING a Realtor... I think it's a lot like playing Russian Roulette! If you have any friends who have recently sold and had a good experience - that's golden. If not... we have used RE/Max and been happy. But that's alllllllll the way out here on the East Coast! I don't know how YOUR RE/Max would be... It's really best to get opinions from someone nearby -- even if you've SEEN someone move in recently? Stop and ask? I'm BOLD - I would do that! I don't know if you would be comfortable to do that... Again - good luck!

Queen-Size funny bone said...

since the market is down, there are a lot of people around my neighborhood trying to sell it themselves so they don't have to pay anyone.

Shamalamadada said...

When it comes to fixing up a property, low-cost cosmetic changes can go a long way. Dated stuff is a major turn-off, but a remodel would be costly. Take down wallpaper and paint the walls light, neutral colors. Remove all clutter and "personal items" like family pics to make the place look larger and space that anyone could see as their home. I DON"T recommend doing too much to the kitchen. Just a good cleaning, maybe light paint on dingy surfaces. Most buyers will look at your kitchen as a total teardown and remodel. You need to price accordingly, but sell the idea that the buyer can put in whatever they want. What you CAN do is ask your contractor to come up with some updated design ideas for your kitchen (or other spaces), preferably with pictures or sketches as well as realistic estimates to actually do it. It will help a buyer see the potential there without breaking the bank and having it not be someone's taste.

mapleview said...

Our agent was a recommendation of a friend and we sold ours as a fixer-upper 5 years ago...but I don't know that much about it...sorry

ChrisC and JonJ said...

I dread when it comes time to sell our place.Just going thru all the flotsam we've acquired over the years is enouh to bring fear to us.I agree withe idea of just painting everything a neutral color.
Also,I've always heard that you should clear out the closets,knick-knacks,clutter,excess furniture, etc.Rent a storage place to put those things in.

Neptunesmuse said...

Check with big realtors like ReMaxx and Century 21 and see who their top selling agents are. As much fun as it is not to be on the receiving end of the pushy real estate agent, you want them to be doing the pushing for you. Use an MLS agent who will post on the web. A lot of houses are selling for top dollar to overseas buyers who want a vacation home in "states".
PS: 70's (retro) is "in" these days. I wouldn't spend too much money redecorating. Check in your area for a real estate "stager" - than can give you advice on the best things to do make your house "appealing" to others.

Good luck!!!

Little Black Scrap Cat said...

I watch way too much HGTV. (it's usually on in the background while I work on my scrap projects) But many of the things that are consist from show to show have been touched on here in other comments:
#1 keep any paint or carpet changes neutral - anyone can build off a neutral backdrop.
#2 de-clutter everything and pack up as much as possible and move it out - your space will look bigger.
#3 if you do any major updates or projects, kitchen and bath are high sell points. But again, keep it neutral to appeal to more people.
#4 small cosmetic changes can make a big difference - update old light fixtures, perhaps a faucet that needs to be replaced anyway, fresh paint (yes, nixing the wallpaper and adding new -neutral- paint is huge in the eye of the buyer)
#5 curb appeal - your home looks absolutely beautiful from the front. Does it carry through to the back yard?
#6 when people come to look at hour home - bake a quick sheet of cookies just before you leave the house!! Keep some ready cookie dough on hand. It works!

As for picking a realtor - a personal reference from someone else is great and has worked for us. Of the two "blind picks" we have used - one was fabulous, one was terrible. Do you know anyone locally that can give you a reference?

I wish you all the best of luck! Please keep us in the loop of how its going. I know the process can be overwhelming...

gpc said...

Tell St. Joe that if he doesn't get to work for you AND me, I'm going to bury his whole family and all their friends.

Diana said...

Snowbird ~ I recently sold my house in WV and bought a unit at Periwinkle Park to live full time. Drop me a PM if you want a few details... my house sold very quickly for full asking price a few months ago. Thank goodness!

I have been reading your blog since March of '08 ~ great job!

Deb said...

Pick an agent that is well known in your neighborhood. We just sold a house last year and it sold within a couple months whereas the one across the street has been on the market for 1 1/2 years. Good Luck!!

Sanibelwannabee

Tootie said...

I think most realtors are willing to negotiate their commission now. Things have not been good for them either. I found one realtor that I liked and they charge 7%, I told him I would only pay 3% and he agreed to that. It's worth a try.

Could you advertise it yourself for maybe a month to see if you might have better luck selling it yourself for a little less, without having to pay a realtor?

Whatever you decide, BEST OF LUCK and HURRY BACK!